When I ask what people struggle with most with content marketing CONSISTENCY is always one of the top challenges people name.
People always want me to tell them how often they should be blogging, how long their blogs should be, how often they should email their list, how much they should be posting to social media…
And I think the REAL question they want to ask is,
“What’s the minimum I can get away with?”
But that’s the wrong question.
I’m NOT going to tell you exactly how many times you need to post or share or write or whatever, because I don’t know your business, your goals, or what you’re already doing.
Marketing isn’t a cookie-cutter, cut and paste formula; what works for me may not work for you.
Instead, to understand how to be more consistent with your content marketing, we have to go through a few steps and answer a few questions first.
1. What is your goal?
Whenever we’re deciding what to do with our marketing plans, we want to understand and define our goals FIRST.
Start with your overall business goal for your content. What do you want your content to achieve for your business? More leads? More engagement? More followers? More sales?
How will consistent content help you achieve that goal?
- For more leads, you might make your goal to share your free lead magnet(s) once a day on social media and encourage people to sign up.
- If you want more engagement, you definitely need to post frequently! So maybe your goal is to post twice a day and ASK for engagement.
- If you want more sales, maybe your goal is a certain number of OFFERS that you will make (via any channel).
- My goal for this month is to show up on Facebook every weekday and make 60(!) offers via any/all of my channels (via email, Facebook page, Instagram, phone calls, etc.).
Write down your overall business goal and how consistency will help you reach it.
2. What does consistency mean to you?
I had a strategy client last month whose goal was to post 13 articles PER WEEK across his suite of websites.
I had different new ghostblogging client last month who only wants to do one really awesome post every other week.
Which answer is “right”?
Because what’s right for him isn’t right for her. They have completely different businesses, different business models, different content needs.
He’s excited to spend $30,000 on content this year; she’ll probably spend closer to $5,000.
Neither is more right or more wrong.
To me, consistency just means doing something on a regular schedule — and I always want to emphasize quality and consistency over quantity.
I said above that I don’t want to give you some arbitrary goal — I want YOU to noodle out what consistency feels like for you.
- How much do you depend on organic (unpaid) traffic to drive leads and sales for your business? If you need a lot, you naturally want to post more often.
- How important is engagement on social / email / blog posts for your business? Again, the more important, the more posts you need.
- How much bandwidth do you have for content? If you’re a one-person shop, you have to balance the needs of the rest of your business and life against your marketing needs (but remember: silent is deadly for business!).
Ask yourself: What do I need to do to reach my goals?
And then ask yourself if you’re willing to do it.
If the answer is no, that’s not a moral failing — but it does mean you need to adjust your goal.
FOR EXAMPLE: If I want 20 people to buy my thing, I need (on average) at LEAST 2,000 people to see the offer (assuming a 1% conversion rate).
If I only have 500 people on my email list, my question to myself must then be:
“Am I willing (and able) to do what it takes to get my message and offer out to 1,500 more people?”
If the answer is no, that’s OK. But I will want to adjust my expectations.
[Might I STILL sell 20 spots? Sure, if I have a very engaged list! But it’s not something to count on. Math rarely lies.]
Define what consistency looks like for you and write it down.
3. What do you need for accountability?
When it comes to consistency, everybody is different in terms of what they need to keep themselves accountable.
If you haven’t read Gretchen Rubin’s The Four Tendencies, she identified four personality types when it comes to accountability (you can take the quiz for free and find out your type here).
I’m an Obliger, which means I’ll move heaven and earth to keep my promises to you… But I kinda suck at keeping promises to myself. So, for me, an accountability buddy OR public accountability posts are key. I need to be doing this for YOU at some psychological level.
But you might be an Upholder and have no problem meeting expectations internal or external. That means just saying you’ll be more consistent is probably enough, although you might like a tracker or something to check off to track yourself.
If you’re a Rebel you resist all types of expectations, so you have to figure out what’s going to motivate you to be more consistent on your own — if I tell you what to do you absolutely won’t do it!!
And if you’re a Questioner, you also need to find your own internal motivation, because you’re asking yourself if you really even need consistency anyway…. But when you decide that you DO, you’ll probably be good to go.
So what do you need? A tracker you can check off? An accountability buddy? A post you make here in the group every day saying you’ve done the thing?
Decide on what you need for accountability and put it in place.
4. Choose your metrics.
OK, hands up if “metrics” is a scary word for you?
Some of us love data, others hate it!
But wherever you fall on the spectrum, our metrics (fancy marketing word for numbers) tell us what’s working and what’s not.
Because here’s the deal: Consistency will get you NOWHERE if you’re being consistent with the wrong things!
How do we know what the right things and wrong things are?
Well, we have to test it. And the only way to test it is to measure something — hence the numbers.
How do you pick your metric?
Go back to the goal you set in step No. 1. There should be a number you can associate with that goal. Maybe it’s:
- Email opt-ins
- Engagement (comments, likes, and shares) on social
- Discovery calls
- Podcast interviews
- Blog shares
Pick the metric/number that’s closest to your goal.
“But Lacy,” I hear some of you thinking, “my goal was more sales, but I want to be more consistent with Facebook. Shouldn’t I be tracking Facebook likes?”
Because a like is not a sale, my imaginary friend.
And here’s the cold, hard truth: If Facebook isn’t driving more sales for you (directly or indirectly) then it doesn’t matter how consistent you are with it.
Get the picture?
Decide what metric you’re going to track to determine if your consistency is making an impact on your business and goals.
One of the biggest roadblocks to content consistency is not knowing what to write about, or getting writer’s block.
That’s why it’s important to have a stockpile of content ideas you can use when you need them. It helps speed up with writing/creating process tremendously, which will help you reach your goals.
In my Ultimate Content Planning System I’ve provided a tab called IDEA BANK, which is an ideal place to store all your brilliant ideas.
For now, set a timer for 5 minutes and see how many ideas you can come up with.
Don’t judge your ideas! Write everything down. Even a “bad” idea can be usable — but if you have no ideas, that isn’t useful at all!
If you get REALLY stuck, navigate to the tab in the dashboard that says “201 Content Starters.” That’s 201 prompts to get you started and get the creative juices flowing.
Bonus step: Implementation
Of course, this is all just the setup — the proof is in the pudding, as they say.
That’s why step 6 is implementation.
But now that you understand your goals (why you are creating consistent content), how you will track your progress (metrics), have an accountability system in place, and have brainstormed a bunch of ideas, the implementation should be easier!
Of course, any of these steps could become a roadblock:
- You might not understand how content can help you achieve your goals.
- You might not know how to track your progress or which metrics to use.
- All the accountability in the world still might not be enough motivation for you to be consistent (especially if you’re drowning in other work in your business).
- You might struggle to come up with ideas — or have plenty of ideas, but can’t decide where/when/how to use them to support your business.