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The Good and Bad with Content Templates

By Marc Brown | June 15, 2018 | 0 Comments

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You’ll no doubt be producing and publishing a great deal of content in support of your marketing and product initiatives over the course of a year, so it’s important to simplify the writing process where you can. That’s where writing templates can come into play. But what are the benefits of following a template, and what should you try to avoid when using them? How much flexibility should your template allow?

For some writers, starting an article, blog, whitepaper, or research paper can be the hardest part; and for others, it’s completing the work. You have a great idea, you know what you want to write about, and you have great proof points to back up your point of view for what should make a highly compelling piece.

(Source: Lance Grandahl via Unsplash)

(Source: Lance Grandahl via Unsplash)

So, why is it so hard to get your content across the finish line and into the hands of your potential customers and clients? In many cases, it comes down to the standardized templates and the use of them.

Marketers understand the value templates provide. They help:

  1. Drive consistency across ‘like’ content pieces, supporting the brand, UX, and quality requirements
  2. Improve the production process associated with content delivery. Templates being templates eliminate the churn of poorly designed blogs, articles, whitepapers, and more.
  3. They help eliminate the mental block that can sometimes come with a blank page, helping writers hit the ground running.
  4. Provide validation to the author that they didn’t miss something that should have been included in the piece. For example, the call to action on a blog post encouraging readers to get in touch with you and make use of your products and services.

But…what should you be careful about?

Templates are helpful for creating a sense of structure and consistency. But is that always necessarily a good thing? You can run the risk of becoming a creature of habit, lose sight of your specific audience, or inhibit the personalization required to properly connect with your constituency.

That’s why it’s so important to treat templates as guidelines instead of rules. Just because the template looks a certain way doesn’t mean you shouldn’t build in the flexibility to better support your target audience needs while maintaining the high-level look and feel you desire. Your skills, knowledge, and expertise in a particular area will help you produce great content far more than sticking to a defined format every single time.

Templates are designed to help speed up the writing process, but sticking to them too rigidly can have adverse effects on the quality of your article. What are you doing to drive consistency in your content creation without handcuffing personalization?

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