There’s a right time and place to use templates. And on the flip side, to not use them. Here are some thoughts on the topic.
When templates aren't effective
Read through any list of journalist or client gripes, and cookie cutter approaches are almost always at the top of what not to do. Talk to communications pros about it, and they’ll agree that personalization and original ideas are the way to win and keep clients. Yet templates continue to creep into the workflow, offering a false sense of time savings.
For example, when one person on the team writes a single pitch for everybody to use. This doesn’t make a positive impression on the recipient, and it’s not likely to generate great coverage, win new business, or increase a retainer. These days, there’s no excuse not to customize your message. Especially since it’s so easy to learn a lot about the person you’re approaching before you ever sit down to write. Still, inboxes are littered with cut-and-paste messages and documents.
While a template offers a great framework, the content should be specific to the recipient. From a new business perspective, think of it from the client’s point of view. A high-end client that’s deciding who will earn the $50K-$75K in annual consulting services is most likely going to choose the communications pro that did the upfront work getting to know their business and developing a custom proposal.
When to use a template
On the other hand, templates used at the right time can free you up to focus on more strategic work.
When is the right and wrong time to use a template? It’s simple – use templates to frame your content but the content itself should always be original.