What Did You Just Say?

We’re all looking to differentiate ourselves; it’s essentially a top goal of content marketing.

We’ve all been given the same advice from marketing managers: “stand apart,” “have a cutting edge,” “make a difference”…but how speakingexactly are we living up to these expectations? What is it that enables us to stand apart when compared to the mound of competitors striving to do just the same?

A piece of this puzzle is found in the way we speak.

Let’s say you meet someone new at a party. Of course, you inherently detect the way that individual speaks – noting tone, style and pitch – and immediately form an opinion of the partygoer. This then shapes your overall perception of him or her. You’ll conclude upon hearing the persons’ voice whether he or she is say, snooty or down-to-earth, or insightful or surface level. When we have all of this figured out (which doesn’t take long) we conclude that we’d either like to hear more or move on.

If a few prospective customers met your company at a party, would they be thinking they ought to hear more from you or that they’d rather hear from someone else? Meeting someone is a fleeting experience, and so is the chance to make a good and lasting impression on your customers.

In actuality, you could have plenty of great things to say. You could be a well of knowledge, tips and must-have information that your customers need, but if you’re speaking in a way that isn’t appealing or consistent, then that’s how your brand will look. This is one of the many dangers of inconsistent branding.

Take BuzzFeed, a world full of addicting news stories ranging from hilarious GIFs to crafting to Justin Bieber to the breaking news of Yahoo buying Tumblr. This morning alone, there have been over 25 stories posted to the website – all which were divvied up by a handful of different writers – however, virtually every article you read from the site sounds as if it’s been penned by one ever-present, hilarious entity.

So, how does the company manage to give this constant stream of diverse information a consistent style, message and tone? By keeping consistency top of mind.

Today, we’re all too familiar with the act of wearing many hats. Whether it’s in an hour from now, later today, tomorrow or next month, your manager may ask you to take on your company’s blog, eNewsletter or more – leaving you responsible for speaking to prospects and customers. Even more common today is the act of having many employees contribute to your company’s blog, making a unified and consistent tone, message and brand even more critical.

We all know the age-old expression, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” In the content marketing game, nothing could be more untrue. At the end of the day, strengthening your content marketing strategy means honing in on not only what words you’re saying, but how  you’re saying them.