Do deadlines still matter? You might think not—especially if you work in the DevOps world.
After all, DevOps has kind of killed deadlines. The whole continuous delivery concept does away with the idea of rigid development schedules characterized by tight deadlines. In DevOps, you’re supposed to deliver work continuously, whenever you complete it. If you’re talking about software delivery, deadlines are more or less dead.
But when it comes to content production, you can’t be so quick to write off the importance of deadlines. Deadlines matter a lot, even if you’re writing for an audience of DevOps programmers who are used to doing everything at the last minute.
Let me explain…
A Very Brief History of Deadlines
In both the traditional publishing world and the traditional software delivery world, deadlines mattered a lot. Editors and publishers expected writers to stick to the deadlines they set. Project managers invested great effort trying to make sure their developers delivered code according to roadmaps established far in advance of the software due date.
Fast-forward to the present, however, and the expectations have changed when it comes to deadlines for both writers and programmers.
In the age of the Internet, content gets published digitally as it is written. Even traditional newspapers now publish stories instantaneously online. Essentially, publishers today do continuous delivery of content.
And when it comes to writing software, continuous delivery is now king. Programmers are no longer expected to stick to rigid roadmaps. In fact, doing so can be a risk because tight software development roadmaps constrict an organization’s ability to adjust its workflows as its needs change.
Why Deadlines Still Matter
If you’ve read this far, you might be confused. I started this article by stating that deadlines still matter in the content marketing business. But so far, all I have done is explained why deadlines are no longer important for many people in publishing or DevOps.
So let me explain why deadlines do indeed still matter for content marketing.
First, they matter because consistency is key if you want to practice effective marketing. Being able to publish new content according to a regular cadence helps instill in customers and potential customers the idea that your business is reliable and predictable. Sticking to a schedule requires you to have a set of deadlines that are respected.
Second, deadlines are important in content marketing because regular publishing helps you measure the results of your efforts. You can’t gather good metrics if your content production is erratic due to irregular production deadlines.
Third, deadlines help set clear expectations and develop a culture of professionalism for the influencers who help generate your content. This keeps your business organized and helps to maximize freelancer engagement—an essential consideration when you want to effectively manage a network of freelance influencers.
Fourth, deadlines keep everyone in sync. Writers and editors can’t work well together if the latter don’t know when the former will turn in their work. Editors and clients can’t align if editors are unable to deliver content when promised. While “parallel” workflows and continuous delivery might work when you’re developing software, they become problematic if you are creating influencer content.
Fifth, and finally, deadlines are a way of respecting everyone’s time. This is important because it helps to cultivate a culture of respect between writers, editors and clients. Even in situations where deadlines don’t actually matter from a functional perspective, they are valuable because they reinforce the idea that everyone’s time is important, and that all parties respect one another. In this way, deadlines help to breed a culture of respect and collegiality, which is especially valuable in a business where writers, editors and clients work for different organizations, and therefore lack the close connections that would exist by default if everyone had the same employer.
Conclusion: Deadlines Aren’t Dead
So, there you have it. Although we live in a world where deadlines can sometimes seem stuffy and outdated, especially from the perspective of the changes that have taken place in recent years to the way publishers and software developers work, they actually aren’t.
If you’re in the content marketing business, at least, setting and respecting deadlines is still crucial.
This is why, at Fixate, we take deadlines very seriously. We make sure our expert contributors know how important deadlines are to us, and we have designed a content-production process that ensures that we always deliver content on time to our clients. We free our customers from the struggle to enforce deadlines with freelancers, and we cultivate cultures of respect and professionalism within our influencer network. It’s an important part of the way we add value to content marketing.