We talk a lot about quality content. But what exactly does that mean?
Is it scintillating writing? Is it click bait? Or is it something that ranks well in search and attracts qualified prospects.
Here are a few of the things I look for when I’m evaluating quality.
1. Quality content is original.
The bigger your audience, the more likely someone’s going to start scraping your site every time you publish. To me, there’s no bigger offense. If you want the benefits of content marketing, put in the work.
Content should be your own ideas, expressed in your own words. Don’t copy. Don’t steal. That’s just wrong.
2. It’s also relevant to your audience.
Too many people boast that they write what they want to write. That’s fine. But content is publishing, and professional publishers have a target audience who they aim to please.
Write for your audience. Period.
Come up with ideas that answer their questions and target their interests. Be relevant. That’s the only way to create quality content.
3. The information you share is well developed and useful.
Junk content gets junk results. If you want traffic, if you want conversions, if you want people to share your content, it’s got to be good. So invest the time to make it good.
Find topics that your audience will enjoy. Do the research needed to create something that’s worth their time. And make sure they walk away better for having read it.
4. All claims are proved.
Op-eds aside, the best content doesn’t just contain opinions. There are statistics, quotes, examples, or even stories to support claims.
Which brings me to another point. Your claims need to be accurate. Don’t write a July 4 post with a reference to Benjamin Franklin as a former president. (Yes, I’ve had a writer do that. No, I don’t work with that writer anymore.)
Seriously. If you’re a pro, you’re better than that.
5. It’s not just a brain dump.
Let’s take #4 a little further. Great content doesn’t just contain a point of view and a few statistics. It also provides analysis to clarify and even interpret that information.
Don’t assume your readers will make the connections that seem so obvious to you. Most of your readers are too busy to spend that much time on your content.
Say what you mean to say. Then connect the dots for your readers.
Which brings me to another point…
6. Clarity is key.
In high-quality content, information is presented in an organized way and articulated clearly. That makes it a breeze to read.
To ramp up the quality of your content, make clarity a higher priority than showing off your writing skill or even your traffic goals. Yes, it’s that important.
7. There’s a point to the message.
One of my biggest beefs is content for content’s sake. If you don’t have anything to say, you don’t need to hit the publish button. Every piece of content should have one bottom-line takeaway that matters.
Figure out what that is before you start writing.
8. It’s well written.
Great writing isn’t my highest measure of quality, but it does matter. Since clarity is key, your writing should never draw attention to itself. Bad writing takes the focus off your message and puts it on your words. You want your writing to disappear behind the message—but that means it has to be right.
The best content is written in layers. It progresses through stages of development, from outline to draft to fleshed-out paragraphs. In each iteration, the writing gets refined and massaged until it’s smooth as silk.
9. It’s been edited by someone who knows what they’re doing.
Just as writing has many iterations, so does editing. To get your content right, you need to review it one element at a time until the finished product sings.
Yes, that takes time. It’s worth it.
10. It’s visually appealing.
As I say this, I know you’re thinking graphics. But hold on for a second. A page can be appealing without images. Here, I’m talking about white space, layout, images and other elements.
Make sure the overall page is as attractive as the ideas you’re sharing. You’re going for a Wow! response. That means all the elements need to be right.
11. It’s built for social sharing and engagement.
Great content is written with the end audience in mind. In today’s world, that means it needs to be easy to share. Your content needs to include engagement elements that drive sharing and comments.
12. It provides an experience for visitors.
Perhaps the best way to summarize this point is this: The presentation and experience are as good as the content itself.
13. It meets your business goals.
If you’re creating content, you’re probably a business, which means every piece of the marketing plan needs to (hopefully) pay for itself.
That includes content.
Great content has a place in the funnel. More than likely, it’s top-of-funnel, which means it needs to drive subscriptions, traffic, and engagement. But it may have other goals. Make sure you’re meeting those objectives.
By the way, selling shouldn’t be your conversion goal. Use content to drive traffic, not sales.
14. It’s easily consumed.
By this, I mean easy to scan, easy to read, and easy to share. Do that, and people will look forward to your content, not cringe and click away.
You won’t succeed at content marketing without nailing “quality.” Because content for content’s sake doesn’t interest anyone.
These are the things I evaluate. How about you?