Written by Paula Toole
Everyone’s heard of the phrase quality over quantity, and while there are exceptions to the rule – give me a full glass of tap water over a thimble-full of mineral water any day – it generally rings true.
The saying certainly applies to the creation and publication of content, with the days of spamming the internet with irrelevant, keyword-stuffed copy thankfully a thing of the past.
What does quality mean?
At its essence, high quality content is something that is well-written, succinct, explores a subject and is easily digestible by the target audience.
In an age where every single piece of content posted online and in physical media can be scrutinised by millions of pairs of eyes, the smallest mistake can soon be magnified.
As such, eliminating typos and ensuring grammatical flow should be fundamental, while fact-checking needs to take place when presenting any data, to avoid a red face or – worse – loss of trust. Even when it’s intentional, the strategy can backfire.
In the modern age, people are busier than ever, and have far less time to devote to everyday matters, including reading. Every content producer is therefore clamouring to create something that grabs attention and retains it, and only be creating something that flows and is error-free can we hope to engage the reader throughout.
Blatant errors can instantly lose a person’s trust in a brand – and with it, potential custom – so from a reputational standpoint, it is important to cross your i’s, dot your t’s and ensure every statistic is Vorderman-proof.
Is that all?
While a well-written article can be a thing of beauty, it has little purpose if the content is not relevant to the target audience, and here is where the content creator needs to have a laser focus if they are to achieve their aim.
Defining what is relevant can take many forms, but chief among them is appealing to the interests of the customer – identifying their pain points, acknowledging them, and providing a solution.
The solution itself can be multi-faceted, but at its core will be something that hits a point on the customer journey, whether this is boosting awareness of a product or service, encouraging people to take action, driving conversion, or facilitating advocacy.
How this is achieved will depend on how relevant the content is, because only by ensuring the words or imagery is appealing to these points of pain or interest will customer engagement be achieved.
Keeping it real and relevant
One example would be content created for a chocolate company, where the ultimate aim of the strategy would be to encourage people to buy chocolate.
Creating an article that examines the most common reasons why couples argue and then publishing this through the brand’s digital and physical platforms would certainly result in people reading it and may even hold their interest to the end of the article or video, but where do they go from here?
You could create a call to action to buy the new chocolate, but the preceding 500 words or 90 seconds of video have done nothing to establish a reason to buy chocolate or advocate the brand. All you have is an interesting video, which may help from an engagement point of view, but when you’re Nestle and not Buzzfeed, what was the point?
Laying the foundations
Every strategy contains an element of trial and error, and not every piece of content will be as successful as anticipated, but by establishing a target audience from the outset and laying out what interests them, the chances of generating a dud are greatly reduced.
With a quarter of all marketing material still deemed irrelevant, the dangers are not limited to people simply ignoring what you produce – it could lead to negative perceptions and word-of-mouth that harms the brand.
So, quality must always be placed above quantity when it comes to content generation, but relevance needs to be placed above both. Rich, targeted content helps to get eyes on the product, increase engagement and conversion and achieve every business’s ultimate aim – boosting the bottom line.