Consistency is often the basis for success and results in most fields. Training regularly and consistently makes you a better athlete, doing a little practice every day will eventually lead you to master a language, to name a few examples. A lot of gamification focusses on creating a habit of consistent effort and reinforcing it with rewards or shout outs. We were no different with our approach to content sharing, regular consistent output of good content is what I have been aiming to do for years. I even worked a 3 posts per week schedule for a number of years and then all of a sudden it stopped working. In gamification design, you will also find that what worked initially may stop working over time. Typically it is a gradual trend and not always a sudden instant hit in results.
When consistency no longer works
When I speak to trainers and coaches and most highly focused individuals at some point the original gains of consistent effort on one specific exercise start to wane in net impact. In health and fitness, often variety of training methods and focus of attention on various groups of muscles will try to cover this. Occassionally it is also the system aka your body telling you that you need a break. When it comes to this sudden decrease in effectiveness, it is always good to explore why you hit a plateau or a decrease of returns.
In our case when all of a sudden we went from highly ranked on SEO (search engine optimisation) to complete oblivion, I immediately consulted a bunch of experts. I still have them working for us today. First thing we noticed that our new look had been bad for SEO, some of the older legacy reputation seemed to have vanished. So we went looking at those. Then we also found that the latest algorithm changes from Google penalised us quite heavily, we are still working on getting those items right. It is a investigative work in progress and all of the team at Gamification Nation is working on some parts of the solution.
Personally I had also hit a road block of inspiration, adding to that a few major projects limiting my available time. The combination of lack of inspiration and not an abundance of time is a definite bad recipe for creating good content, I can assure you. I took a similar approach to the SEO conundrum and looked for expert mentors who are rocking it on social media and with content. One just kept saying, just post more and produce more and it will come right. To me this sounded like mission impossible, I was running out of inspiration and time so how on earth could I produce even more?
Another mentor had a more strategic view on content creation and suggested to bunch work a number of pieces per month on a variety of channels such as podcasting, video and articles. He also had some ideas on getting the right content out to our audience, which is why I am launching a bit of a survey to those who read my content to let me know what content you enjoy and what you would like more of. I would be really grateful if you could take a few minutes to help me by completing our survey, that way I can work on incorporating this into my sharing.
How can we keep it fresh?
In gamification design we talk about refreshing your strategy and your design to keep it interesting for your players. In most games we have new levels with new exciting things to uncover. When it comes to learning you typically progress from beginner to intermediate to advanced. At any given time the content for all level of players will be available still. But what appeals will change over time.
I am an avid consumer of written content, I always have been and probably always will be. It is therefore no surprise to see that as my preferred method of sharing. I know it doesn’t work for everyone. I also speak regularly and that is why we have put more focus on adding audio content in the shape of podcasts. I personally find it easier to record items on podcast than to record for video. I guess as a female I am less critical of my voice than of my looks on camera, which is strange coming from someone that used to work on television. Either way my intention is to break through this barrier too and to give a bigger variety in content.
Keys to getting it right consistently
The first key to get it right is to start and to measure your progress. Whether it is a simple habit tracker or aiming for an ubroken activity streak, starting with a goal and tracking it is the base. The second then is to spot significant changes in effectiveness. In our case the website numbers were very clear. If your weight starts to nudge upwards despite your activity, if your energy levels continue to dwindle despite good eating and exercise habit again it will tell you it is time to launch an investigation. I look for experts who are getting results and not just family and friends. I know they will have my best interest at heart too but they don’t have the expertise of having gone there before. Then consider your actions, whether that is implementing new ideas or adding another layer of researching like I am doing here with the survey of readers. Your target audience is a group to include in your research in a business setting. You need to explore your own thoughts and feelings when you are central to the goal delivery, just like I am in creating content for my company. Then select your new approach and continue to fine tune it. If you hit a new plateau, just rinse and repeat the same process.
In summary hitting consistent results and the remedy if consistency no longer pays off, looks a bit like this in my book:
- Start and measure progress
- Notice the change in trend
- Launch an investigation
- Consult experts
- Consult your target audience and key delivery people
- Choose a new approach
- Fine-tune consistently
Give us your input
To make a long story shorter, I stopped working the untenable 3 times per week writing schedule and started playing with less frequency and more diverse methods of communicating and re-packaging a few of the things we already have. To make it most relevant to you though, I am asking you to take a few minutes to give us your input into what you find valuable.