Last week a client asked me how it felt to have completed Content Marketing World and brought the year to successful close. “I don’t actually see Content Marketing World as the close of the previous year,” I told him. “I see it as the kickoff to the upcoming year. It’s an influx of new ideas and the kickoff to an energetic year ahead.”
As we talked, my client asked if he could get access to all the templates and frameworks that had been discussed in the workshops. He said he was looking for a fill-in-the-blank set of presentations that would help him establish a content strategy at his company. “Does such a thing exist?” he said.
I told him it didn’t – but tried to help by sending him links to versions of the presentations available online.
Our exchange got me thinking: How many of us are copying and pasting our careers?
Nothing breeds imitation more than success.
You can see it everywhere today. Just look at how many new technology startups are using “artificial intelligence” as the main differentiator of their software.
Or, look at the chatter about who is copying who when it comes to the idea of social media. Facebook is copying Snapchat. Twitter is copying Instagram. LinkedIn is copying Facebook. It’s everywhere. From Hollywood movies, to pop songs, to food products, to best practices in marketing.
“Best practices” are ultimately what we’re talking about.
Best practices become best practices because we’re copying what worked.
Copying the successful is a tried-and-true method. As content marketers, we do it all the time. Just like the client who emailed me, we’re all looking for the case study, the framework, the proven method, or the template. We’re looking for the thing that we know will succeed.
Except, in most cases, copying the best practice doesn’t produce the best results.
The missing piece is to ask why we are doing what we are doing. Are we starting at a best practice or ending on one? Yes, that templated business case or framework might be the thing that worked for that business. Copying our competitor’s blog strategy might be successful.
But, why are we copying and pasting the idea? Are we copying it because it worked for someone else? Are we copying it because it’s a shortcut? Or because it will be easier to finish or to get permission to do? If it’s any of these, we should probably take a second, or third, or final look at it.
Are we copying and pasting? Or copying and creating something new?
It’s your story. Tell it well.