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You have great writers. You have a reputable brand. You spend time, money and effort on your content strategy. So why aren’t all these efforts paying off?
There are many reasons why content marketing strategies fail to generate a positive return on investment (ROI). But one of the most harmful culprits is also one of the least recognized: inconsistency.
Why is inconsistency such a content marketing poison and what can your business do about it?
Why is inconsistency such a problem
We all know content marketing is valuable. If used correctly, your content can be a driver for developing better brand reputation, more visibility, and even better customer relationships. How does inconsistency bother you?
- Customer expectations: For starters, inconsistency interferes with your customer expectations. If you don’t post at regular intervals, customers won’t know when they can take advantage of your new content. If your quality is everywhere, customers won’t know if they can trust your brand.
- Publisher relationships: Inconsistent posting sequences can also make your affiliations ambiguous or confusing. Don’t post work on publisher websites that are in no way associated with your industry or brand. People might be confused by your intentions and areas of expertise.
- Loss of momentum: Steady momentum is ideal for continued growth through content marketing. Write new articles and post new links at regular and consistent intervals. You’ll be much more likely to see iterative progress in your keyword rankings, inbound traffic, and other areas. As soon as you break this consistency, your steady improvements will diminish.
Related: Here’s how to improve your business’ content marketing
Types of inconsistency
Content consistency comes in many forms. What exactly do we mean when we talk about inconsistency in a content marketing campaign?
We refer to inconsistencies in various areas, including:
- Schedule: No matter how often you choose to create new content, you should create it at regular intervals. For example, if you decide to post weekly, make sure you never miss a week.
- Tone: The tone of your work also matters in all your writing. Even if they come from different authors, your followers should enjoy a somewhat cohesive brand voice and consistent viewpoints on popular topics.
- Quality: Perhaps most obviously, the quality of your work should be consistent. In some ways, it’s better to have consistent work of slightly lower quality than a body of work that constantly alternates between high and low quality. That said, you should strive for the highest quality content you can produce – you just need to produce it consistently.
- Publishers/channels/locations: To a lesser extent, you should be interested in maintaining consistency in where you publish and syndicate your work. People need to get familiar with your creatives and your main content selling points.
Related: What Makes Copy Compelling
Remedies for content marketing inconsistency
Fortunately, there are simple things you can do to correct your content marketing inconsistencies and develop a better overall strategy.
- Careful planning: Take the time to think through all your decisions. Create a framework that you can use repeatedly across all of your content channels. If your content campaign is mostly reactive or dependent on your own impulsive changes in direction, your campaign will naturally be less consistent.
- Documentation: Despite its importance, many content strategists never bother to document their content strategies. This is a major issue because it’s harder to train new people on your content standards. This leads to inconsistent approaches within your organization and sets the stage for possible drift from the standards you originally envisioned. Be sure to document everything you want to appear in your content campaign, both now and in the future.
- Authoritative leadership: There are times and places where committee decision-making can work, and departments where autonomous, decentralized decision-making is even better. Before your content strategy is consistent and reliable, it needs to have some kind of authoritative direction. One person or small group responsible for making all major decisions and ironing out inconsistencies as they arise.
- Automation: Automation brings value in different ways. Not only does this save your team time, it also streamlines consistency and reliability. For example, if you receive automatic reminders when a new post is due, you’ll be much more likely to stick to a consistent schedule.
- Incremental changes: Content strategies aren’t meant to stay static. In fact, if you’re too consistent, your stagnation can cost you significant potential value. If and when you make changes, try to make them gradually.
- Improving the overall consistency of your content marketing campaign can help you achieve better results and increase your return on investment: remember that consistency is only one ingredient of a successful strategy. It also depends on other ingredients to work. Consistency only works if the quality and direction of your content campaign is on point.
Related: Why No One Reads Your Company Blog