I recently had a conversation with a lawyer who was struggling to finish a client alert. It had been sitting on his desk for about a week for his final review.
This lawyer is not known to be a procrastinator, so I asked him what was going on, and he candidly told me that he just couldn’t stop finetuning it. He admitted to continuously tweaking and rewriting the piece.
I pointed out the alert’s timeliness, especially given the recent legal change it addressed. Notably, three other firms had already released their client alerts and blog posts on the same topic. This seemed to be the motivation he needed, and soon after, his article was published, albeit slightly later than we wanted.
This kind of delay isn’t uncommon, and while my focus is on the legal world, I believe professionals in other sectors might find this scenario familiar.
Here’s how to tackle and overcome content paralysis.
The Struggle Between Perfection and Productivity
For lawyers, precision and perfectionism are often the norm. However, when it comes to content creation, this need for perfection can hinder timely dissemination, negatively impacting both branding and business development efforts.
When you wait too long to publish your content, what we call ‘content paralysis’, your work can get buried under what your competitors publish. Think about it: law firm content is like fresh bread – best served hot. So, while it’s crucial to get your facts right, it’s equally important to share them quickly.
Act, Don’t Procrastinate
I’m no stranger to the limbo of content creation. Juggling perfectionism, procrastination and a busy schedule, I too have found myself stalling when it comes to hitting that publish button.
A colleague shared a tactic she employs, which has also helped me to be more productive with my content distribution efforts. She carves out dedicated ‘writing blocks’ in her calendar, treating it with the same seriousness of a formal meeting. Commit to these blocks, avoiding interruptions and you might just find yourself finally able to publish these almost-finished pieces on your desk.
Crafting Client-Driven Content
It’s essential to distinguish between legal briefs and content meant for clients. The latter needs clarity, devoid of jargon and must resonate with its audience.
Avoid the pitfall of catering to internal audiences. Instead, focus on what your readers want and need. By embracing the reader’s perspective, you will craft content that’s impactful and user-friendly. Make your point succinctly, leverage compelling headlines, and, importantly, remember that every article doesn’t need to be a masterpiece. Practice refines your craft.
Embracing ‘Good Enough’
A pivotal realization for perfection-prone lawyers is acknowledging that their ‘good enough’ is likely leagues ahead of most. It’s an impractical pursuit to give everything 100% all the time. In the quest for perfection, one might let competitors steal the limelight.
Think about this: Many in-house counsel actively seek content from outside attorneys. This isn’t merely about acquiring knowledge – though that’s incredibly important – this kind of content helps to ensure that lawyers remain top of mind for potential clients and professional referrals.
These articles can be catalysts, opening doors to myriad professional opportunities and collaborations. So, prioritize getting your insights and analyses out there, rather than letting them gather digital dust in your drafts. After all, their true value is realized when shared with the wider professional community.
Key Takeaways on Overcoming Content Paralysis
- Timeliness vs. Perfectionism: While accuracy is vital, particularly in the legal field, content paralysis (over-tweaking and delaying due to perfectionism) can undermine timely and critical content sharing.
- Content Freshness: Just like fresh bread is best served hot, timely content, especially regarding legal updates, is most impactful when delivered promptly.
- Balancing Act: Striking a balance between precision and promptness can set you apart from competitors and keep you top-of-mind for clients and colleagues.
- Scheduled Writing Blocks: Treating writing time as sacrosanct, akin to formal meetings, can foster discipline and ensure consistent content creation.
- Client-Centric Content: Always create content with the reader in mind. Avoid jargon and complex legalese; instead, offer clear, actionable insights that your clients and wider audience can readily understand.
- Embracing ‘Good Enough’: Recognize that striving for perfection in every content piece may be impractical. Often, what you consider “good enough” is already of high value to your audience.
- Value of Shared Knowledge: Content isn’t just about showcasing expertise; it plays a pivotal role in networking, relationship-building and professional opportunity generation.
- Impact of Delays: Postponing content sharing, especially time-sensitive updates, can cede ground to competitors and reduce the content’s overall impact.
- Audience Engagement: Understand your audience’s needs and cater to them. Tailor your content to resonate with clients and prospects, ensuring relevance and value.
- Practice Makes Perfect: Consistency in writing and sharing content not only refines one’s skill but also amplifies reach and influence over time.
Reach out to me for help with your content marketing efforts!