Stop Confusing Your Audience - The Content Experiment

Stop Confusing Your Audience

My sister (L) and me in 1990 (approx). Channeling Miami Vice, maybe?

Have you ever looked through old family photos and thought, “I wore that!?” or, “What was Mom thinking when she let me get that hairstyle?”

But that was the style back then! I mean, just check out these gems from my childhood. (Who’s cool now!? Don’t be jealous.)

We dress in a way that shows the world who we are and what our style is. And we do the same thing with our words. Your words (and the way you put them on the page) tell the world who you are—what’s important to you, what you value and what you can offer to your audience.

And when you’re not consistent in your style, you can confuse your audience and turn them off. Last week we talked about refining your writing style and I noted that it’s okay to grow and tweak as a writer. And it is. But when we’re not consistent from post to post, week after week, our audience will get turned off.

Think about differences in your mood from day to day. For me, I tend to get a little moody when I haven’t gone for a run a few days in a row. A different tone is set when I go out for a drink with my friends than a lunch date with my 14-year-old daughter.

This is natural, because we’re talking about two totally different audiences. But when we’re talking to the same people—our ideal clients—we need to be consistent in our message and our delivery.

Making a shift and focusing on consistency can bring huge rewards in your business. But it can be tough to do.

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Here are some of the biggest inconsistencies I see with my clients and on others’ websites and social posts. Think about how these relate to your own writing style and check out my Do’s and Don’ts of Messaging worksheet to use as a cheat sheet when you’re writing your next blog post.

Overall Style

Consistency in style is important to your brand, just like consistency in the colors you use is part of your brand. A style guide can help you develop your style and stick with it as your business grows and develops, even as others may be pitching in to do some of the writing for you.

Your Tone

Your audience is attracted to you because of the message you’re delivering. Whether you want them to see you as an expert or a peer, the content you deliver should speak with the same tone—no matter where it’s published.

My sixth grade yearbook photo. That hairstyle’s a keeper!

Your Cadence

If your content is valuable, your audience will look forward to it. But if you suddenly drop off the face of the earth and stop publishing, they’ll take notice. Find a publishing rhythm that works for you and stick with it.

Word Use and Conventions

The words you use and how you use them help to set the tone for your writing. And even though it’s okay to toss some of those old writing rules out the window, there’s something to be said for having a general grasp of the English language. Nothing says “unprofessional” more than misusing some of the most basic grammar rules (your vs. you’re, for example). If you’re unsure, hire a copyeditor to help you out.

Without the use of some of these messaging tools, you may confuse your audience into thinking your business has changed or someone else is calling the shots. Need help getting consistent? Download my Do’s and Don’ts of Messaging worksheet and pull it out whenever you pull out the keyboard. Or reach out for a Quick Chat and let’s see how I can help you out!

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