Is it bad to take shortcuts with your content? Well, not really. So long as you manage the risk, it’s not even a big deal.
If you listen to common sense, you’ll think any content shortcuts are bad
Content shortcuts abound. But there are some good reasons why you might think they’re not a good idea.
The key one is your conditioning.
The idea of “doing things properly” has been reinforced by:
- your schooling, which rewarded you with grades and awards for being “perfect”
- society, which punishes you for nicking across the road if there’s a crossing nearby.
- your working life, which possibly has more rules than anything else. Those rules mean that if you are compliant, and you do things the right way all the time, you should be rewarded.
But what people tend to forget is that even a High Distinction is only 85%.
Aiming for perfect content is wasted effort
If you aim for 85% consistently, you’ll do great things. Even at university it will see you end up with an incredibly impressive set of results. And in the world of copywriting, content and marketing, 85% allows you to finish and move on.
If you aim for 100%, you’ll spend as much time on that final 15% as you did on the first 85%, and for what? A substantially similar result?
My point is that taking any content shortcut that still helps you get to 85% consistently is totally worth your time. The trick is knowing how to use them.
Now, don’t get me wrong. They can sometimes be terrible.
Shortcuts badly done can be awful — a real life example
A great example: One day earlier this year, I was on my bike going to a late-afternoon event. I was a little bit late. I had to get across a busy road, and happily there was a pedestrian crossing. Great!, I thought, I’ll just race across that and she’ll be apples.
When I approached the pedestrian crossing, at which traffic had stopped, I saw that there were people still on the crossing. ‘You beauty!’ I cheered.
I promptly rode into it and got knocked off my bike by a car.
This happened for two reasons. One, I didn’t catch the eye of the motorist to make 100% sure she knew I was there. And, two, she didn’t look.
It was at a really slow speed, but I still got grazed up, and she (and everyone else at the crossing) panicked that I might not be ok. I was fine, happily. All I was worried about was my bike!
Here’s how that shortcut might have worked: If I had have taken a split second to make a clear assessment, I would have noticed that the driver didn’t see me, that the people on the crossing were nearly finished crossing, and I would have stopped.
Instead, I rushed.
The lesson is: Take your content shortcuts — but never rush.
Content shortcuts, just like my bike-and-crossing experience, only work when you have assessed your risks. Take a shortcut. But don’t rush.
It does take time to assess those risks. But the time it takes to make an assessment is probably a lot shorter than you think.
One way that you can mitigate a lot of your risks is to use a Content Publishing Checklist.
And you’re in luck, because I’ve got one for you that you can simply download and use.
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