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Consistent content - why it's important and how to maintain quality standards

Consistent content - why it's important and how to maintain quality standards

Consistent content - why it's important and how to maintain quality standards

Consistent content - why it's important and how to maintain quality standards

Fi Shailes

Senior social media marketer and content writer

You might think you’re already being perfectly diligent in how you create and construct your content to ensure it’s consistent, but take a closer look - is there something you can spot with ‘fresh eyes’ when looking back on recent content you published such as articles, landing pages, social media posts (or any other formats)?

Sometimes we all get caught out. Even brands we wouldn’t necessarily expect to ever put a foot wrong.

Here’s an example of something that happened to me very recently. I spotted a LinkedIn ad from a brand that I respect and admire. I was used to seeing their content on various channels - but this time, something I saw in their ad unexpectedly jarred with me. 

I reread the ad several times and realised - yes - it was the way they’d positioned something in their messaging. It came across to me (a member of their target audience) as a little insensitive and perhaps even ill-timed in the context of being in a global pandemic. 

Their content was unusually ‘off’ this time, and it was inconsistent with other experiences I’d had with their brand.

I was strangely compelled to call them out on it (using Twitter of course), and to their credit, the organisation in question came back to me immediately.

Thank you for bringing it to our attention. This is an oversight and definitely not how we'd like to position ourselves. We're removing the ad campaign now.

It highlights the fact that, big or small, every organisation can get things wrong with their content. Someone there just didn’t see what I could see

Perhaps it’s because content creators (and marketers in general) have many boxes to tick when it comes to maintaining quality standards and consistency. For many, there is also a requirement to be producing high-volumes of content too. So it’s doubtless quite easy to miss the odd thing here and there. 

When we talk about ‘consistency’ and ‘content’ there are many forms that ‘being consistent’ can take; everything from the tone of voice you use when you write to how a finished piece is formatted when it’s published online, or even in offline formats like a sales brochure or offer flyer.

Consistency alone isn’t the only goal for creating good content of course. Ultimately, your content has to jump multiple hurdles in order to meet business goals and user needs - BUT consistency is important in relation to building and maintaining brand personality and presence.

How consistent is your brand’s content, really?  


As digital consumers, we become used to how certain brands try to engage with us on the channels we’re active on. During that first set of exposures to their content (apparently it typically takes 5 to 7 impressions for people to start remembering your brand), we start to become familiar with things like their messaging, their visual style, and the language and tone of voice they use to talk to us with. 

It’s a transient process, which by and large, we as the audience don’t consciously notice.

What’s at stake if your content is inconsistent? 

“Quite a lot” is the short answer. Inconsistent content can contribute to or directly damage:

  • trust in your brand
  • your brand’s reputation
  • levels of loyalty from customers and fans
  • your brand’s ability to turn existing customers into passionate brand advocates

Mistakes and misfires in your content speaks volumes about your organisation, and can leave your audience feeling lost, confused or as in the situation I described above, disgruntled. In other words, it can negatively impact any consideration or decision to interact or ‘do business’. 

There’s plenty of research to back this up. One report by LucidPress states that 25.7% of organisations strongly believe that brand consistency substantially contributed to their overall revenue growth. It means that getting consistency right can reap big rewards.

Consistent content - strategies for creating and maintaining quality content

Here are some strategies you can try to have confidence that the content you create really holds its own, in the consistency stakes.

1. Use a content calendar to plan your content

Ok. I admit that, in the past, I’ve not been the biggest champion for content calendars - mainly due to my own experiences. Essentially, I’ve always disagreed with anyone touting them as some kind of ‘catch all’ solution, however, I do think that this kind of tool has a place in your content creator armoury.

Looking ahead to the next quarter, half year, or even year, spending some time on properly devising and ‘plotting in’ your content upfront is a good move. And of course, keeping all of these plans in some kind of structured document or tool, means that you can refer to it. 

By working in this way, you can better ensure that:

  • the content items you develop lead into each other well and are strategically scheduled for release
  • your content is as aligned as possible with your organisation or client’s business objectives
  • the right content is created for the intended end audience
  • you avoid diluting certain brand elements such as your messaging (i.e. through creating too much content on an ad-hoc basis) 

One caveat associated with content calendars is that things are subject to change.  You’ll probably need to be reactive to any market or industry developments, sudden changes in business objectives, or even the odd stakeholder changing their mind about something at the last minute. You’d expect to be flexible for those eventualities – and that goes for your calendar too.

