May 10, 2016
They say there is no rest for the wicked. Not to sound evil or anything, but the same saying most definitely applies to content marketers.
More of a blessing than a curse, content marketers love creating content and they understand that being consistent is a critical part of being successful.
From blog posts to podcasts and beyond, content marketers eat and drink content and it’s the goal of every great content marketer to create consistent, reliable content that their readers will be able to recognize at a glance.
The only problem? The quest for content consistency could lead to a risk of repetition.
Because of this, content marketers have to be careful to strike a good balance between being reliable with their content and simply being over-the-top.
Luckily, this isn’t as tough as it sounds. Here’s what you need to know to win at consistent content creation today and in the future.
How Much Content is Enough Content?
For content marketers, more is always better. As it turns out, though, that’s also true for audiences. According to a study conducted by Hubspot, content marketers who post 15 blogs each month will be rewarded with more than 1,200 new leads each month. Additionally, companies who publish an average amount of content enjoy a 200 percent increase in ROI over 36 months. This is true despite the fact that only 26 percent of companies have a formal content strategy drawn up. It stands to reason that companies that produce more blogs will enjoy more traffic, but many companies don’t realize exactly how much traffic we’re talking about.
The reason that posting more often is so effective is that it allows a company to develop in a variety of ways. By posting frequently, content marketers not only draw more traffic but they also hone and develop their unique voices, which is an important piece of developing a solid web presence.
On the other hand, companies who don’t create content on a regular basis or only create crappy, half-hearted content because they know that, technically, they need to are likely to suffer from a few different pitfalls. First, these companies will instantly come off to readers as being cheap, which destroys sales and drives customers away. Today’s consumers have larger-than-average BS detectors and the majority of them can tell instantly if a company enjoys the content it creates or just does it to make sales and appeal to their customers’ pocketbooks. Companies that fall into the latter camp are likely to drive more customers away than they attract.
Additionally, companies that aren’t creating an adequate amount of content won’t see the returns or engagement rates that their competitors do. This is because today’s world is essentially driven by inbound marketing. In light of this, no content means no traffic. Effective content marketing earns three times as many leads as outbound marketing tactics but costs 62 percent less. Because of this, 71 percent of B2B marketers are using content marketing to generate more leads. It’s impossible to deny the importance of content in 2016 and smart content marketers know that creating, developing, and maintaining a consistent content strategy is one of the most important factors in achieving success in today’s marketing climate.
Creating Consistent Content: Four Things You Should Be Doing
Now that we’ve established why, exactly, you need to create tons of high-quality content, it’s time to cover how. Great content is like a unicorn or a gray whale – rare, exotic, and breathtaking to behold. While anyone can create content by sitting down at a keyboard and hammering out some words, not everyone can create outstanding, authentic, brand-specific content. This is the goal you should be setting for yourself. Luckily, there are four solid guidelines to get you started:
1. Think of your readers
As a content marketer, you should have a borderline love affair with your readers. These are the people who provide your traffic, bolster your sales, spread the word about your company, and engage with your content, so of course they deserve to be rewarded! When you think of your readers throughout your content creation process, you’re better equipped to provide them with outstanding content that they’ll truly love. This, of course, benefits your business and helps you make a name for yourself in your industry.
Fortunately, thinking about your readers during the content creation process is easy: you simply need to place yourself in their shoes. What’s important to them? What do they need? What would they value? Is there something they want that they’re not aware of yet, like a new form of content or a new section of information? In addition to thinking about the needs and desires of your customers, you’ll also need to think about their relationship to your company and their stage in the buying journey. According to a survey conducted by IMN, 75 percent of companies develop separate content creation strategies for each marketing group and channel that they work with. Doing this can enhance the success of your content while also helping you cater more specifically to each of your target audiences.
With that in mind, devote your content creation efforts to developing material that your readers will love. Don’t be afraid to surprise them with new content formats, topics, or discussions. As long as you’ve taken the time to get inside their heads, you’ll be rewarded for thinking one step ahead of your audience.
2. Connect all of your channels
How disorienting would it be for one of your readers to engage with your content on Twitter before searching for your company on Facebook and finding an entirely different brand message and voice? Avoid being a split-personality content creator by taking pains to ensure that all of your content across all channels is consistent. Doing this will prevent your readers from getting whiplash while they read your posts. It will also help you establish a consistent brand persona across the web, regardless of which channel your readers are finding you on. Being consistent on all marketing channels means keeping your branding, voice, and content the same and ensuring that you’re maintaining a high level of engagement and interaction on each distribution channel you use. This will help your readers bond more strongly with your content while also ensuring that they know what to expect when they visit your brand.
3. Pay attention
It’s impossible to be 100 percent perfect 100 percent of the time. To put this another way: you’re going to make mistakes with your content. Fortunately, this isn’t the end of the world. Content creators who are just getting into the content game often post too often or not enough and may drive away readers as a result. Likewise, you need to learn which topics your readers love and which they hate and how, exactly, you can distribute content in order for it to have the maximum possible effect. Some of these lessons are best learned by making mistakes and then listening to your readers when they tell you about them. By being open to learning new things and never getting too fixed in your content creation strategy, you can grow and develop as a content marketer for years to come.
4. Get organized
While we’d all like to believe that creating consistent content is all about the creative process, sometimes it’s simply about being oragnized. Because content marketers generally have several different distribution channels and potentially hundreds of different topics to worry about, it can be nearly impossible to keep it all organized as the demand for content grows. Because of this, it’s wise to use a platform that allows you to plan all of your content creation efforts in one convenient place. Services like CoSchedule and Hootsuite are great for this.
When you can assess your content at a glance from one easy dashboard, you stand a much better chance of meeting your content goals and providing your readers with a consistent web presence – even when things get busy!
It’s safe to say that content marketers are addicted to content. From creating new content to keeping up with the performance and reception their old content has earned, content marketers eat, sleep, and dream content. Luckily, this creates a wealth of high-quality material for readers and customers everywhere. For content marketers to continue being successful in the content field, however, it’s important to develop a consistent content marketing plan that helps them build an audience and attract more readers. By thinking about your audience while you create your content, being consistent across all of your channels, learning from your mistakes, and staying organized in your content creation efforts, you can ensure that you become a consistent brand that your readers truly want to engage with. Because hey – one piece of content is never enough!
Julia McCoy is a serial content marketer, entrepreneur, and bestselling author. She founded a multi-million dollar content agency, Express Writers, with nothing more than $75 at 19 years old. Today, her team has nearly 100 expert content creators on staff, and serves thousands of clients around the world. She's earned her way to the top 30 worldwide content marketers, and has a passion for sharing what she knows in her books and in her online course, The Content Strategy & Marketing Course. Julia also hosts The Write Podcast on iTunes.