That quality is more important than quantity has become a content marketing mantra. But how important is consistency? Is it a myth that consumers expect regular updates from the brands they choose to follow?
Many marketers struggle to prioritise. More channels create new possibilities and even greater expectations. Companies want to be seen and heard everywhere, preferably all the time. Without compromising on quality.
After the whole debate on ”content shock”, most marketers have become used to hearing that quality is always more important than quantity, but that consistency is essential for success. We kill our darlings, choose our activities with care and hopefully put greater focus on quality over quantity. But we don’t compromise on consistency. God forbid!
It’s so deeply ingrained in our perception of content-driven marketing that consistency has a natural place in most definitions of content marketing. But what do we know about different target groups and brands’ needs for consistency?
Is consistency truly necessary?
During the autumn, I had the privilege to teach an ambitious group of marketers content marketing for nine weeks. I taught the content marketing basics, which is based on these five principles:
- Relevant and engaging content
- That meets the needs of the recipient
- That is regularly published in own channels
- With the aim of building an audience and change behaviour
- To reach overall business goals
The third principle, regarding consistency and own channels, is often – and quite rightly so – questioned. Can content marketing be campaign-oriented? What exactly is an own channel? Seen as a basic principle, it’s rather easy to understand.
During the weeks that the course went on, however, we could follow GANT’s launch of Couple Thinkers. According to some, it’s an excellent display of modern content-driven communication, according to others a PR stunt without substance.
If you read my interview with Eleonore Säll and Alexander Nilsson, it’s clear they have a totally different outlook on consistency than what has long been held in content marketing circles. They see Couple Thinkers as a part of a bigger picture, as an expression for the phrase ”Never Stop Learning”. They don’t reveal what the next part of that story will be, but it’s obvious the TV show consisted of six episodes. Period.
Maybe there’ll be another season? Or a podcast? Or an event? Maybe something completely different. In the interview, Eleonore Säll, global marketing manager at GANT says that:
”Those who have watched the TV show will meet us in other places. Both physically and digitally. We must see and understand the people who consume our content, and realise that they can meet GANT on many different platforms, at different times. Everything must be connected, and everything must be underpinned by our basic philosophy and ‘Never Stop Learning’”.
It’s clear neither the channel nor the format requires consistency for GANT. And without the hindsight, no one can tell them they’re doing it wrong.
Pedagogically speaking – back in the classroom with the ambitious students – GANT’s big TV show becomes the exception that confirms the rule. And there are many of them.
Is the demand for consistency excessive?
Content marketing is more often seen as a complement to, and an important support of, the campaign work that most companies do. Content published in own channels, with the aim to give the recipient added value, becomes the glue that keeps all types of communication together.
But maybe we’re too nit-picky when we claim that our consumers expect regular communication. Maybe we think too highly of ourselves when we imagine that our audience will suffer from a raging abstinence if our newsletter gets postponed a week, or if our podcast takes a break over the Christmas holidays.
And if we create high-quality content, it might even be the other way around. Audiences will wait, anticipate, and discuss it while waiting for the next article, movie or season. Just like we do with Game of Thrones, Serial and Harry Potter. It could be that GANT and Couple Thinkers are creating a new solution about how subject-driven, brand-building communication will look in the future?
I don’t know. And those who do, feel free to publish the answer.
While waiting for that, I hope more companies dare to compromise with principles, create their own universe, and deliver high-quality content without excessive demands for consistency.
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