2. Develop writing guidelines for your brand

There’s consistency to be found in the way you speak to people, but also the way you present certain language elements - such as how you use capital letters, write a date, or refer to people’s job titles or organisations. And let’s not forget the importance of good grammar too!

It never fails to amaze me when I hear of organisations or clients that have beautiful branding guidelines - oh yes, they have those - but nothing around content. 

That means that there’s no proper guidance around things like:

  • tone of voice
  • how to use of technical language
  • how to write about people and organisations
  • general guidelines around grammar and punctuation
  • accessibility and readability

Writing guidelines are an important reference for any organisation trying to build and maintain a brand, because, without them, any content you’re creating and publishing carries a heightened risk of mistakes and consistency errors. 

This is especially true if your resource for content production extends to beyond your marketing department - so internal subject matter experts, members of senior management and even guest contributors. 

In their publicly available tone of voice guidelines, The University of Leeds specifically include why consistency is important for their content and brand. The guidelines state:

Consistency is everything.
The more consistent we are, the more likely it is that people will understand what makes us special. The way we express ourselves has to be joined up and consistent so that people admire, respect and, crucially, trust us. It’s no good saying we’re imaginative if our language is anything but. So we need a strong verbal identity that we all understand and know how to use.

Having the proper protocol in place can also help to stamp out the temptation for someone, somewhere to create ‘rogue’ content - aka content which flies in the face of all the good work you’re putting in to keep the sum of your content consistent. 

Piechart from LucidPress’ The State of Brand Consistency 2020 research report showing that in response to the question has anyone at your organization created off-brand content in the past year? the responses were 61% yes and 39% no.


Above: From LucidPress’ The State of Brand Consistency 2020 research report

All of those potential slip-ups are preventable when you’ve got a proper writing guide in place. And if you want some inspiration, take a look at Mailchimp’s positively exemplarily example of a good writing guide. GatherContent have previously published a detailed analysis of the Mailchimp style guide.

I personally love everything Mailchimp does with their content anyway, but from a writing guide point of view, they really have tried to cover all bases in this interactive digital document. 

It’s a guide which goes above and beyond, and because it’s not a static PDF, content creators can search for specific things more easily. It's also available under Creative Commons Licence to others to use as a basis for their own guidelines. Brilliant.

Extract from Mailchimp’s Content Style Guide which is publicly available under Creative Commons Licence to others to use as a basis for their own guidelines.


3. Consider creating a quick consistency checklist

Many content creators intuitively know what makes a good quality piece of content of course, but when you’ve got all those new pieces in a queue to be produced, there’s nothing wrong with a little due diligence to make sure any inconsistencies are ironed out at drafting stage.

A quick checklist can act as a good safety net for writers who’ve been so ingrained in the detail of writing and editing their content that instances of repetition, spelling errors or clumsy grammar are more than possible. Here's an example checklist from Vertical Measures.

An example of a content quality checklist from Vertical Meaures.


4. Never forget who you’re creating content for

Keep asking yourself about who you are trying to attract. It’s hard sometimes to keep a focus on this when you’re in this constant cycle of content production, but it’s important to keep actively evaluating and checking you’ve pitched your content at the right people, whilst you’re in the flow of writing. 

It sounds clichéd, I’m sure, but I always try to imagine I’m the end reader when I’m writing. 

I’m doing it now, with this article. 

It allows you to be more ‘intentional’ with what you’re saying. 

This can serve to strengthen your brand, as people appreciate that you’re creating valuable and useful content specifically for them. You know your audience, and you know them well.

‘Consistency’: a watchword for 2021 and beyond

Things which may seem like ‘little mistakes’ in isolation, do matter when it comes to maintaining the consistency of your brand. 

This year, it looks like we’re set to continue creating even more content, with 70% of organisations expecting to inject further investment into their content creation resource during 2021. 

The backdrop to all of this of course, is that we’ve embarked on another pandemic-ridden year. Amongst all the worry, misinformation and fake news floating about, brands will have to work even harder to prove themselves reliable and worthy to their prospects and customers, whilst trying to maintain any trust and credibility they’ve accumulated to date.

So whether it’s a social post, a piece of gated content (like a report or white paper), or a paid article placement with a content partner, ensuring that your content is consistent is going to stand you, and your employer/client’s brand in good stead. Your content strategy should always plan for, and take this into account. It really is the nitty gritty as well as the big picture stuff you need to keep an eye on.

I know it’s not always roses in the garden for us content creators too. Sometimes politics and personalities can get in the way of your attempts to maintain quality aspects such as consistency. But just try your best to navigate around these proverbial potholes, and keep tunnelling your way through to what you think (and deep down, know) will work best for your end readers. 

