Life is about success, not perfection…and so is marketing. Case in point: A few weeks ago, I sent out my weekly newsletter that wound up having a couple of typos in it. Obviously, I didn’t think twice about the issue. But, several people emailed me right away to point out my so-called “mistakes.” That kind of reaction is ridiculous and reveals a misguided understanding of what marketing (and life) are really about. As imperfect human beings, we can never achieve perfection. But, we can achieve success, even in the midst of being fallible.
Success in marketing is about making people curious, wooing them to your ideas, and challenging their misconceptions. You don’t have to write typo-free material to achieve this goal. The more you self-edit out of the desire to be perfect, the more you slow yourself down from reaching your goal.
Management consultant, Alan Weiss, says, “When you are 80% done, then move forward. The final 20% is dysfunctional.” Too many authors impede their own marketing progress by overanalyzing, obsessively self-editing, or worrying over other people’s potential reactions. Too many businesses or non-profits delay launching new initiatives, because they can’t get unanimous signoff from everyone. Their own self-analysis creates promotional paralysis. Nothing gets accomplished. For example, some authors never finish a newsletter article, press release, or book chapter, because they’re scared it’s not perfect. Other authors won’t dip their toes into the social media pool, because they’re afraid to be themselves and show vulnerability.
The pursuit of success is admirable, but the pursuit of perfection is impossible and will only drive you mad. To get off the treadmill of promotional perfection, try this exercise: Challenge yourself to write a professional-quality 300-word article or press release as fast as you can without doing any self-edits. Then, ask yourself if anyone would really notice the difference if you went back and edited the material. You may just find that the speed of your momentum squashes your fear of perfection and shoots you to your goal.
(By the way, I wrote this article in less than 20 minutes in one pass with no self-editing. Can you do the same?)