Quality content. It seems to be the buzzword of the moment, being thrown around my marketers left, right, and centre, but what does it actually mean?
What does “quality” mean when it comes to content?
In my mind, we’re moving towards a digital landscape where consumers are active in the story. They don’t want to read crappy 300-word blog posts that are stuffed full of keywords like they were back in the 90s.
They want to come away have learned something new. Or feeling something powerful.
In an online world where there are 2 million blog posts are published every day, quality content stands out. It adds something more to the reader experience and it educates, inspires, and motivates.
Let’s keep those three words in mind for now, because we’re going to come back to them later.
Word Count Has Nothing to Do With It
Before we go any further, I want to spit some harsh truths. I get a lot of people reaching out to me asking how long their blog posts should be.
The answer? Length has nothing to do with it. It doesn’t matter if your post is 400, 1,000, or 5,000 words, if it’s full of fluff and doesn’t give the reader anything, then it’s not quality content.
The key lies in filling those words (however many there are) with glorious information that educates, inspires, and motivates (you can tell I like those words, right?!).
That being said, there are some suggested guidelines to stick to if you want your content to shoot up the search engines. Webmaster guidelines say that good content:
If you’re at a loss as to whether you’re already publishing the good stuff, ask yourself what makes your website unique? What takeaways do readers get when they land on your site? What are other sites in your industry doing and how can you be different to them?
So now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s look at how you can make sure you’re consistently publishing quality content.
What Makes Content “High Quality”?
1. It’s Useful and Informative
First and foremost, content needs to be useful. The main reason people land on a website is because they’ve typed a query into Google or they want to find something out, which means you need to provide them with that information.
Never has the phrase “give ‘em what they want” been so accurate.
How you can make your content useful: think about what your readers might want to find out from you – what questions do they have? What are they actively searching Google for? You can take this one step further to and conduct surveys to find out exactly what your target reader wants to know.
2. It’s more valuable than other sites
Did I mention that there are 2 million blog posts published every day? That’s a heck of a lot of content that’s already out there, which means you need to stand out if you want to be read.
Creating content that digs a little bit deeper than your competitors and covers slightly more than posts on the same topic out there will stand you in good stead.
How you can make your content more valuable than others: when you’ve come up with a content idea, see what else is already out there. Scour your competitor’s blog posts, download free e-books on the topic, and see what’s been published on Amazon. When you’ve got everything covered, think about how you and your expertise can add a new spin on it.
3. It’s credible
Because it’s so easy to knock out a 300-word post on pretty much anything these days with a little Google searching, people are becoming less and less trusting of the content they come across.
Makes sense, right?
When it comes to creating quality content, you want to leave your readers in no doubt that you’re the authority on the topic and that you have proof to back up what you’re saying.
How you can make your content credible: mention original research, use links to reviews, testimonials, and data. This will all help to back up what you’re saying. More importantly, though, put a bit of you and your business into your content. Remember: people like to make connections with people – at the end of it all, that’s what makes you credible.
4. It’s engaging
How many blog posts have you read that are as dry as dishwater? A lot, right?!
That’s the problem. Businesses seem to be stuck in this old-fashioned mindset that writing needs to be professional, but they forget that professional doesn’t have to mean dull, dull, dull.
Engaging content is easy-to-read and flows well. Think of it like having a conversation with the reader, so only use words you’d use when speaking.
How you can make your content engaging: as well as using conversational language, you can use graphics and visual language to keep your readers on the page. Think eye-catching images, quotes that are pulled out, and short paragraphs that are easy to skim.
Why Is Quality Content Important for Your Business?
Now, you might be thinking that all this talk of quality content is overwhelming and you really don’t have the time to spend ages researching and creating content just for the sake of it.
But did you know that content leads to sales at every step of the funnel?
Yep, the written word is a powerful way to connect with your audience and encourage sales, but it also does a couple of other things along the way.
1. It Builds Connection
I mentioned earlier that people like to make connections with other people, and high quality content is the perfect way to do this.
Consumers crave community these days (hence why Apple are so successful) and they want to feel like a part of something. When you use language that matches their needs and create content that’s useful and they can share, that’s when you start building relationships with the people who matter.
2. It Boosts Your Authority
Standing out in your industry is probably a difficult task, especially if your industry is oversubscribed like many are these days.
To stand out, you have to put yourself head and shoulders above the rest, and that means showing you know what you’re talking about but in a humane and connective way – which is precisely where content comes into play.
I’m going to dig deeper into these in future posts, but for now I’ll let you ruminate on this. Quality content doesn’t refer to uber-long blog posts that don’t really say much. In fact, that’s the opposite of quality content.
Instead, quality content is engaging, it’s full of useful stuff, and it’s so important in your sales funnel.
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Lizzie Davey is a professional business and marketing writer.