By Joe Pulizzi published August 3, 2009

Content Consistency and Guinea Pigs

About a month ago, we brought home our first pet…a Guinea Pig that the boys named Phary (pronounced Ferry).

After the initial adjustment week, a routine developed.  The boys would get Phary out of her cage in the morning, and right before bedtime.  As one of us walked over to get Phary out of her cage, she would place herself in the left corner of the cage so we could easily grasp her and carry her out.  All was right with the world.

Last week, the routine changed a little.  There were a few mornings we were gone and couldn’t get to Phary.  There were also a few nights where she didn’t get her “out of cage” playtime.

Understandably, Phary didn’t like this.  This morning when I went to take her out, she didn’t go to her regular spot, and fought me a bit as well as I struggled to take her out of the cage.  As I finally took her over to the play area for the boys, she almost pooped in my hand.  Not pleasant.

We were not consistent with Phary, and she didn’t like it one bit.

Above All, Content Must be Consistent

Naturally, after the “Phary Incident”, I thought about content marketing (but of course). Not that your customers are like Guinea Pigs, but the same behaviors apply.

  • A content marketing initiative, be it a blog, enewsletter or custom magazine, is a promise to your customers. A deviation in the regularity or consistency of the content product is like breaking that promise.
  • Once the promise is broken, you should expect a change in behavior in some of your customers (interesting story on that here). For example, if you have a weekly enewsletter, then suddenly skip a few weeks, your open rates will decrease.  You’ve broken the promise, and they just don’t care as much any more.

So, when you look at your content marketing tactics, put consistency at the very top.  Don’t believe for a second that you can skip an issue here or there and it won’t have a negative impact.

And even while you are thinking that you are still putting out this great content (and so what if it’s not consistent), your customers may just poop in your hand (sorry, couldn’t resist – go to 1:20 of the clip below).

Author: Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi considers himself the poster boy for content marketing. Founder of the Content Marketing Institute , Joe evangelizes content marketing around the world through keynotes, articles, tweets and his books, including best-selling Epic Content Marketing (McGraw-Hill) and the new book, Content Inc. Check out Joe's two podcasts. If you want to get on his good side, send him something orange. For more on Joe, check out his personal site or follow him on Twitter @JoePulizzi.

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  • Lilly Ferrick

    Such basic information, applicable universally and yet, it serves us all well to hear it over, and over. Thanks for the great analogy.

  • Melissa Paulik

    I completely agree. When would-be bloggers ask me what the best frequency is, I tell them to worry more about consistency. I post almost daily but then I am obsessed. If you stick to a weekly schedule, or even a really pithy monthly blog post, that can work really well for a corporate blog.

  • Jenny Pilley

    This is a new take on how consistency can effect your bloggers and it’s a great way of looking at it.
    I for one know the blogs that have recent updates that are news worthy and relevant for what I’m looking for and for this reason I return, normally the same time every day (out of habit). I feel lost if there hasn’t been anything new for a few days but at the same time, always keep checking because I know that the posts that are written are worth reading.

  • bath mate
    I love it !
    I like it !