Back in my newspaper days, deadlines were somewhat more final than they are in the digital age. If an article or an advert was late, it put the entire publishing operation at risk.
A delay in getting the pages to the printers could cause significant headaches for the entire publishing operation. Printing presses are like aircraft: if they are not flying (or printing), they are losing money. Delays would also affect our circulation department and could mean the difference between a subscriber enjoying his or her paper over morning coffee or not. You needed a damn good excuse to hold the paper up. The newspaper’s reputation and profits (not a word you hear too often these days in publishing) were reliant on getting things right and on time.
This also meant that mistakes did occasionally creep into the paper, often delighting readers who would scorn us for our blatant carelessness. Nobody likes making mistakes but in the newspaper industry strict deadlines meant, good enough was good enough, and once the pages were sent you started worrying about the next day’s paper.
Of course in the online environment, there is no such thing as a print deadline. Content can be carefully crafted, polished and only published when it is good and ready, without the risk of destroying a finely tuned logistic schedule.
But this is not necessarily always a good thing.
I speak with countless marketers who sit on content because they feel (or perhaps more likely, their colleagues feel) it needs a little more work. Often, they overanalyze the impact an individual phrase or comment might have on their business or just wonder if it is good enough to publish, fearing the damage it might cause if it’s not quite right. Too many businesses build a strict content approval process and as a result, permission to publish is either delayed or never given.
But these overly cautious marketers need to remember: there is one thing more dangerous than making mistakes. Doing nothing is fatal; it will neither generate brand awareness, drive leads or make sales. Because of this I am convinced it is much better to seek forgiveness than wait for permission.
Marketers need to have the confidence in their ability to be more like my newspaper buddies and publish and be damned.
This post first appeared on the iContact Email Marketing Blog.