Ghosting Your Audience: Why Consistency is a Choice

This week on the podcast, we are continuing our coverage of common mistakes established businesses make in and around content planning–and this week we’re talking about consistent content and the huge downfall of not committing to a nurture content plan. Real talk: consistency is a choice. Most will agree the average entrepreneur knows they “should” be doing a lot of things, but established online business owners need to stop “shoulding” all over their content.

Trust is a two-way street, and ghosting your audience will lead to a dead end in that relationship.

Here’s what we cover:
1. How to authentically automate your marketing and build up your trust factor with a nurtured, engaged audience.
2. What are the consequences of ghosting your audience, and how can you build trust and avoid it? 
3. What are the three kinds of consistency you need to nail for successful content marketing?

Highlights in this episode:

[00:00:51] It’s time to stop shoulding all over your content.

[00:01:33] Ghosting your audience does not build trust.

[00:02:43] Marketing is not a one-time event.

[00:06:44] You can moan and groan about content creation or you can do it.

[00:09:42] An example client nurturing content plan

[00:11:16] Crappy content is time-wasting for you, the creator. And it wastes time for your audience, too.

[00:13:10] There’s really no excuse to fall down on content between launches.

Listen to this episode on:

Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | Google Play | Amazon Music | How To Subscribe

Stop “Shoulding” All Over Content

Moaning and groaning about content planning won’t make it go away–it’ll just delay the excellent results you could be receiving by getting strategic.

That means owning:

  • Ghosting during the off-season does not build trust
  • Being consistent is a choice. If you’re not consistent, it’s because you’ve chosen not to be.

Ghosting your audience does not build trust

It wasn’t all that long ago that Black Friday and Cyber Monday passed, and afterwards I made a proud declaration:

I didn’t receive a single email from someone I hadn’t heard from in six or twelve or more months, just because they were having a sale. (I did receive a full blast of sales emails from one particular list I’d definitely unsubscribed from, but that’s another trust-losing story for another day.)

Cheekily, I said this on Facebook, and my friend Dara Sklar replied that it’s probably because I have a healthy attitude about culling my email subscriptions rather than marketers out there actually getting better about this.

She’s probably right.

Ghosting, sadly, is still alive and well in the marketing world.

What is ghosting, and what does it have to do with marketing?

“Ghosting” refers to the act of suddenly and without explanation cutting off all communication and contact with someone.

In a dating relationship, this makes sense. You go on a few dates or get together a few times, and then suddenly… silence. All you get in response is the ghost of what once was, the memories rather than the experience. 

On the marketing flipside, your audience will also feel disrespected, ignored, and hurt. Unlike a romantic relationship, though, they won’t be wondering what went wrong. They’ll assume they know what went wrong: they didn’t buy, and they are no longer valuable to you.

At the very least, they’ll feel unsupported. More likely, it makes it difficult for the audience to trust the business or brand in the future.

Marketing is not a one-time event; you need to be consistently present and engaged with your audience. This means not just marketing when you are launching something new!

Ghosting your audience increases spam reporting

It’s well-known, whenever you change email service providers and mail your list for the first time, you get both a mass of unsubscribes and a mass of spam reportings. This is why most migration services tell you to bring over your most engaged subscribers first, to decrease the chances of this happening.

When I see this happen in my inbox, I have a general rule I follow:

  • If they’re sending out a message that basically says, “Hi, longtime no write, but I’m back and here’s what I’m sharing…” I’ll usually stay subscribed.
  • When the first thing I hear from them in months is, “Buy my hot new thing!” I immediately unsubscribe.

But this isn’t an email-only situation!

The same thing happens on social media when you suddenly start posting again.

If someone hasn’t seen you in ages, doesn’t see a reason why you went dark to begin with, and you’re suddenly selling–it doesn’t feel good.

It feels opportunistic.

All relationships require nurturing, and social media relationships are still social

Relationships take time to build and require nurturing.

Think of it as you would a good girlfriend on the dating scene. Let’s say Gina was seeing a guy, super into him, and he just disappeared on her. Not even a text breakup. In no world would you be proud of that friend if months later, she started gushing about him hitting her up for a booty call–without any explanation of why he ghosted her in the first place.

That’s what ghosting your audience is.

And I don’t think most of the people doing the ghosting out there are doing it on purpose. I think it’s quite by accident, actually, unlike Gina’s paramour. For most, it’s a fail to plan means planning to fail kind of thing. It’s a cliche for a reason!

Consistency is a choice

Consistency is a choice. 

I said what I said!

You can moan and groan about content creation, or you can do it.

You can start reaping the rewards of consistency, or you can ghost your audience and start the trust-building process all over again later–and start it with an uphill battle.

It’s a choice. That doesn’t always mean it’s an easy choice, but it IS a choice.

I kinda feel like this is my fight song, my hill.

The three kinds of consistency

Consistency is a key factor in successful marketing. That means a consistent message, yes, and you probably have that nailed if you’re an established course creator. But it also means consistently showing up–because of course, consistency is a choice.

When you are consistent with your communication and engagement with your audience, you show that you are reliable and dependable. It lets your audience know they can count on you. 

