Do you ever feel like an obsessed ex stalking your competition’s content?
Did their Tweets get better engagement than yours this week? Are you still below them in the search results for those battleground keywords? What topics did they cover this month?
It sure would be great if you never had to think about them. You wouldn’t even need to know they exist most of the time.
That’s exactly the mindset you can achieve when you prioritize consistency in content marketing.
Research from Content Marketing Institute shows that B2B marketers with low-performing content rank content creation as their top challenge. Ironically, strategy – which is necessary for consistent content – comes second.
Once you put in the effort to develop, optimize, and stick with the right strategy, you’ll rarely worry about your competition’s content because you’ll:
You won’t even notice when your competitors start obsessing over your content marketing and wondering your secret. Here’s why consistency is the answer and how to get there.
Your visitors don’t see “consistency” in your content. They just see (hopefully) some amazing content and make a mental note to revisit that website when it appears in the search results again – and again and everywhere else.
Later, they seek that brand’s videos on YouTube, search their blog when they need a trustworthy take, and buy from them when the time is right.
They’ll say things like this to their friends:
“I love this company. They make incredible infographics and helped me figure out how to ___.”
It all started with thoughtful consistency. But what does consistency mean in content in content marketing?
Your brand has a consistent identity you express through content – on multiple levels. You reinforce trust by publishing quality content on a consistent schedule.
Brand recall, audience trust, industry-leading authority, loyal customers – it all starts with consistent content.
As for standing out against the competition, it’s a lot like codependent vs. independent identities in any other relationship.
Constantly looking to someone else for approval, answers, or happiness isn’t healthy. But that’s exactly what happens to your brand when you build your content’s identity around your competition, always striving to be better, slightly different, or one-step ahead.
There’s another way and it starts with consistent content.
You can’t build trust or loyalty without awareness.
Consistency in content marketing ensures you show up in the same keyword searches, across the same platforms, and publish at expected times – all necessary for awareness. Next comes trust.
Who do you trust:
Probably the first. They’re consistent which makes them reliable. That’s why your content needs a consistent quality, voice, and range of topics.
Why bother competing for the same digital space and audience as other brands when you can create your own?
You have a distinct background of knowledge and life experience. Use it to find an audience that relates to you the same way you’d find friends.
For content marketing, this could mean focusing on a specific topic or two. It can mean offering an opinion and skill that no one else brings to a topic. It might also mean finding a new or neglected audience segment for content.
Notice how Zoho and Salesforce target two distinct audiences for their CRM content?
Salesforce wants to reach enterprise audiences or brands with CRM experience but Zoho is approachable and simple for SMBs.
Brands that prioritize consistency in content marketing don’t just reach more people. They also earn engagement from a regular audience of loyal followers.
By offering something different than your competition and creating content for a specific audience, people will feel compelled to follow everything you publish. Plus, a deeper understanding of your audience means you’ll consistently appear in places they hang out online.
Even if some regular visitors don’t convert into customers, they’ll still share your content with people who might and they’ll always speak highly of your brand.
Smart marketers know SEO isn’t about showing up in SERPs for every keyword that slightly relates to their brand. You’d just end up with irrelevant traffic from visitors outside your target audience.
Instead, focus on earning an authoritative presence around the right keywords that relate directly to your products, services, targeted niches, and solutions for pain points.
This strategy lets you dominate the SERPs for those keyword groups. You can show up in Google snippets, image searches, video searches, people also ask snippets, and the top results – like we do at MIG for keywords surrounding “thought leadership.”
With consistent content marketing, you’ll never wonder why your traffic doesn’t translate into better engagement or sales. You’ll show up with relevant solutions in places where your audience is searching for answers.
You can show potential customers what your brand does differently and why they should choose you over competitors at every touchpoint.
This Think with Google example shows how headphone brands had over 375 touchpoint opportunities to engage this customer before he bought something:
B2Bs aren’t much different in that respect. You still have dozens or hundreds of touch points to choose the best ones for promoting your content strategically. This Gartner infographic offers some (albeit unorganized) inspiration.
Consistency in content marketing – on every level – brings a unique identity to your brand. Specifically, a consistent voice and message gives your brand a “personality.”
Your audience can identify with your brand’s personality and relate to it. Content from other brands becomes mostly irrelevant because you can build your own community.
