I attended the Palm Springs Photo Festival recently, and the one message that hit home with me — other than being a photographer is a dang competitive and soul-slapping profession — is the need for consistency.
Consistency is one of those nebulous things like relationships and collaboration that I talk about in content strategy's Magic Layer. It's hard to pin down, but without it, your brand and user experience would fall apart.
Consistency can mean different things.
All of these things leads to not only better work, but a better user experience for your audience. Frequency is a key element of your content strategy execution.
There’s tremendous opportunity to be consistently high quality and uniquely YOU, meaning your brand, throughout all your communication efforts — your content marketing articles, websites, flyers, presentation decks, advertising, emails, postcards, merchandising. All these things can and should have a consistent voice, style, and quality.
When you hire content creators, like writers, designers, or photographers, they bring their own set of style and quality to the table. You want to leverage this talent while maintaining consistent style and quality of your brand. This is much more easily accomplished with a content strategy to guide the various content creators and approvers.
Be sure to audit your content on a regular basis -- every six to 12 months at least -- and refresh or archive content that's no longer relevant.
Consistently being available when you say you are, showing up when you say you will, answering the phone, consistent personality and voice, consistently delivering on time — all of these things set expectations. Consistently providing a level of customer service, whether it's on the phone, in your signature, in your email correspondence, or in the way you present yourself, sets expectations that your audience relies on. Your content strategy can help guide the consistency of your voice and ongoing communication efforts across your business.
Let's deep dive on my favorite area of content consistency that frequently gets pushed aside as we get busy: consistently communicate with your audience.
Your audience wants to hear from you. They want consistent content. I think we all forget about that in our efforts to manage the day to day business. They are YOUR audience after all. They signed up for you or are searching for you or connected with you in some way.
Now it’s our job to be the friend who is not only always there, but also who always calls. Who anticipates their needs and reaches out with ideas and support. I’m guilty of being caught up in the business. Or of actually being caught up in my clients’ businesses. Their healthcare companies and supply chain software and medical research. Their sustainable and flexible energy solutions. Their STEM and STEAM and higher educational advancements for kids and adults.
Intense stuff, working with organizations who are changing the world for the better, and I get overly focused helping them succeed, while neglecting to reach out to the next organization who needs consistent content strategy and storytelling.
Small and large organizations alike: we all need to budget for and carve out the time to reach out, talk, and connect.
Renew your commitment to reach out more often with consistent content. Be a better friend. Here’s how:
And remember, consistency does NOT mean redundancy.
Think about how many people and brands you’ve met online and in person in the last year alone. Now think about the ones you accidentally stumble upon and smile, realizing you had totally forgotten about them and wish you hadn’t?
It’s a lot of work, yes, to come up with the content idea, create it in a voice that suits your brand, deliver it in a format and medium that will reach your audience, respond to people who respond to your outreach, analyze the results, and do it all over again.
But without your audience, you are no longer relevant, right?
Does your content strategy cover consistency? Let's talk about how to make it happen.
Shelly Bowen, MFA, is a content writer, content strategist, and founder of Pybop.
For decades, Shelly has written for businesses on complex topics from disease prevention and medical devices to alternative energy and leveraging data. Today, she's hyper-focused on supporting B-B technology businesses. In her spare time, she hikes, kayaks, draws, and works on her T-Bird.
A wide variety of brands rely on Shelly as an essential freelance writer and content strategy resource.