Jordan Ogren

September 17, 2021

Templates: To use or not use? That's the question.

Using templates is not inherently wrong. But having a heavy dependence on them is.

This truth became even more apparent as I talked with a close friend who’s a marketing director. We were discussing a graphic designer he managed.

Her portfolio was beautiful, and she came from a prestigious college. 

Her first few months of work were excellent, aside from her slow work ethic. She completed projects and seemed to produce great work. Until one day…

My friend gave her a nuanced project which resulted in her not finding a template she could use for a starting point. Instead, she had to rely on her natural designing gifts.

The end product was “not pretty,” and my friend chalked it up as a rarity. That was until it repeatedly happened when she could not use a template.

She lived and died by the template. Don’t be like her.

Now, what does this fatal flaw look like within marketing? Let’s first cover copywriting or writing in general.

There are many templates, scripts, or frameworks you can use to write more compelling copy. They can be incredibly helpful in overcoming writer’s block or generating new ideas that would have been difficult to arrive at yourself.

Relying on templates too early—before you understand the fundamentals—will stunt your growth and result in hitting the ceiling. You will be unable to articulate the why behind your writing (decisions) and cannot improvise.

Jazz is a beautiful example of this. 

There is little, if any, sheet music that jazz musicians play from. It’s primarily freestyle and playing off the “vibe” of the other people. This requires extensive expertise in the instrument you play.

You cannot pick up a trumpet and join a jazz band on day one and jam out. You would fall on your face. You need to understand note structures, chords, and how to “riff” (freestyle).

Only once you have mastered playing sheet music can you begin veering from it. You must deeply understand the rules to revise and improve them.

Within marketing, this looks like applying the HubSpot content template to all of your content or starting a podcast like X’s podcast. 

It’s not about avoiding using templates or models; it’s more about blindly using them and not understanding the underlying premise.

If you want to improve as a marketer or get better at marketing in your current role, you must understand the underlying premises of marketing.

And that’s what I hope to share with you day after day.

If you know someone who is a template poppin maniac, send them this link ( to gain a foundation to create better marketing.

Do you agree with my premise around templates? 
Or do you have a different mindset regarding the best way to use templates?

🧠 // JO