I don’t have to tell you that the end results will be worth it.

You might think you’re already being perfectly diligent in how you create and construct your content to ensure it’s consistent, but take a closer look - is there something you can spot with ‘fresh eyes’ when looking back on recent content you published such as articles, landing pages, social media posts (or any other formats)?

Sometimes we all get caught out. Even brands we wouldn’t necessarily expect to ever put a foot wrong.

Here’s an example of something that happened to me very recently. I spotted a LinkedIn ad from a brand that I respect and admire. I was used to seeing their content on various channels - but this time, something I saw in their ad unexpectedly jarred with me. 

I reread the ad several times and realised - yes - it was the way they’d positioned something in their messaging. It came across to me (a member of their target audience) as a little insensitive and perhaps even ill-timed in the context of being in a global pandemic. 

Their content was unusually ‘off’ this time, and it was inconsistent with other experiences I’d had with their brand.

I was strangely compelled to call them out on it (using Twitter of course), and to their credit, the organisation in question came back to me immediately.

Thank you for bringing it to our attention. This is an oversight and definitely not how we'd like to position ourselves. We're removing the ad campaign now.

It highlights the fact that, big or small, every organisation can get things wrong with their content. Someone there just didn’t see what I could see

Perhaps it’s because content creators (and marketers in general) have many boxes to tick when it comes to maintaining quality standards and consistency. For many, there is also a requirement to be producing high-volumes of content too. So it’s doubtless quite easy to miss the odd thing here and there. 

When we talk about ‘consistency’ and ‘content’ there are many forms that ‘being consistent’ can take; everything from the tone of voice you use when you write to how a finished piece is formatted when it’s published online, or even in offline formats like a sales brochure or offer flyer.

Consistency alone isn’t the only goal for creating good content of course. Ultimately, your content has to jump multiple hurdles in order to meet business goals and user needs - BUT consistency is important in relation to building and maintaining brand personality and presence.

How consistent is your brand’s content, really?  


As digital consumers, we become used to how certain brands try to engage with us on the channels we’re active on. During that first set of exposures to their content (apparently it typically takes 5 to 7 impressions for people to start remembering your brand), we start to become familiar with things like their messaging, their visual style, and the language and tone of voice they use to talk to us with. 

It’s a transient process, which by and large, we as the audience don’t consciously notice.

What’s at stake if your content is inconsistent? 

“Quite a lot” is the short answer. Inconsistent content can contribute to or directly damage:

  • trust in your brand
  • your brand’s reputation
  • levels of loyalty from customers and fans
  • your brand’s ability to turn existing customers into passionate brand advocates

Mistakes and misfires in your content speaks volumes about your organisation, and can leave your audience feeling lost, confused or as in the situation I described above, disgruntled. In other words, it can negatively impact any consideration or decision to interact or ‘do business’. 

There’s plenty of research to back this up. One report by LucidPress states that 25.7% of organisations strongly believe that brand consistency substantially contributed to their overall revenue growth. It means that getting consistency right can reap big rewards.

Consistent content - strategies for creating and maintaining quality content

Here are some strategies you can try to have confidence that the content you create really holds its own, in the consistency stakes.

1. Use a content calendar to plan your content

Ok. I admit that, in the past, I’ve not been the biggest champion for content calendars - mainly due to my own experiences. Essentially, I’ve always disagreed with anyone touting them as some kind of ‘catch all’ solution, however, I do think that this kind of tool has a place in your content creator armoury.

Looking ahead to the next quarter, half year, or even year, spending some time on properly devising and ‘plotting in’ your content upfront is a good move. And of course, keeping all of these plans in some kind of structured document or tool, means that you can refer to it. 

By working in this way, you can better ensure that:

  • the content items you develop lead into each other well and are strategically scheduled for release
  • your content is as aligned as possible with your organisation or client’s business objectives
  • the right content is created for the intended end audience
  • you avoid diluting certain brand elements such as your messaging (i.e. through creating too much content on an ad-hoc basis) 

One caveat associated with content calendars is that things are subject to change.  You’ll probably need to be reactive to any market or industry developments, sudden changes in business objectives, or even the odd stakeholder changing their mind about something at the last minute. You’d expect to be flexible for those eventualities – and that goes for your calendar too.

2. Develop writing guidelines for your brand

There’s consistency to be found in the way you speak to people, but also the way you present certain language elements - such as how you use capital letters, write a date, or refer to people’s job titles or organisations. And let’s not forget the importance of good grammar too!

It never fails to amaze me when I hear of organisations or clients that have beautiful branding guidelines - oh yes, they have those - but nothing around content. 

