Is your corporate content consistent? And if not, does it even matter?
At Language Jem we place a strong focus on consistency to deliver a great customer experience through high-quality English content. In fact, we are really quite particular about it. Copywriting is a creative art and adding in variation helps with maintaining interest, good flow and bringing a text alive. But some things about a business need to be communicated consistently.
So, what impact does inconsistent content have on potential users and existing customers?
Ambiguous content leaves your message open to misinterpretation. Unnecessary variation in key areas can send a contradictory message which is at odds with itself. A lack of continuity and conflicting information makes content unclear and can be confusing, or worse still misleading.
Misunderstandings can lead to increased contact with customer support and the cost implications that come with that, and perhaps even legal issues.
Damage to your brand. Incoherent, incohesive and incongruous content can be detrimental to the impression given by your brand and how your business is perceived, and could harm your credibility.
Sloppy content can translate to sloppy products/services. If you don’t seem to care about the quality of your content this can be interpreted as you not caring about the quality of the products and services you offer.
Brand identity crisis. A diluted brand voice sounds disjointed and loses its impact. If you don’t even know who you are, how can others identify and engage with your business?
Distraction not action. If your customers’ focus is distracted by mismatched, unclear content they are less likely to take up a call to action.
How does inconsistency creep in?
• Content is produced by lots of different people, in separate content teams and departments, each with their own individual style and goals.
• Content is produced by non-content professionals.
• Lack of content strategy for updates and audits. Perhaps a company is undergoing or has recently completed a rebrand, digital transformation or term renaming exercise and not all content assets have been brought up-to-date.
• English is a rich language with a large and flexible vocabulary. With so many words to choose from, it’s hard to pick the right ones, and then stick with them.
Inconsistency breeds inconsistency. The more there is, the harder it becomes to find the correct foundation and pattern for new content. But you can put your content to work for you, not against you, by making it consistent.
Here are 3 fixes you can use to build consistency in your content:
Use skilled, professional and experienced writers and editors with a great concentration span and a super-sharp eye for detail. You can outsource to a specialist agency or opt to develop your in-house skill set through bespoke training and workshops.
Write the Rulebook
Get everyone literally on the same page with reference documentation and manuals to establish and enforce content consistency across the board:
Brand Voice & Tone Guidelines
Documents how you speak to your customers and how your brand values and identity are embodied in your communications.
Lays out the in-house style rules of your company for the format of things like: dates, lists, numbers, dates, currencies, capitalisation, footnotes, headlines etc.
A list or database of all the words and terms that matter most to your business, and notes on how to use them accurately and consistently to improve communication.
Larger companies may find they benefit from a cross-functional governance panel who get together to set standards and patterns as a collaborative effort.
Automate with language technology quality assurance tools that support human writers to remove human error.
Consistent content gives an authentic impression of your business and helps you to:
o Start a meaningful conversation with your customer
o Foster customer engagement and loyalty
o Communicate your value clearly and effectively
o Stand out from the crowd and competitors
o Attract like-minded staff
o Strengthen and unify your brand
o Reach more of the right kind of customers
o Improve user experience
o Build customer relationships, credibility and trust
o Open doors to new audiences
If any of this sounds familiar and you need help to make your business’s content more consistent, then please get in touch with Language Jem. We will work with you:
• to create, transform or consolidate reference documentation such as style guides, glossaries, and brand voice and tone guidelines, and to set up governance;
• to organise a bespoke practical skills workshop on Brand Voice & Tone, Accurate English and/or Terminology Management;
• to set up and train your team on cutting-edge content QA tools, such as Acrolinx.