Are We There Yet? What’s Taking So Long?

Ragini Bhalla on Storytelling and Content Marketing.Are we there yet? What’s taking so long? No, I’m not a 10 year old sitting in the back of my family’s car, dying of boredom (or at least it usually feels like that), desperate for an ‘update’ from my parents on when we’ll arrive at our ‘destination.’ But I am a content marketer and PR professional. And questions like “Are we there yet?” and “What’s taking so long?” aren’t all that unfamiliar.

Inside businesses, it’s not that uncommon for different teams and senior executives to have this sense of urgency for updates on product developments, research study launches, video production, press announcements and so much more. So it’s easy to fall into a pattern of saying ‘yes’ to everything without looking at the big picture. It’s ok to say ‘no.’ In fact, it’s a good thing. The more you say ‘no,’ the more you’ll find your marketing strategy, content development, execution tactics and ROI improve drastically. If that seems counterintuitive, it’s not.

Saying ‘no’ when you’re approached to launch “something” quickly without building a 360-degree marketing campaign around it will only make your brand look unkempt, overwhelmed and unprepared. The ability to pause (and stop) what you’re doing and who you’re talking with (or who is asking you to do something), ask one question, then ask another and then prod even deeper with several more questions is critical to a marketer’s success. I say it all the time and I’ll say it again – when in doubt, ask as many questions as possible.

Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not trying to convince people to say ‘no’ dozens of times a day without any reasoning or logic behind each ‘no.’ Every time you ask a question or say ‘no’ to a team member, colleague or senior executive, you must and I repeat, must, be able to explain your rationale. If it’s a ‘no’ on the proposed timing for a product launch, be sure to map out and suggest an alternative launch date and work backwards to ensure all of your micro-deliverables can be met. Or perhaps you’re debating the vehicle and format used to share news about a company award? If you’re saying ‘no’ to a press release, an alternative, and far more effective, communications plan may include a blog post announcement, social messaging (teasing the announcement prior and sharing the news once it goes live) and even specially crafted news stories that aren’t saying “look at us, we won this award,” but instead highlight the values made so apparent by your award win.

So here are my top 5 questions to ask when considering any marketing project, tactic or launch. These are not meant to be standard for everyone, but they are ones that I ask a lot. And they usually help (me, at least) gain clarity and create content that’s of greater value and will be read, downloaded, talked about and shared socially.

What’s the rush? Slow down there, buddy.

Is this the best we can really do?

Who is really going to care about this? No, really.

Did I miss the story? (If I did/am, then it’s usually time to hit the rewind button).

What’s the plan, Stan?

Ragini is a contributor to The Makegood and Director of Content and Communications for Maxymiser, the leading expert in online testing, personalization and cross-channel optimization for some of the world’s largest brands.