There are five C’s to brand marketing. I’ve talked about Creating Killer Content in a previous post that you should read if you haven’t yet. Having engaging content is the most critical pillar in brand marketing. Without it, nothing else matters.
But if creating killer content is the King to brand marketing, “Consistency” is the Queen. And it can feel equally as challenging to achieve. It is necessary to create content that our audience can’t wait to view, but to add an extra level of complexity to the problem, you have to do so every dang day!
Yes, every dang day.
There are days that I get up and think — do I really need to post something? Will anyone even notice? Aren’t people really more concerned with themselves anyway? Will my silence even matter?
But it does. Maybe not to your audience right away. But not showing up consistently has a profound impact on one’s success. It’s not the grand sweeping gestures one might make but the small, almost insignificant acts of regular practice that collectively will have the most significant impact. Because anyone can get a burst of energy one day and ignite an idea like a match to kindling, but it’s the person who shows up every day and burns slowly that will produce the most heat.
Why is consistency so important?
Consistency is the building block to momentum. And its the momentum that really has a lasting impact on our success. Think about it this way. Say you meet this guy that you definitely like. You get the sense he likes you too. He starts sending you multiple messages each day. You find yourself beginning to look forward to hearing from him. And then out of the blue, the texts stop. There is no rhyme or reason. No explanation. Then a few days go by, and again, he shoots you another message, but now your spidey senses are on high alert. And you think WTF? You don’t have time for that, so you delete him from your phone. He’s hot, but nobody is THAT hot.
Nobody likes to be ghosted regardless of the reasons behind it. Social media is no different. You just need to show up. Truthfully, it doesn’t have to be every day, but whatever cadence you ultimately decide on, you need to stick to it. If you post every day, your results will follow. If you post every other day (like I do btw), you can expect your growth to be reflective of the schedule.
So showing up every day in a consistent manner is essential, but speaking in the same consistent voice is also important. Ideally, you want people to start to recognize that the message is coming from you without even looking at who is posting. You’ll want to establish a consistent look across all your imagery. You’ll want to use the same brand colours. The same fonts. The same vernacular. The more people can start drawing a connection between the words that you say and the images that you post, almost unknowingly, people will begin to subconsciously look forward to content coming from you.
Ever notice how in a school classroom, people tend to pick their seat at the first of the year and then never change after that? We are all creatures of habit. We like the sense of familiarity. We like to think we “know” the people we interact with. You want to become similar to an old worn through t-shirt that someone wouldn’t dare chuck in the Goodwill bin.
So yes, consistency is important. Now what?
Some things are easier said than done. Like saying you plan on running a marathon. That’s easier said than done, but so is being consistent. I wanted to share with you five tactics I use with varying degrees of success. I struggle as much as anyone. (she says as she frantically puts the finishing touches on this blog post when all she really wants to do is sleep for a few more hours but it’s Thursday, so the post must go out.)
Create a Content Calendar
Knowing what you plan on posting is often the biggest struggle. And I spoke before about using Trello, which is how I mind map things out in terms of what I plan to post. Every time an idea pops into my head, it goes on my content board. Each idea gets its own card, and inside that card, I add any supporting links I might need to refer back to. The great thing about Trello is that each card can move around the board depending on my mood. So having a well of ideas is step one.
I then use a very affordable Google Calendar to map out my content for the next twelve weeks. Well, at least for my blog content. When it comes to social media, I map out only a week in advance for now. One day, it is a dream of mine that I can plan out twelve weeks for that too. I’m just not quite there yet.
The added benefit of pre-planning your content in advance is that it allows you to leave easter eggs for what’s to come. This is a classic strategy in keeping your audience on the edge of their seats. If I didn’t have my content planned for the coming weeks, I wouldn’t be able to hint at the future articles, which will focus on the other three pillars of brand marketing: Clarity, Connection and Client Acquisition. See…I bet you almost fell off your chair as I wrote that. K…I wouldn’t bet a lot, but you get my point. ??
Of course, you can download a lot of fancy calendars, but I prefer not to complicate things. Google Calendars does the job. I colour-code each social media platform so that I can easily see what’s supposed to go out and when.
Batching for Efficiency
The number one reason most people say they find it challenging to be consistent is that they just run out of time. We’ve heard it said before. We all have the same amount of hours in the day. If Einstein could create the theory of relativity in a series of 24 hours, why can’t we be consistent with our efforts? But I dare suggest that Einstein wasn’t posting on Facebook or Twitter daily either.
Batching content is a major time saver. Once you get over the initial hurdle of sitting down, turning off all distractions, and creating a framework for what you are going to post for the coming days, it saves time and sanity to boot. And I don’t know about you, but I need to harness as much sanity as possible.
Once you master the art of batching, I might also suggest using an automated scheduler. While I haven’t used a scheduler myself yet, I’ve been circling around the idea. Many people recommend them from Hootsuite to Sprout Social to Buffer to Meet Edgar — there are so many from which to choose. I’m leaning towards Hootsuite based both on price and functionality. I’ll let you know how that experiment goes when I get there.
The key takeaway is to try and get ahead of the game by staying focused and being organized.
Repurpose your content
You already know that each social media platform is unique to itself. As much as it would be great to press a magic button and post one piece of content across all social media vehicles, you know you can’t. Even though the same person in your audience might use all 20 forms of social media, each one serves a very different purpose.
But that doesn’t mean you need to create new content for each. Phew! Most of what you create can overlap and be transferable with a few minor tweaks. You’ll want to keep your LinkedIn travel content more formal – fewer pictures of your dog dressed in her pink tutu perhaps, which you’ll save for Facebook — but the gist of your content on both platforms can be the same.
Another useful trick is to avoid making references to times and dates and linking ideas to events. For example, I could write a whole post on how COVID has changed the travel industry and how we all need to pivot to find new ways to attract clients. That might be a great article but one that I couldn’t repost in a few years. Ideally, you want to create content that can stand the test of time. Even though I’m posting this article on my blog this week, I may lead people back to it via Pinterest in a few months. You always want to be thinking, how can I extend the shelf life of every piece of content you create. And it can’t always be done. Sometimes you will want to feature a time-sensitive event – think “Booking Tips for the Japan Olympics 2021,” but those should be the exception and not the rule.
Consider using a style guide
And my final tip for creating a consistent messaging across all your communications would be to great a style guide. You’ll want to keep track of the hex codes for all your brand colours. You’ll want to be clear on what fonts you’ll use for headers and which fonts you’ll use for the body of your writing. Google Fonts are useful in that they are universally recognized. Your style guide is also where you’ll put your preference for when to use capitalization vs. non or Canadian spelling vs. American.
And a style guide especially comes in handy if you lead a team as opposed to being a solopreneur, but even as someone who creates all my content myself, I still need to refer to my style guide from time to time.
Final thoughts on consistency
The good news is, consistent actions don’t have to be huge to have an impact. In fact, it’s often the opposite. To do one small thing but to do it consistently, over time, will carve massive crevasses of success as deep as the Grand Canyon.
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