Our Healthy and Irrational Fear of the Publish Button - Local Wisdom

Our Healthy and Irrational Fear of the Publish Button

Lauren Moran

By Lauren Moran
Communications Strategist & Manager

Our Healthy and Irrational Fear of the Publish Button

You’ve finished preparing an important email destined for the inboxes of thousands of people, sent the content through the necessary legal and regulatory approval process, had two people proofread it thoroughly, and ensured three times that you’ve included the correct attachments and graphics. All that’s left is to hit send.

You move the mouse over the send button and press down but are unable to let go. Instead, you hover over the button, imagining all that could go wrong. Questions start running through your mind. Are you sure you pasted that chart correctly? Was the quote from the leader the one with this morning’s last-minute edits? What if you gave the attachment the correct name, but it’s the wrong file?

Internally, you know you’re being irrational. You triple-checked the attachment, and multiple people have reviewed the content. So why do you freeze before hitting the send button?

Why is this important to us, and how do we overcome the fear of the publish button?

Any time you are circulating content, it can be nerve-wracking. Whether you are updating a highly frequented website, distributing breaking news via a press release to media outlets around the globe, or sending out an internal weekly newsletter, the pressure is on to be flawless. You know that everyone makes mistakes, of course, but you’re determined to make sure it isn’t you.

Our Local Wisdom team is made up of individuals who have been tasked with disseminating information of interest on a worldwide scale. In our day-to-day, we are responsible for the backend updating and publication of numerous websites, including many that are heavily trafficked and stringently regulated. These sites range from pharmaceuticals to retail to health and wellness, and no matter what industry we’re working in, we recognize the importance of ensuring that our work is completed accurately and on time. This comes with a lot of pressure and a strong sense of need to be perfect.

A few years ago, a member of Local Wisdom was responsible for posting intranet blog posts on behalf of the CEO of a large Fortune 50 corporation. They recall, “It was always extremely time-sensitive and stressful. Employees had alerts turned on and the blog site set as their home page. As soon as you hit publish, 100,000 people will see it instantly. It goes right to the feed and always has tons of comments from employees. If there was a mistake or a broken link, you had to work quickly to fix it. You didn’t have a big window.”

One lesson we learned from this situation is that comfort comes with experience. The more times you do something, the more routine it becomes, and the more likely you are to be aware of potential issues. Once you’ve updated a particular website multiple times or learned the appropriate distribution list tricks, the work becomes second nature, and the process becomes faster overall. In an environment where our Local Wisdom team is sometimes given less than 30 minutes from the time that they receive a press release to the time that it needs to be posted to a client website, having a smooth, streamlined, and solidified process is key.

The most significant recommendation from our team is to take quality assurance and testing very seriously. Always do several rounds of checks. If something needs to be vetted, put it onto a staging site first, then move it over to a production site once it has been approved. Our team also stressed the importance of checking each other’s work. Finally, the team suggests creating a new email or chat thread for each task. Doing so keeps instructions more organized and makes it easier to keep track of comments along the way.

One thing to note is that trust is crucial and must exist across the board for everyone to be successful. Our clients trust us to get their information posted or distributed accurately and promptly. Likewise, we have confidence in the clients to provide us with the correct information, documents, and translations.

We also have to trust ourselves and our teammates to do a good job. As is the case with almost anything, if you’re feeling anxious, you’re more likely to make a careless mistake. Being confident in your work and giving it your full attention will put you in the best position to ensure that everything will go off without a hitch. Why? Because everyone makes mistakes, but it won’t be you…not today!

What are some measures that we can take to minimize mistakes?

  • Double-check the work, and then have someone check your double-check. For one of our current clients, we ensure press releases – with information of interest to an international audience – are properly uploaded to the client’s public-facing website. Prior to our team being involved, the press releases have already crossed the news wire. Once we receive the assets and documents, we load them onto the website, do a round of testing to confirm there aren’t any glitches or issues with links, clear the cache, test on mobile, then publish. We then send confirmation that this process is complete, and the client uses the link we’ve generated to post to their social media channels. While there is always pressure to produce quickly, this process typically offers a bit more flexibility with timing. However, like many of the other things our group is responsible for, it also still leaves room for error. To ensure mistakes aren’t made or – at worst – are caught before a large audience sees the erroneous information, we have someone on our team double-check the work before it goes live, followed by an individual on the client side confirming the link is accurate before they post on social. Having this procedure in place is incredibly important, as the documents and news being added to the website have typically been subject to legal review and must be displayed precisely as planned.
  • Always have safeguards in place, inclusive of a diligent team. The most important step in preventing careless mistakes is to have safeguards in place. These not only help cut down on errors on the tactical side but also help with peace of mind, which in turn, lowers the risk of a careless mistake. For our team, it is incredibly rare that something is published without a second set of eyes serving as a double-check. Having a staff that is open to and appreciates feedback is a huge component to building trust in your coworkers. Our team acts quickly to take down the old post and reload everything to the same URL.
  • Be mindful that the project isn’t automatically complete after you hit send. They say that “preparation is key” and that “practice makes perfect,” but there is always the risk that a mistake could be made. If that happens, you hope to minimize the damage by catching and addressing it quickly. No matter the circumstances, the entire team must stay on their toes, remain composed, and be available at a moment’s notice to get mistakes fixed right away. We can’t just hit publish and disappear!

So, what’s the moral of the story?

Whether it’s improper formatting, failing to include the most up-to-date data, or accidentally publishing too soon, mistakes are at risk of happening from time to time – especially when dealing with large volumes of content and frequent distributions.

The keys to preventing those mistakes are to double-check your work from a tactical perspective and to make sure you have a confident mindset that puts you in the right place mentally to be attentive to your work. And when mistakes do happen, maintain focus and act quickly to resolve the issue.