Here are the two steps for creating better marketing content faster:
- Slow clarity
- Fast creativity
We tend to get this backwards. We’re in a big hurry to start creating something for the sales team, or the website, or the conference booth. Someone in the executive suite gives us the topic. Maybe it’s that last customer win, or maybe something that just happened in the industry, or a feature we just released. Then we’re asked to iterate. So we start giving form to the half-baked idea, the result comes out equally half baked, which is when everyone in the company starts giving their ideas on how to improve it. And that’s when things really go wrong.
Every single time it’s a disaster, and we never find our unique voice. We never say what we really mean. We never really reach our customers.
Why does this happen? Because we rush the first step and we draw out the second one. We don’t spend enough time figuring out what we’re saying, and we take too long to say it.
If you want to create quickly, be very very clear about what you’re trying to say, and then let a trained artist just say it. This applies to your writers, graphic designers, video editors, software developers, everyone.
This is slow clarity:
Spend as much time as you need to become very clear about what you’re trying to say.
This is fast creativity:
Then say it as quickly as you need to. Don’t draw it out with endless options and iterations and opportunities for everyone to ruin it with their opinion.
I’ll find time to write more about how to do each of those two things better.
For now, try this.
- Whatever it is you’re about to start working on, figure out how long it usually takes you to do it. Include everyone’s time. If ten people each spend half an hour throwing in their two cents, then that’s an extra 5 hours. Count all of it.
- Now plan to spend 50% of that time getting very clear about what it is you’re trying to say – this includes interviews, research, point form outlines.
- Spend 30% of the time creating – this step includes extensive editing and re-writing by professionals, not just senior people with an opinion.
- Use 20% of the time taking slow walks in the park.
For the history buffs, this is not a return to the old pre-lean, pre-agile days of specifying everything into paralysis. It is a return to the good old days of having something to say, and then saying it.