Why Consistent, Compelling Content Marketing Beats Viral Gambles Every Time.
So every marketer will tell you that your marketing efforts have to be consistent. But this gets really muddy when the next thing they start talking about is their retainer. However, your consistency as a brand, in your messaging, and in the minds of your customers is key to your growth and survival. So let’s unpack it for a moment.
Removing the Muddiness from the Concept of Consistent Marketing
If you aren’t a professional marketer, I want to apologize on behalf of my (extremely over broad) profession. We are brokers of attention and amateur scientists in the study of interruption, engagement and conversion. And we have used all of these tools, for years, to explain to everyone unlucky enough to listen, that they should…
It’s well intentioned. Marketing is complicated. Each company or brand goes through a unique marketing journey, which is still fairly tame compared to the melting pot of marketing activities that are available or unavailable to an entire industry or country.
It’s a pain. Because humans are a pain. We want opposing and irrational things nearly all of the time. In addition to our human eccentricities, we are also in a world of constant noise and immersed in a cumulative propaganda campaign with one simple message: You are missing out.
This obsession with the new and the razors edge of marketing science and technique leads many well intentioned companies to flit from one campaign to another as fast as they scroll through their social feed. They are desperate not to miss out on the next big thing (the way many of them did throughout the birth of the digital age), and this leads them into a frantic and inconsistent brand existence.
The Two-Mind Dilemma
Much of the confusion is centered around the dueling desires of the customer. In survey after survey, you will find that your customers want to do business with brands they can trust (consistency), while also saying that they prefer brands that do exciting and surprising things. But for a company with real limitations on it’s marketing budget, this is a problem. Creating consistency in our customer experience costs a lot. At the same time, new and exciting campaigns are an unknown, but contain the possibility of immense growth even if many of them fail to deliver results in alignment with your goals.
The problem is a kind of relationship math problem. Customers will want different things from you at different stages of their lifecycle.
- Pre-Prospect: Doesn’t know who you are. Doesn’t care. Looking for the best way to solve their problem, and hopefully in a way that’s intriguing and makes them excited to buy something (EXCITEMENT)
- Prospect: Knows who you are, and thinks you might be cool, but will now proceed to stalk you and all your previous customers to answer the nagging internal question: “Can I trust them to help me?” (CONSISTENCY)
- Early Stage Customer: Is excited to see if their trust has been rewarded. They are nervous, and looking for any sign that you don’t deliver as promised, while hoping that the experience is so good that they can go brag about it somewhere. (CONSISTENCY)
- Loyal Customer: Has been happily purchasing from you for some time. But is watching your competition for signs that they are not getting enough value. They appreciate that they can trust you, but want reasons to be excited again and tell everyone that they knew you before you were cool. (EXCITEMENT)
This is pretty simple when you are looking at one sample customer, but it gets much more difficult to navigate as you realize you have hundreds or thousands or customers in all of these phases simultaneously at any given moment.
The Bear Bryant Principle of Marketing
Legendary US Football coach is attributed a famous quote: “Offense sells tickets. Defense wins Championships” For non-sports fans, he was commenting on the idea that the actions required to get people excited, aren’t the same as the actions needed to achieve the most important goals.
To rephrase for marketing, it would go like this:
“Novelty and Excitement earn attention. Consistency builds brands. Customer Experience builds empires.”
What Consistency Looks Like:
Now that we can agree how important consistency is, and where it sits in your marketing cycle, let’s go back to the beginning and define what we mean by marketing consistency. Marketing consistency is a term you will hear used across all channels and activities, so it’s important to know what it means in different places.
- Brand Consistency: Brand consistency is about being consistent in how customers think about your company. This really does cover almost everything you do as a company, but it comes up most often in visual design (how you look) and customer experience (how well you measure up to your own hype).