That’s also what you need to establish thought leadership: consistent opinions, authoritative advice, and a familiar voice. Of course, your thought leadership can gradually evolve as your brand and audience grows but overall, stay rooted in consistency.
A consistent brand is a strong brand. Your style, original images, and colors should appear consistently in everything you produce – be it videos, infographics, social media graphics, or content images.
Likewise, consistency in content marketing also applies to integrity. In other words, you should make every piece of content your best with trustworthy sources, in-depth knowledge, and actionable solutions you’d use yourself.
That’s how you build a strong brand with content marketing that always stands out from the competition.
Consistency isn’t something you work out along the way. It’s thoughtful and intentional. You actively plan consistency in your content marketing from the beginning of your strategy.
It all starts with comprehensive research to find your place in the content marketing landscape so you can decide what consistency looks like for your brand’s online identity.
And if something isn’t perfect, you can always scale along the way. Content is flexible like that.
Start by mapping out your areas of expertise.
Where do you have the most education, experience, and knowledge relative to your brand’s products and services? What types of verticals or industries have you worked with the most clients?
This first list should be fairly general.
Next, analyze your competitors and their content. What topics do they cover consistently? Take hints from their blog categories and most used tags. Who do they create content for and what voice do they use?
Dig deeper into your competitions’ content too. What kind of solutions or opinions do they offer? How in-depth is their content? What formats do they use?
Use all this intel to pick an expertise, angle, or audience for content that stands out along with a unique and relatable voice.
Note how Mailchimp could publish on a wide range of topics but chooses these for their areas of expertise:
For their audience, Mailchimp publishes content specifically for small businesses and entrepreneurs:
Your content’s areas of expertise should guide what kind of keywords you’ll use from here on out. This is how you’ll maintain consistency in content marketing with everything you publish.
Instead of targeting a wide range of semi-relevant keywords, the idea is to build consistent authority around specific keyword groups.
For example, you can tell Mailchimp targets how-to keywords that include phrases around building websites, marketing topics, e-commerce, and small businesses:
Let’s see it from another angle. If we type “digital transformation” into Google; HBR, Salesforce, and CIO dominate the top of results – including some of the question snippets.
Most of these websites show up on the first page for every search on digital transformation topics too:
When we run a search for CIO’s articles that mention “digital transformation,” we can see they’ve totally dominated the topic with consistency in content marketing. They even show up in the Top Stories:
Google pays attention to the topics you cover and tries to rank you based on what it thinks is your expertise. You want Google bots along with anyone who arrives at your website to see consistency in content marketing.
If you can’t start fresh, make sure to go through your existing content and audit it:
Run a Google search for your main expertise and you’ll get plenty of inspiration in the search results for topics and semantic keywords:
Start your audit with your top performing blogs along with anything linked in them.
Consistency in content applies to your schedule and formats too. If you publish two podcasts per month, two videos per month, and two blogs each week, that’s what your audience will expect from you.
Use an editorial content calendar to strategize. Your calendar should include:
People also expect your content to appear in consistent places. Narrow down your channels to a few important ones based on where your audience hangs out – like YouTube, specific Twitter hashtags, industry subreddits, and certain blog sites.
A little consistency in content marketing can do wonders for branding and authority in SERPs.
First, you have snippets. Be mindful of your subheadings and the semantic keywords you use consistently. Include a straightforward answer directly under the subheading and use bulleted or numbered lists in your article to increase your chances of earning a spot:
Use original infographics and videos in every blog they fit to give Google a consistent idea of what topics you cover. Optimize all your visuals for relevant keywords in the post.
Plus, it will increase your chances of ranking in image searches and future snippets. Image searches already offer lower competition and visual search is set to take off soon.
Google plans to add more types of snippets – possibly with photos – after the Core Web Vitals update so you can’t go wrong optimizing your images.
Are you happy with your brand’s online identity? Do you feel like people can expect a consistent publishing schedule, series of topics, opinions, and voice from your brand (whether they love or hate it)?
Regardless of where you’re at with your content marketing consistency, you can always regroup or even start totally fresh. Content is flexible and easy to scale for things like this. That’s why it’s so cost-effective.
If you’re feeling a little lost with your content marketing strategy, sign up for our Content Marketing Workshop to analyze your competition, assess your presence, and draft your roadmap forward.