A holistic view of your content’s, well, content—what you’re saying, how you’re saying it, and whether it’s aligned to your strategy—is the measurement of message consistency. It’s your ability to gauge whether you’re saying what you think you’re saying, and whether all your individual assets make sense when considered as a whole.
Message consistency is important for marketers to measure because consistent messages resonate better and reinforce your brand, creating smoother, more enjoyable customer journeys. It all comes down to customer experience: A recent Salesforce study found that 80% of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services, so subjecting customers to discordant messaging is a risk that could have serious implications.
Customers Aren’t the Only Ones Who Benefit
Better customer experience may be the end goal of message consistency, but getting a handle on aligned production has positive implications for internal teams, too.
Evaluating consistency of message helps marketers see the big picture across teams that may work most productively in silos (like business units or regions), but still need to communicate a cohesive story.
After all, prospects and customers don’t care what team content came from—they care about hearing a consistent story that makes sense at every stage of their journey. By measuring and improving message cohesion, teams don’t have to be reliant on each other—or even work together directly—to know that their separate work fits together as pieces in a bigger puzzle.
Take Action with Confidence
For the most part, content that doesn’t align serves only to detract from your strategy and dilute the impact of your key messages.
Uncovering these pieces allows you to take swift action and be confident in your remediation. Sometimes, unaligned content may need to be scrapped entirely; other times, it may only need refreshing.
Finding outliers also allows you to identify repeat issues of misalignment and better identify the root of the problem. For example, does one business unit continuously produce content that deviates wildly from everyone else’s? This may point to visibility problems, or even suggest flaws in your messaging itself—does it fail to connect to this unit’s needs? What steps will you need to take to get everyone on the same page?
Instead of wondering how—or whether—teams’ content works together, you’ll be able to isolate problems and nip them in the bud.
Reduce Random Acts of Marketing
You spend time crafting a content strategy because it gives purpose and direction to the content you produce. Without it, marketing teams would waste time producing random, ad hoc content that won’t drive the business forward.
The ability to measure how consistently your content speaks to your strategy unlocks your ability to use resources effectively and gain stronger traction on key messages.
How Do We Get Consistent?
With so many factors—and content—to analyze, message consistency can be tricky to measure. Today, there are two key ways we see marketers try to gain visibility into message consistency.
A strongly applied taxonomy is a key part of a robust marketing strategy. It allows marketers a comprehensive view into what they have, who it’s for, and more. When it comes to consistency, effective tagging creates some visibility into what topic, strategy, or voice tags are distributed across your content inventory.
But while a taxonomy allows for some measurability, this method’s success depends on taggers having a deep knowledge of taxonomy application, consistently remembering to tag, doing so with a high degree of integrity, and keeping tags up-to-date. This approach can be very manual, meaning usable visibility is dependent on your team’s diligent governance.
Despite the time required, some marketing teams benefit from a consistency gatekeeper. This individual (or dedicated team) checks every piece of content for voice, message consistency, and alignment to strategy. While messages tend to be more consistent in teams that have this role, this approach is susceptible to risk related to turn-over, difficulty scaling, and the inability to ladder their work and findings to anything quantifiable.
While these manual efforts can start to paint a picture of your message consistency, humans may not be the best ones for the job. In fact, the question of consistency is perfect for machine learning due to its capacity for pattern recognition and extraction. The ability to deduce patterns is something the human brain is pretty good at—but at the scale of an entire content operation, the future of this work will most likely move firmly into the realm of machines.
Building a “One Voice” Mindset
To start thinking about your content operation and its ability to plan, produce, distribute, and measure consistent messaging, here are a few prompts to explore with your team:
- What are the key things (ex. strategy, personas, voice) to which we expect to align?
- What is the strategy from which we want to measure all of our content?
- How aligned are our content pieces aligned to one another? To our defined strategy?
- What are the most common topics we talk about? And are those the topics we want to talk about?
- Where do we deviate most from our message? How often does this occur, why does this occur, and what impact does this have on our prospects and customers?