Since 2009, the Magellan Media site has added almost 1,100 posts about publishing, content marketing, startups and funding. The most common question I hear: “How do you do it?” The second-most common question: “How often do you need to post?”
Michele Linn, posting on the Content Marketing Institute blog, says that consistency matters, but not equally across all formats. She names four content formats that work only when you update them on a consistent basis. These include:
On a gut level, this list makes a lot of sense. While there may be evergreen content that gets a lot of traffic, people visit a blog because it addresses current topics. Search engines also tend to favor sites whose content is updated on a regular basis.
A similar case can be made for “packaged” content – newsletters, podcasts and magazines. At a minimum, a monthly newsletter – we just started one – represents a way to put a controlled message in front of a curated audience. Showing up once a year or publish erratically won’t carry the day.
Because podcasts are difficult to skim quickly, creating and releasing them on a consistent schedule helps teach audiences what to expect. In turn, good podcasts build word of mouth – a look at the Copyright Clearance Center’s “Beyond The Book” podcast series, hosted by Chris Kenneally, shows how consistency can grow an audience.
In her post, Linn offered two other lists. One identifies six formats for which “consistency is helpful but not required”. The other names seven other vehicles for which “consistency is not critical”.
Two of the formats on the “not critical” list – in-person events and books – surprised me a bit. At the least, consistency is helpful for both, and I have made the argument that regularly updating content and publishing it in book formats builds audience awareness, trial and referral.
As well, events are often useful in framing the formats for which consistency is helpful. Videos, online presentations and webinars can be spun out of in-person events. Content creation is aided when those source events are somewhat predictable.
Of course, unique audience characteristics and expectations challenge even the best rules of thumb. Both from our experience and Linn’s post, we have learned that there are certainly content types for which consistent content creation matters. Good content marketers should know and plan to consistently support the formats that their target audiences value.