6 essential steps to maintaining a loyal audience
Opinions

Audience loyalty. It’s influential, profitable and symbiotic. But it’s also amorphous. Reiterative content may, on the one hand, sustain a loyal following. On the other, it might alienate those less inclined to familiarity. Reinvention might be vital for a brand’s survival, but it could also be fatal.

Consumer loyalty is elusive and, at times, infuriatingly ephemeral. However, exceptional content can all but ensure fidelity. But how do we produce such content? Here are six essential steps to captivating that faithful following.

1. Create concise content

Less is more. Your content, whether short-form or long-form, artistic or linguistic, should be succinct. The most effective language is efficiently expressive. The same applies to graphic design. A single image, when designed correctly, can convey more than a thousand words. Compelling content will keep consumers coming back for more.

2. Specialisation is key

Know your audience. Every sentence and every word should conform to a specific subject. Try to imagine your audience as an individual. Give them distinct characteristics. Do they crave entertainment or information? Familiarity or originality? What are their likes and dislikes? We all have quirks and complexities, and your audience will appreciate having them addressed directly. It’s also important that you specialise your content to suit multiple devices. It would be a shame to lose potential consumers to something as simple as functionality.

3. Respect rhetoric

“In advertising, there’s no such thing as a lie. There’s only expedient exaggeration.” So says Cary Grant in Alfred Hitchcock’s North By Northwest.

Rhetoric is a powerful tool, but it’s also corruptive. Don’t be afraid to exercise eloquence but never, ever fall foul of circumlocution. Don’t fabricate an authorial identity, either. Your audience is perceptive and they’ll pick up on insincerity, so just be yourself. Remember; the best content is honest content. Don’t manipulate and, for the love of Marx, don’t be sensationalistic. Just remember and revere the five canons of rhetoric: invention, arrangement, style, memory and delivery.

4. Educate, inform and entertain

The media industry has grown less reliant on vanity metrics in recent years. According to Alexis Anderson, PureWow Director of Marketing, audience engagement has now superseded traffic, “Size doesn’t matter much to us any more,” she says. “It’s very much about the perceived quality of the audience.” Therefore, any and all content should be of a consistently high quality. Always aspire to produce something that you yourself would find engaging, regardless of whether or not the subject interests you. We all share an insatiable appetite for content – constructive content, especially. It can educate, inform and entertain, but these qualities don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Learn how to assimilate all three.

5. Me, myself and (RO)I

All content comes at a cost. ‘Free’ content still demands time, so always try to justify the investment. Time is money, after all.

6. Adapt and overcome

It’s essential that your content develops. It’s tempting to reiterate and repurpose once you’ve gathered a following, but evolving content will sustain expanded interest. Try to keep things fresh while also remaining faithful to your original audience. Familiarity breeds contempt, so don’t refrain from shaking things up a bit.