Sometimes, unpredictability is exciting, like when someone pays it forward with a random act of kindness or you get a bonus check "just because." Generally, though, it's jarring at worst and annoying at best. No wonder we're so driven as humans to value consistency.
It's the glue that holds relationships together; without it, how could you depend on your co-worker to have your back during a meeting or your mail carrier to deliver bills like clockwork?
When you practice consistent behavior, you give everyone around you the opportunity to relax. They know they can trust you to do what's expected in your personal and professional lives -- as well as in your approach to content marketing.
Power Your Content With Consistency
Success in content isn't about writing an award-winning article once and then waiting until a muse shows up again; that could take days, weeks, or years. To gain traction and connect with audiences, your content has to get in front of the right eyes under the right circumstances on the right platforms.
A consistent content strategy offers a lot of benefits, and if you're not committing to one, you're losing opportunities to drive visibility and connect with audiences. To help, here are four major areas of your content marketing that require your dedication to consistency -- and how you can improve:
What you say is important; how you say it is vital. If you're like me, you don't create and manage all your content completely on your own. You've got a small content team helping you write articles; those deliverables may then go through several edits before publication. These are all points in your process where having guidelines is integral to developing consistency around your brand voice.
Develop your ideal voice as a thought leader for your brand by creating a style sheet that describes everything from personality to preferences. Do you want your pieces to be witty? Laid-back and conversational? Do you want your inner geek to shine through?
These elements help you connect authentically with your audience through content, so set guidelines around them. If you're not sure how you want to sound, look for examples of articles you'd love to emulate in terms of tone and depth, and pass them along to your team for guidance.
You may be publishing content, but are you doing it predictably? Too many marketers create and publish content using a scattershot approach; in other words, they hit "publish" when they feel like it or when they find time to actually finish creating that article from six weeks ago. Then, they wonder why they can't sustain a long-lasting relationship with audiences.
An editorial calendar is one solution. Not only does a calendar hold everyone accountable, but it can also become a kind of database for project ideas, brainstorms, social media campaign concepts, and more. In essence, it's your place for everything: All the plans for future content and dates for creation, publication, and distribution live in this calendar, and if you stick to it, you'll always have content to engage your audience.
Just producing content won't get you very far anymore (if it ever did). In fact, if you're not consistently distributing and promoting your content once it's published, then all you've actually done is improve your content production, not your content marketing.
To get your content to your audience members and drive any real action or connection with them, you have to actively amplify your content. Building and executing a content distribution plan helps streamline this process tremendously. Use that plan as a companion tool to your editorial calendar to keep your content created and distributed on time every time.
The only way to know for certain that your content is holding up its end of the bargain is by agreeing on goals early on and using the right tools to measure your work against those goals as you go.
Thankfully, there are a lot of content marketing tools out there that can help you measure performance -- but that can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, you have plenty of options to choose from. On the other, using different tools at the same time can lend itself to confusion and overlap in your measurement if you're not careful.
Once you've defined goals and metrics in your strategy, stick to them, and use tools properly to avoid confusion. And if you find that something's not working, update your strategy to reflect your changes -- that way, the other elements of your strategy don't appear inconsistent.
It's absolutely fine to mix things up in your content, but don't let inconsistency plague your strategy. Instead, follow a rule of promptness and predictability. Your content won't just get better: It'll get you noticed.