That means that there’s no proper guidance around things like:

  • tone of voice
  • how to use of technical language
  • how to write about people and organisations
  • general guidelines around grammar and punctuation
  • accessibility and readability

Writing guidelines are an important reference for any organisation trying to build and maintain a brand, because, without them, any content you’re creating and publishing carries a heightened risk of mistakes and consistency errors. 

This is especially true if your resource for content production extends to beyond your marketing department - so internal subject matter experts, members of senior management and even guest contributors. 

In their publicly available tone of voice guidelines, The University of Leeds specifically include why consistency is important for their content and brand. The guidelines state:

Consistency is everything.
The more consistent we are, the more likely it is that people will understand what makes us special. The way we express ourselves has to be joined up and consistent so that people admire, respect and, crucially, trust us. It’s no good saying we’re imaginative if our language is anything but. So we need a strong verbal identity that we all understand and know how to use.

Having the proper protocol in place can also help to stamp out the temptation for someone, somewhere to create ‘rogue’ content - aka content which flies in the face of all the good work you’re putting in to keep the sum of your content consistent. 

Piechart from LucidPress’ The State of Brand Consistency 2020 research report showing that in response to the question has anyone at your organization created off-brand content in the past year? the responses were 61% yes and 39% no.


Above: From LucidPress’ The State of Brand Consistency 2020 research report

All of those potential slip-ups are preventable when you’ve got a proper writing guide in place. And if you want some inspiration, take a look at Mailchimp’s positively exemplarily example of a good writing guide. GatherContent have previously published a detailed analysis of the Mailchimp style guide.

I personally love everything Mailchimp does with their content anyway, but from a writing guide point of view, they really have tried to cover all bases in this interactive digital document. 

It’s a guide which goes above and beyond, and because it’s not a static PDF, content creators can search for specific things more easily. It's also available under Creative Commons Licence to others to use as a basis for their own guidelines. Brilliant.

Extract from Mailchimp’s Content Style Guide which is publicly available under Creative Commons Licence to others to use as a basis for their own guidelines.


3. Consider creating a quick consistency checklist

Many content creators intuitively know what makes a good quality piece of content of course, but when you’ve got all those new pieces in a queue to be produced, there’s nothing wrong with a little due diligence to make sure any inconsistencies are ironed out at drafting stage.

A quick checklist can act as a good safety net for writers who’ve been so ingrained in the detail of writing and editing their content that instances of repetition, spelling errors or clumsy grammar are more than possible. Here's an example checklist from Vertical Measures.

An example of a content quality checklist from Vertical Meaures.


4. Never forget who you’re creating content for

Keep asking yourself about who you are trying to attract. It’s hard sometimes to keep a focus on this when you’re in this constant cycle of content production, but it’s important to keep actively evaluating and checking you’ve pitched your content at the right people, whilst you’re in the flow of writing. 

It sounds clichéd, I’m sure, but I always try to imagine I’m the end reader when I’m writing. 

I’m doing it now, with this article. 

It allows you to be more ‘intentional’ with what you’re saying. 

This can serve to strengthen your brand, as people appreciate that you’re creating valuable and useful content specifically for them. You know your audience, and you know them well.

‘Consistency’: a watchword for 2021 and beyond

Things which may seem like ‘little mistakes’ in isolation, do matter when it comes to maintaining the consistency of your brand. 

This year, it looks like we’re set to continue creating even more content, with 70% of organisations expecting to inject further investment into their content creation resource during 2021. 

The backdrop to all of this of course, is that we’ve embarked on another pandemic-ridden year. Amongst all the worry, misinformation and fake news floating about, brands will have to work even harder to prove themselves reliable and worthy to their prospects and customers, whilst trying to maintain any trust and credibility they’ve accumulated to date.

So whether it’s a social post, a piece of gated content (like a report or white paper), or a paid article placement with a content partner, ensuring that your content is consistent is going to stand you, and your employer/client’s brand in good stead. Your content strategy should always plan for, and take this into account. It really is the nitty gritty as well as the big picture stuff you need to keep an eye on.

I know it’s not always roses in the garden for us content creators too. Sometimes politics and personalities can get in the way of your attempts to maintain quality aspects such as consistency. But just try your best to navigate around these proverbial potholes, and keep tunnelling your way through to what you think (and deep down, know) will work best for your end readers. 

I don’t have to tell you that the end results will be worth it.

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About the author

Fi Shailes

Fi works at digital agency twogether as a Social Strategist. She specialises in all things social and content, and freelances part-time at Digital Drum.

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