The catch-22 of perfection: When to let go of your content

overcome perfectionism

In the world of content marketing, there’s a new predator that prowls the keyboards and screens of many content marketers, without them knowing it. It’s neither writer’s block nor a lack of creativity. This enemy, as Voltaire once called it, is much subtler and craftier. It is the trap of perfectionism. It lures us into believing that just one more edit and our content will finally be ‘perfect’. And as that belief strengthens, it begs to question – is it really possible to overcome perfectionism?

The bottomless pit: overcoming perfectionism 

Striving to build perfect content means that every piece of content you create is meticulously crafted, thoroughly researched, and flawlessly written before publication. This, in itself, is not a bad thing. In fact, you can’t really blame the writers for it, given the growing importance of content marketing in business strategies.

However, in his book “The Perfection Trap,” psychologist and professor Thomas Curran argues that perfectionism has evolved into a “relentless pursuit of the impossible, “chasing goals that are often beyond reach.

Unlike scaling a mountain, where you get to the peak and then celebrate your achievement, aiming for perfect content often means that as we get closer to our goals, we raise the bar even higher for the next time.

From a psychological perspective, this mindset can be counter-intuitive. Several studies have demonstrated that the pursuit of perfectionism often leads to procrastination, stress, and burnout, negatively impacting productivity and creativity, two vital components for success in content marketing.

In the world of content marketing, it sometimes leads to missed deadlines, missed opportunities, and unhappy colleagues.

The endless process of rewriting, re-editing, and reviewing, so familiar to every passionate writer, forces us to overlook a crucial aspect of marketing: timing.

Related reading:  Six ways you might be weakening your content

The timing game in content marketing: why do we need to overcome perfectionism

Perfection is admirable, but what if the ‘perfect’ blog post misses its moment to make an impact?

In content marketing, timing can be as crucial as quality. It’s not just about creating stellar content but also about riding the wave of relevance. Whether it’s a hot-button issue or a recent trend, time-sensitive content often requires more frequent publishing.

A study by HubSpot suggests that publishing 2-4 times per week yields the best results in traffic and conversions for brands. You need to publish with consistent frequency to keep your audience engaged. 

But the trap of perfectionism can sometimes hinder this consistency. Marketing guru Seth Godin once said, “The cost of being wrong is less than the cost of doing nothing.” The fear of errors can often prevent us from publishing. Yet, a decent post published at the right time can outperform a ‘perfect’ post published too late.

Related reading:  Is SEO dead?

Balancing between perfectionism and timeliness

In the age of AI, time is of the essence. The pressure to deliver results quickly and adapt to seesawing market demands can make it difficult to maintain a perfectionist mindset.

Here are some of the strategies to overcome perfectionism: 

1. Set clear deadlines

Prioritize your tasks based on urgency and importance. Be maniacal about ensuring that the content that falls into the ‘important and urgent’ quadrant strictly adheres to its publication (and other internal) timelines. This approach helps prevent over-editing and ensures timely publication. 

2. Choose ‘good enough’ over perfection

Accepting content that is ‘good enough’ urges us to shift our focus away from the unattainable pursuit of perfection and instead helps us acknowledge when our content meets all its objectives. 

3. Adopt iterative writing 

Iterative writing starts with a foundational draft, which doesn’t need to be perfect. Think of it as a launchpad for ideas. Then spend an adequate amount of time reviewing and revising this draft, so you enhance the message and flow with each iteration. 

4. Welcome different thoughts into the mix

The value of an external perspective in content creation cannot be overstated. Forbes found that 84% of B2B marketers and 55% of B2C business owners outsource their content creation. This fresh viewpoint can help identify areas of improvement that may have been overlooked and provide new insights to enhance the content.

Accept a job well done

When we build content to market the brands we love, we have to remember that there is always another chance to do better. A lackluster campaign or an underwhelming blog post is not a failure. It’s an integral part of the journey toward success. So forget perfect, and instead work on getting better with each attempt. Use your learnings to refine your strategies and get closer to your audience. 

Are you looking to create content that works for you without getting caught in the perfection trap? Embrace timely publishing and strategic content with Netscribes’ Content Marketing services. To generate impact through content that drives results, contact us

Based on insights by Mallika Kakra Vohra, Strategic Alliances and Partnerships

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