No surprises: consistency is key to success

oscar wilde Oscar Wilde - not a fan of consistency

There are thousands of pages dedicated to the practice of content marketing. Many of them rewriting someone else’s list of recommendations. Yet one of the best tactics has barely been covered.

In its recent B2B content marketing survey, the US Content Marketing Association found that 85 per cent of the most effective marketers delivered content consistently, compared to 58 per cent of the overall sample and 32 per cent of lowest performers.

It was Oscar Wilde who said consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative… but even so, it works.

So what?

The implications for this are fairly simple. A quick look at content marketing on social media reveals it is filled with guides and articles – from writing to strategy to targeting. All worthwhile, no doubt.

Yet consistency doesn’t require any training or special talent. It just takes effort. It’s one thing we have stuck to here at FirstWord. Since running this blog over the past 18 months, we have produced more than 300 pieces of content. Come rain or shine. Even after the Christmas party.

What it’s not

Consistency is not about churning out copy day after day. It’s about the message and theme, and creating a framework that the user can understand. If your content marketing is about a range of garden equipment, don’t suddenly start writing about the US election. Not unless to sell the rake Donald Trump uses to curate his hair.

Obvious stuff, but you’d be surprised how many people miss this point. One pitfall is picking a theme that is too narrow and with too little room for ideas. Themes are our way of bracketing different pieces of content. The individual message within them might be the same, but they are targeted at a different market or have slightly different aims.

Writing

Consistency should also apply in terms of tone, writing style and images. If you set out to use only 1950s’ black-and-white photographs to illustrate your blog, beware of changing tack. Likewise, if you are writing in a colloquial or formal style, don’t deviate from it.

People like the familiar. Often they will stick with you for a collection of different reasons – some of them surprising.

But, of course, keep working at it. You score an own goal when someone looks at your blog and sees no one has posted anything for 18 months. For one, it’s out of date information. Secondly, it looks like you’re not paying attention.

If you find you can’t produce content, it’s better just to remove the blog. At least then, by doing nothing, you would be consistent.

No surprises: consistency is key to success is part of Content24, the blog for London content marketing agency FirstWord.

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