When it comes to content marketing, consistency is often said to be key. (We know this, because we’re often the ones saying it.)
Too often we’ve seen businesses reaching for the stars with how much they aim to publish, only to end up with a rickety roller coaster of output – 10 pieces one month, 2 another, 4 the next – when capacity for creating content is stretched too far. And then there are the times when writing is farmed out to different people with no thought to brand tone of voice, leaving the eventual readers confused as to who exactly you are, what you stand for… and thus how much they can trust you with their money.
Content marketing is a long-term game plan. Which makes consistency in output and voice absolutely essential to achieving your goals further down the road.
But consistency doesn’t mean boring your potential customers to death with the same old content. In fact, it’s just as essential to keep things fresh and exciting by mixing up the type of content you provide, as well as discussing those hot topics that can’t help but resonate with people.
Here are three ways to do just that:
Keep an eye out for what people are clicking
We’ve mentioned this before in our post on inbound marketing tips for SMEs on a budget, but it bears repeating now:
Be smart about content creation!
Trying to fill a blank piece of paper with blog titles is difficult at the best of times. And it’s even harder for someone to come up with ideas outside the scope of their own business. So why not use platforms like BuzzSumo to see what else has been talked about and shared in your field (or beyond) that might interest your customers. Check your network’s posts on LinkedIn and Twitter. Hell, it might even be worth scrolling through Facebook to see what’s got people in a flap today. Then use this as inspiration for your own content, giving your unique perspective on the subject or perhaps even presenting the same facts and figures in a new way (eg: through an infographic).
As for the headlines themselves, make notes on the those that found an audience and then feel free to pinch them for yourself. Remember, there are no new stories, only new ways of telling them. As long as the content beneath the headline is fresh, authentic and relevant, it’s acceptable to use whatever means you can to draw people to your content.
Mix up your content types
Sticking to writing and publishing blog posts might work for smaller businesses, but at some point you have to start mixing it up to keep your customers interested. Utilising a rich mix of content types will not only keep things fresh and exciting for them, but can also help guide them on their buying journey (as seen in this three-stage process from Hubspot, below).
A proper content strategy will include ideas about the types of content that you want (and are able) to create and publish. Depending on how in-depth your strategy is, you may even have planned out just where in the content marketing process they’ll sit. For example, blog posts and videos might be great at grabbing attention, but it’ll be ‘offer’ content (ie more powerful content such as ebooks and whitepapers you have to enter details to download) that will earn you leads. After which it’ll be things like webinars, case studies and demos that will encourage your customers to move from merely considering you to actually making a purchase.
Feel free to try new things too. Infographics are a fantastic way of conveying information in a fun, clear way as quickly as possible. Videos are more popular than ever before at engaging and educating audiences (Moz’s Whiteboard Fridays are our current favourite). Interviews with thought leaders in your industry will save you time on writing and yet offer you more powerful content—plus the chance to find new audiences if/when the interviewee shares your piece. You could even run a few polls on Twitter for a chance to engage followers and find new ones.
Don’t be afraid to have an opinion
Yes, we encourage businesses to be consistent with their writing in terms of who is doing it and how closely they are sticking to the tone of voice. But this doesn’t mean the content itself needs to be consistent in its delivery.
What we mean by this is that nobody wants to read the same monotonous explanation of industry topics on a weekly basis. It might be educational, but it’ll bore people to tears.
These days people want a bit of life with their content. Which means you shouldn’t be afraid to invest a little personality into your work and share your opinion on certain topics. As long as you keep it relevant for your customers, logical, level-headed, and refrain from causing offence(!), it’ll win big with your customers. Because you’ll be showcasing a little of your human side—and a distinct personality which obviously nobody else will have—instantly giving you stand-out from the competition.