- Messaging Consistency: Message consistency is about how you attempt to communicate messages to your audience in a way that is always in line with your core values, strategy, and position. It’s about the words and images you use and what they say about who your company is. Companies who fail at messaging consistency tend to be viewed as unreliable, or unmemorable since the messaging is failing to reinforce their core principles.
- Content Consistency: Content consistency pulls aspects from both brand consistency and messaging consistency. Your content is a message so messaging consistency applies. Branding consistency applies to visuals and values. But content consistency mostly means making your awesome messages show up reliably, on time and where they are needed most.
Regardless of what channel or platform you use to publish your content, consistency is the engine that will get you where you need to grow. But it’s not just growth, consistency is also the platforms for developing the best parts of business success.
Benefits of Content Consistency
Let’s deep dive some of the great benefits of building your own consistent content engine. As you will see, consistent content will affect nearly every area of your company as it builds success and momentum.
Building Brand Awareness
In marketing we have an old adage called the “Rule of Seven” it states that a prospect needs to see or interact with your content at least seven times to take a desired action. Many research scientists say that this number is growing because of the 1800 plus ads that we are served every day. It takes repeated effort to cut through the noise and large gaps of time between exposures can cause you to lose all of your progress when your prospect literally forgets you exist.
But creating top-shelf content consistently will get your brand out in front of more people more often. And once they are aware of you, you can get the opportunity to make your case and tell them why you are their perfect match. In the long run, this process will create the people at the top of your sales funnel.
Establishes Credibility and Authority
The next natural benefit of consistent content is that it builds your credibility and authority in the eyes of your audience. Consistent content like blog posts, how to videos, ebooks and templates makes you look like an industry badass (authority), and a consistent focus on improving your customer’s outcomes makes it easier to believe you can do what you claim (credibility).
Builds and Audience
Over time, your audience will begin to try your ideas. Successful projects will result in bragging to friends and colleagues and eventually you have a large audience of people that are simply waiting to hear what you say next. You can call them fans, or brand advocates or widget evangelists, but the more awesome content that you consistently put out, the more and more people that will be excited to hear from you and share your work.
Boosts Ranking and Reach
Consistent content also helps develop your digital footprint or “Domain Authority.” Machines are getting smarter every day, but they still view fresh content that audiences eat up as the benchmark for the usefulness and relevance of the company publishing it. The more consistently you publish high quality, and strategic content (SEO is required here) the higher your rank. And the more reach you have to build and larger and larger audience.
Generates Traffic, Leads and Sales
Even without overhauling your sales team or hiring a conversion optimization specialist, imagine what would happen to your business if you had 10x the number of leads you have today. What would it mean for your team, your goals and your future. As your consistent content builds larger and larger audiences, more and more of them will be willing and excited to engage you as customers. Even without extra effort, the extra traffic, leads and sales are sure to positively impact your bottom line.
Encourages Customer Loyalty
Consistent content does more than build you an audience, it keeps you from becoming just another company in the minds of your customers. The email newsletter or YouTube channel you curate for your customers keeps you top of mind. This increased engagement translates directly into brand loyalty. The rest of the math is simple, loyal customers will pay more to buy from you more often. We call it CLV or customer lifetime value, because “Loyal customers buy more stuff” LCBMS is less catchy.
Creating a Platform for Higher Risk Activities
If you have an internal marketing team, I promise they spend some time dreaming about concepts and campaigns that they would love to try. These are the high risk, high reward games that can make your brand blow up overnight. Consistent content can turn an engaged audience into a platform to test your less conventional ideas. There is always an element of chance in viral marketing, but the constant drumbeat of consistent content, gives you a solid platform to launch your craziest ideas. And eventually, one of them will probably work.
So now we see that consistent content is not only superior to viral guessing games, but that it is required to create an environment where your next genius idea is able to survive and thrive. Consistent branding and content is like paying into your retirement. The results are compounded over time and will give you a nest egg you can invest in to other opportunities.
Consistent content will also give you insight into your audience so that you can better decide which of your ideas are rockets and which are just explosions waiting to happen.