Provided we’ve got the goods, what’s to help you or me stand out from the crowd? Quality, in many ways, has become a commodity—a mass-produced, ubiquitous good in large supply. Social media marketing and content marketing have evolved to the point that lots of people really good at creating quality work. This is great news for consumers. But what does it mean for us marketers?
If quality is a commodity, perhaps consistency is the key.
That’s Buffer’s theory at least. Let them explain more below.
Consistency pizza: 4 keys to bringing people back for more
Let’s start off with a definition: What are we talking about when we talk about consistency?
What’s the first thing that comes to your mind? For me, consistency conjures images of schedules and deadlines (probably due to journalism classes hardwired into my brain). And a consistent schedule is definitely part of the equation. But there’s a lot more to it as well.
In my mind, ideal consistency should be a four-part formula (or a four-slice pizza, if you prefer):
- Consistent volume
- Consistent quality
- Consistent voice
- Consistent topics
1. Consistent volume – When can I expect new stuff?
i.e., Are you posting at a regular interval?
A “regular interval” can be taken a number of different ways. Some folks aim for a quota of social shares each day. Others simply want to post an update daily or weekly or monthly. You can set whatever schedule you choose, then be sure to stick with it.
The same applies for blog posts and emails (like the example below from Paul Jarvis). Find a schedule that works for you, then keep posting, sharing, and creating so visitors have a reason to come back for more.
(With most of these factors for consistency, you can think about them in terms of opposites. What’s the opposite of posting at a regular interval? Posting willy-nilly whenever the mood or time strikes you. Some big-name bloggers do this; I’d say they’re the exception rather than the rule. If you go this route, at least set up an email list so that your readers don’t have to check back for new posts; instead, you can check back with your readers.)
2. Consistent quality – Will the majority of your posts be as valuable as this one?
i.e., Next time I check in, will I find something great to read and share?
Quality is often what pulls me in to a new page, profile, or blog, and if the quality continues over time, I’m hooked. We’ve talked already about how quality can be created by anyone. It’s consistent quality that often separates the unknown from the well-known.
(Notice how some of these elements play off each other? It becomes more and more difficult to churn out quality post after quality post, and the harder it becomes, the more likely it is that consistent volume will begin to tail off, too.)
3. Consistent voice – Can I trust the person behind the content?
i.e., Does each post share a consistent set of values and outlook?
We’ve tried to adopt a voice of positivity and helpfulness with our Buffer communication on social media, in the comments, in emails, and on the blog. If we were to slip in a few cynical tweets here and there, it’d be way out of line with our consistent voice.
Have you come up with a voice and tone for your social media and content? Now’s a great time to start.
4. Consistent topics – Will you write about the same things?
i.e., Will you keep posting about the stuff I’ve come here to see?
Consistency with topics hearkens back to finding a focus and a niche for your social sharing or your blog. What kind of stuff do you cover? Your followers and readers will appreciate knowing what to expect with the content you produce. It’s why you write a bio. It’s why you categorize and tag.