by Kenneth Rudich
Consistency entails two major concerns: the required frequency for creating new content, and maintaining brand image alignment across the various mechanisms and platforms.
Let’s start with frequency.
Different platforms require different levels of frequency. In this case, consistency refers to maintaining the level of persistence needed to satisfy the demands of the platform (or more precisely, the demands of the audience using the platform). To be inconsistent will often do more harm than good.
For instance, on certain social media platforms there’s an expectation for daily participation and a high degree of interaction. If you’re unable to invest this kind of time and energy into it, then you’re better off to not do it at all.
A blog is a little more flexible. As a rule it should not be left unattended for more than five or six days, though many bloggers choose to post new material far more often than that, including once or more a day.
The production of eBooks, Whitepapers and Special Reports tend to be less frequent. Nonetheless, it’s good practice to furnish new content, updates or revisions on some fairly regular basis, at least frequently enough to keep the overall content development initiative from going stale in the eyes of the audience.
A business website can have a longer shelf-life than all of the above. Even so, it’s a good idea to periodically refresh it as well.
The point is this: when choosing to pursue a content marketing and management initiative, make sure the frequency expectations don’t exceed your ability to consistently keep pace over time. Ask yourself if it can be managed in-house or, if not, whether it can be outsourced.
With respect to maintaining brand alignment, consistency speaks to the desirability for preserving the integrity of the brand across the various channels, mechanisms and platforms in use. This is especially true when piggybacking the content to drive traffic from one platform to another. The last thing an enterprise wants is to confuse the audience by giving out mixed messages during this process.
Rather, it’s better to actively promote a halo effect by establishing a universal policy for framing your actions, words and images to consistently: (1) translate your offering into concepts the audience can readily understand and appreciate; (2) reflect an alignment with customer motives, wants and needs; (3) reinforce a positive perception of the brand; (4) show your brand in comparison to how the competition’s brand is perceived.
One way to facilitate the implementation of this policy is to also develop a digital content management and re-use strategy. Because digital content – that is, almost anything with an electronic footprint – is very versatile, it can be re-used, re-purposed or even re-assembled into something altogether new.
Such a strategy involves the establishment of a repository for storing and re-using the accumulation of digital assets over time. For instance, if customer service answers a key customer question via email, think about entering it into your digital library for re-use later on, perhaps for inclusion with internal training, or for a blog post, or in the frequently asked questions (FAQ) page of your website. This type of practice offers two chief benefits:
First, re-use provides a means to maintain message consistency in terms of look, feel and impression. Since consistency is at the heart of building a strong and memorable brand, this alone makes it worthwhile.
Second, you won’t have to re-invent the entire wheel every time you set out to develop new content. This yields considerable savings in terms of time, money and effort.
Sound Content Management
The PAC Formula provides a good point of departure for creating a sound content management initiative. By staying true to each letter in the acronym, you’ll be giving your enterprise a favorable advantage for getting more mileage out of it.