The first time they hop in the car and head to the gym on a Wednesday and see your podcast IS NOT there when they were expecting it, that’s not a death blow. They’re not going to instantly toss you in the burn pile. But it will leave a question dangling out there in the ether–and you can either put that question to bed, or you can let it fester, depending on what you do next.

The first step to consistent content is creating a nurture content plan

I know we’d all love the Staples Easy Button when it comes to creating regular, consistent, effective content. Heck, even I would!

There’s not an easy button. There IS a simple button. It’s called creating a plan.

Look at meal planning. When you meal plan, you save money on both the ingredients you’re buying at the market, and you’re saving time because there’s no decision paralysis. Buy a rotisserie chicken or two at Costco and make it for lunch that day with pitas and hummus, start a soup on the stove for dinner that night, and the leftovers become chicken salad sandwiches another day.

Take the same approach to your content planning–create one main piece of content each week and parcel it out to smaller arenas throughout the rest of the week.

Because I’m an up-both-hills-in-the-snow pro at this, I can already tell you I’ll end up with a solid video clip from this episode about how ghosting in relationships is just like ghosting your audience between launches. I’ll also create a meal planning analogy short-form video with trending audio. And my email will probably reference the Blues Brothers in the subject line–more on that in a moment.

There. This week’s content plan in a few sentences. I know I’ve everything at my fingertips to be consistent this week.

Example content plan for a therapist

One of my clients is a divorce therapist, and she’s moved well beyond the initial evergreen content plan we created for her over a year ago. This week, her content topic is staying grounded during the holiday season. 

Clearly, it’s a timely topic for December!

In the topic, she listed out several things one can do to stay grounded–one of them is sage, and another is a Himalayan salt lamp. She clearly says, “Hey, go put them in your Amazon cart now” to prep for the holidays. It’ll help you sleep easier, which means your anxiety has less room to play.

You know where I’m going with this, right? Those two things alone, let alone the other ten or so she covers in the episode, would both make fantastic little video clips for social media. The email? A teaser, curiosity-invoking subject line could be “The Himalayan secret to surviving Aunt Karen.”

I think, now that I’m looking and peeping into this, she put this topic out prior to Thanksgiving and now using it again for Christmas. Hello, multiplying her efforts! It’s a great way to make sure that her choice is consistency, planning to reuse a topic.

Those ten tips she gave in the podcast? Each could be a story teaser on Instagram with a direct link to the episode for the rest of the tips. She can leave her audience wanting more right there.

Bam, easy content for a week or spread out for a month since it’s holiday-related in this case. Consistency, nailed.

But that doesn’t mean that being consistent with content allows you to just put anything out there!

Does anyone remember the Blues Brothers? My dad used to LOVE them. So despite it clearly not being an appropriate movie for us to see, we watched it a lot.

And I can’t get that one famous line out of my head… “we’re on a mission from God.”

I feel like that sometimes. I feel like I’m on a mission to rid the world of crappy, time-wasting content.

Crappy content is time-wasting for you, the creator, and wasting time for your audience, too.

Let’s get rid of that nonsense and create content that actually does some “work” for you! Otherwise, why are spending all your time creating it anyway?

The third kind of consistency is quality

We’re (that’s the collective me and my clients) doing this by creating an organic, evergreen, and measurable content plan that’s

  1. Effective (actually getting client butts in seats)
  2. Measurable (once you know what works, you can reuse it and *finally* get off the hamster wheel of content creation
  3. Systematized (so you can actually stay consistent with quality, lead-generating, measurable content)

Following consistency in messaging, frequency and quality are ALL easier when you look to build a proven, evergreen content plan for your business.

What to do when you cannot be consistent with content

Now, I’ve done previous episodes on both the myths and methods to repurpose your content and I’ve done a specific episode on how to lean on your evergreen content–so hear my heart when I say I recognize, sometimes we make a good decision personally not to be consistent in our business.

Years ago, while running a different kind of business, my father was in a life-threatening accident and I more or less closed up shop for three weeks to help care for him and be present in the hospital. This was before hospitals had wifi for guests, so it really wasn’t much of a choice. I still made it.

For times like those, take a listen to my evergreen content episode. Crises happen, and your business will suffer if you don’t have a plan in place. I promise.

Outside of an actual crisis, there’s really no excuse to fall down on content between launches. Even in a crisis, if you’ve already done the work, you can keep going close to business as usual.

The final thought here is: trust is a two-way street. Your audience is working on trusting you, believing that you not only know what you’re talking about but that you can help them in their unique situation. You can choose to trust they’re on that path and just didn’t make it to the end yet, or you can give up on them because they didn’t buy… just now. But ghosting them while they’re making that decision effectively ends everything. All they’ll see at that point is a dead end. Is that who you want to be?

Do you need help evergreening your content so you can share effective, nurturing content between launches–and not ghost your audience?

Quotables:

[Tweet “Ghosting your audience will make it difficult for them to trust your business or brand in the future.
– Britney Gardner”]

Resources Mentioned

Music by Michael De La Torre. Thanks, Mikey!

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