It has been a long time since I’ve blogged. I’ve really been frustrated by this which has caused even more delays in my writing. I discovered part of the reason for my “writers block” while I was conducting interviews recently. I borrowed and used this “interview question” from Hubspot: “Is It Better To Be Perfect And Late Or Good And On Time?”

I must say the question has produced some excellent conversations with not only the candidates but current colleagues and teammates as well. These conversations have varied from “What is the definition of Perfect?” to “How Much Time Should [NAMEYOURTASKHERE] take to complete?” At the risk of “giving away” the answer to one of my favorite interview questions here is my answer:

The TL;DR version of my answer: “Good And On Time”

David_LateI believe the gap in my blogging was due largely in part to not practicing what I truly believe in: “Good and On Time” is better than “Perfect and Late.”

This principle applies directly to inbound marketing as well. I’ve come to the conclusion that many items on an inbound marketing to-do list could have significantly varying levels of time and resources dedicated to them and yet still function well. The level of detail, research, production quality, and results will vary of course, but none-the-less, something of use can be completed in almost any given amount of time and be “good” but not “perfect.” Here are a few examples:

Personas

I surmise that given one to two hours, assuming the right questions are asked of a few key client-side people,  an inbound marketing strategist could produce a document defining what Personas the campaign is targeting and the general demographics, challenges, etc. representing those Personas. Obviously with more time, more research could be done not only to validate the initial assumptions but to research influencers, gather supporting data, interview more subjects, conduct polls on the website, conduct live research panels, etc.

SEO Technical Audits

A simple one to two hour tech audit could involve inspecting Google Webmaster tools data and setting up a Moz campaign to crawl a website annotating and creating an action plan for any errors found in the reports. A deeper tech audit could involve crawling the website inspecting for broken links, mis-redirected pages, testing site speed, documenting opportunities to move to https, etc., etc. Again a good but not perfect tech audit can be completed rather quickly.

Content Audits and Optimization Strategies

Trailer_lateThere is almost always low hanging fruit when it comes to Content Audits. It all starts with gathering the data. From there a “hatchet” approach of removing easily identifiable low-quality content can be applied without “ever” taking the “scalpel” approach to a page by page analysis and improvement. You will usually achieve some results in this way, though certainly a more complete approach can provide perhaps more complete results. The point is that you’ve started the momentum your Inbound Marketing program needs early in its lifecycle to gain traction for the long term. You can always improve more content!

Additional considerations do need to made when determining what amount of time is appropriate to spend for a “good” result. There is probably a minimum amount of time that should be spent on deliverables like personas. If you get those wrong, you might was well not do anything since you’ll be barking up the wrong tree with your marketing. It takes individuals different amounts of time on various inbound tasks. Years of experience, training history, technical background versus creative background, are a few reasons amongst others which would cause an individual to spend more or less time on a task. On the flip side, there is also a point where the diminishing law of returns takes hold in regards to spending too much time on a task. In other words the ratio of value delivered over spending more time starts to criss-cross.

How Much Time Should Be Spent On Various Inbound Marketing Tasks?

The approach I advise taking when trying to figure out what to deliver in a given amount of time is to work backwards. Figure out how much time you have. Break down that time into meaningful chunks making sure you are getting to the basics first and leaving additional research, details and refining until last assuming you have time. Make sure you can deliver the “good” product on time and improve it even further later.

Summary

Perfect while a destination, is one that is never truly reached. Stop being late with your (not) perfect product and deliver the good version – on time.

Note: This post was good (hopefully) and on-time.