Consistency Builds Trust

Consistency builds trust.

Maybe you’ve got a friend who can’t be relied on to meet their commitments. Or you have a supplier who sometimes makes their deadlines and others times misses them. Or perhaps at some point you’ve subscribed to a service that promised a weekly delivery but it often slipped out to 10 days or more.

This inconsistency in behaviour makes it harder to trust the future behaviour of those people or businesses.

Now I want you to think about the people and businesses in your life right now who are always on time, always come through when they’ve promised you something and always stay true to their schedules.

When you compare how you feel about this latter group in contrast with the earlier group, I am presuming it’s pretty clear. You feel you can rely on them. You can count on them. In short, you can TRUST them.

So, which of those two groups would you go to if you really needed help?

And, now for the really important question… if I were to ask YOUR clients… which of the above two groups would they put YOU in?

Consistently creating content your audience finds valuable and that they can rely on is one of the best and most effective ways to position yourself as an authority in your industry. It can be tempting to follow every “bright shiny object” – trying to post on every platform and follow every strategy. But that’s a really quick way to burn yourself out and be very ad hoc with your content!

Instead, you will get more results if you can focus on one or two key channels and maintain consistency. Doing this you can become known as a trusted thought leader – someone your audience listens to and wants to buy from.

Here are three ways you can be more consistent in your marketing and communications to make sure you are always the person your customer goes to when they need help:

1. Your Tone of Voice

Find your voice and style and maintain it. People need to know who you are in order to trust you and you can make that hard for them if you are the tough talking entrepreneur one day and then the personal development peace and love hippie the next.

When it comes to finding your tone of voice, I suggest you look at 3 crucial factors:

  1. How do YOU want to be perceived? If you have a wicked sense of humour and it’s how you love to communicate, then don’t feel like you have to hide that when you communicate with your clients and prospects. Find a way to share that humour in a way that is appropriate and helps you stand out from the pack when you write your blog posts, or record your videos or put your sales page together.  Someone who does an awesome job bringing their own personality in a really powerful way to their business communications is Marie Forleo.
  2. How does YOUR AUDIENCE want to be communicated with? If you have a young, energetic audience who sees themselves as “rebels” and “mavericks” then you need to find a tone of voice that is authentic to you AND that will resonate with your audience. There’s no point sounding like an obtuse conservative academic if you’re trying to reach rule-breaking entrepreneurs.  So, even if you’ve read point 1 above and decided you’re going to bring your comedic genius / enthusiasm / dry wit / or your sassy self to your content, make sure it’s going to land with your audience. That doesn’t mean point 2 trumps point 1… it just means you need to get strategic about it. If you are a conservative academic trying to reach maverick entrepreneurs, look for the common ground. In this case, it could be that you become the “translator” for entrepreneurs, giving them a “Cliff notes” style interpretation of academic findings that are relevant to them… and that they’d never read if they had to get through all the academic jargon.
  3. Where is the ZIG when everyone is ZAGGING? If you end up sounding like everyone else in your industry, even if you are being authentic, it’s likely you’ll be shouting in a vacuum. So, how can you combine your authentic style with an approach your audience hasn’t already seen a million times?

If you outsource some of your writing, be sure your subcontractors can imitate your style well. I suggest creating a style guide containing key pieces of content that really represent your voice and ensure any new content creators are familiarised with this guide (and ALWAYS check their work for consistency of voice before it is published).

2. Your Timing and Schedule

So, your newsletter goes out every Tuesday at 11.00am… it’s 10:50am and the content isn’t finalised… what does your office look like? A screaming, scrambling flurry of activity focused intently on meeting your 11am deadline? Or has a casual, “we’ll get it out when we can” air descended?

A friend once told me that she likes to think of her content schedule like a newspaper thinks of their publication deadline… you just don’t break it. She holds firm to the exact time and date of her content schedule, even if that means she is doing some last minute scrambling to make it.

And this kind of reliable consistency speaks volumes for your audience about your reliability.

If you’ve over-committed and you find you’re not meeting your publications deadlines, I suggest you either re-engineer your resources and priorities to make sure you CAN meet those commitments OR if you can’t, I blieve it’s better to pull back and let your customers know that you’re publishing less frequently.

Timing can also be about being in touch regularly. Only emailing when you have a sale or offer is likely to appear as inconsistent and insincere to your readers. You want to be regularly valuable to your audience, so that when you do have a sale or want to make an offer the deposits in the trust bank account are high.

3. Your Formatting and Visual Style

The way your content looks matters and inconsistencies here may be some of the most obvious and costly for you.

I recommend you choose consistent fonts, colours and layouts for all your communications. This will help your audience easily identify your messages and is what will separate you from the pack.

For example, if you send a regular email newsletter, give it a consistent header design, have a style sheet and template for fonts, article positions etc.

If you send regular emails, always have a P.S. and always include a link to your call to action in the P.S.

Your consistency speaks volumes about your product or service… it’s like that wonderful Emerson quote says, “Who you are speaks so loudly I can’t hear what you’re saying.”

If you’d like assistance with creating more consistent content marketing communications, you can email me here.

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