Why Content Quality Matters
“Quality is not what happens when what you do matches your intentions. It is what happens when what you do matches your customers' expectations.”
Quality is traditionally defined as “the standard of something as measured against other things of a similar kind; the degree of excellence of something“. Of course, the exact context will depend upon what we are talking about. A high-quality diamond is one devoid of natural inclusions and cut to absolute perfection. A quality vehicle will reliably and comfortably transport you between two different locations. A quality piece of fruit is ripe and without blemishes. However, what about quality written content?
Most online business owners can be forgiven if they attach a rather broad meaning to quality content. Most will cite attributes such as correct grammar, appropriate keywords and accurate descriptions. However, this is akin to describing the Mona Lisa through the brush strokes alone. The finer points are inevitably missed, and we would be rather unfairly presented with nothing more than a two-dimensional rendition; devoid of any real passion. So, what are some of the traits associated with quality content?
For the sake of this article, quality and value enjoy an intrinsic relationship. After all, readers are looking for worthwhile material as opposed to well-written blocks of text alone. Valuable content should be able to address the following metrics:
- The bespoke needs of your audience.
- The ultimate goals of your business.
- What separates your organisation from its competitors.
Imbuing content with these variables will inevitably make it more interesting. As a result, the chances are higher that the reader will take some form of action (such as requesting additional information or committing to a purchase). However, we are really just scratching the surface in terms of defining truly outstanding material. There are many other facets to this concept which deserve attention.
The Ability to Solve a Problem
This has always been one of the traditional definitions of quality content, and it merits a mention before moving on. Ultimately, a visitor will choose to shop at a certain location due to the offered products and services. This is under the pretence that their quality supersedes competitors in terms of solving a problem. This is the same reason why we are not likely to switch clothing detergents if we encounter one that can remove stubborn stains. Of course, such a concept can be translated into the digital community.
As marketing expert Kim Yuhl points out, the best content delivers results that are in accordance with the expectation of the reader. This is why some authoritative websites (such as those related to medicine and pharmacology) will never accept substandard material. They instead require details that are applicable to the reader while simultaneously providing actionable information. Let’s take a look at how such a concept can be applied to a fictional roofing company. A standard 500-page post may be broken up with subjects such as:
- Highlighting the problems of a faulty roof.
- Describing the possible solutions.
- Emphasising why the company in question can deliver superior results.
Not only will this information resonate with the reader in question, but he or she will likewise begin to appreciate why the company is capable of providing a viable solution. This is all part of the larger engagement process.
Quality content must also display relevance. In other words, it needs to be presented in such a context as to appear interesting and familiar to the reader. We are not only referring to the topic itself. Other tangible factors will cause the material to stand out from more generic “fluff”. Three essential metrics include the needs of the audience, the solution proposed by the business and temporal considerations (such as the time of the year or a limited offer).
Furthermore, relevance can be defined through the use of a handful of other characteristics, including:
- Credibility (such as links to authoritative websites).
- The discrete demographic (such as gender, location and spending habits).
- Authenticity and transparency.
All of these elements will help to increase the perceived relevance of an article, so they should be incorporated whenever possible. This is also when robust analytics can come into play.
The Role of Originality
To be fair, it is very rare that an Internet business is capable of reinventing the proverbial wheel. There are millions of articles created each and every day which address countless topics. This is why even the most specific and obscure online searches will provide you with hundreds of possible results. So, how can the material itself be original if innumerable other sites have addressed the very same subject matter?
In this sense, originality does not signify redefining the material in question. It rather involves approaching it in a unique manner. There are several benefits to this approach. First and foremost, it is likely to keep the reader entertained and eager to learn more. Secondly, original content strategies are looked upon favourably by major search engines such as Google. This will help bolster your online rankings and ultimately drive more inbound traffic to your website.
Simply rehashing an existing article (referred to as “spinning” within the content curation community) is no longer enough. Readers have become more discriminating than ever before. As a result, they wish to be provided with actionable information that takes a novel approach to an existing service or product.
The Subtle Ability to Market Without Promoting
Believe it or not, a recent study has found that the average consumer is exposed to just over 5,000 advertisements each day. From online marketing to television commercials and newspaper listings, the fact of the matter is that society has become inundated with such campaigns. More is not necessarily better in this case. In fact, some of the most effective marketing techniques are capable of promoting a product without bombarding the reader with calls to action.
Now, a call to action (CTA) is obviously an important part of content marketing. However, the real attractiveness of a product or service should rather be presented by storytelling, rapport and through the use of concise attributes that passively compel the reader to keep moving forward. When they eventually encounter a call to action, the chances are much higher that they will choose to engage further.
The Forever-Present Role of Search Engine Optimisation
We mentioned SERP rankings in the previous section, and these must be briefly highlighted. Your ultimate goal should be to create what is known as unicorn content. In other words, your aim is to curate material that garners the most shares, likes, bookmarks, and conversions. Unicorn content, therefore, represents the blogs and posts that have generated the most interest and conversions over time.
In the same respect, unicorn content is able to leverage the benefits associated with SEO by providing you with a greater amount of exposure. Thus, other elements such as HTML, format, keyword density, and readability will need to be addressed.
Quality Content: From Concept to Reality
Of what use are all of the suggestions mentioned above if they cannot be effectively leveraged? This is when many other online articles related to quality content tend to fall a bit short of the mark. While they identify the most important metrics, they fail to provide businesses with a “road map” in regards to their implementation. This is why we have made it a point to highlight some of the most pivotal steps to take into account.
All About the Audience
As our esteemed Textbroker colleagues in the United States have pointed out, it is always crucial to focus upon the audience during the initial curation process. We are not merely speaking about being able to identify key demographic markers. Instead, try to put yourself into the shoes of the reader. What should they walk away from after reading the article? Does your information solve a problem or simply regurgitate facts? Are you providing actionable services or nothing more than digital smoke and mirrors? If you can see through a shallow advertising campaign, there is no doubt that your audience will as well.
Take on the Role of an Entertainer
What makes songs such as Piano Man by Billy Joel and Fast Car by Tracy Champan so popular? While musical prowess certainly plays a role, they both tell stories in order to keep the listener engaged. The same holds true in regards to online content. Passionately written material also serves other purposes. It illustrates to the reader that you care about what you are providing. Additionally, entertaining articles are more likely to be shared; leading to a massive amount of virtual exposure. Finally, telling a story imbues a decidedly organic and down-to-earth flavour to the post in question.
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Proudly Display Your Authority on the Matter
We are all aware that authoritative hyperlinks are beneficial in terms of search engine optimisation. However, they serve another important purpose from the perspective of the reader. They offer a sense of transparency, and they will engender trust. This can lead to brand loyalty over time; an obvious concern within such a competitive marketplace.
It is also wise to supply testimonials when appropriate. Let’s keep in mind that customers are not only interested in your ability to solve a problem. They need to be shown that you are capable of providing better solutions than your competitors. This “take it from me” approach will once again illustrate that real-world experiences back up your claims.
The Technical Side of Quality Content
The best artists always choose to work with the best tools. This same principle can be applied to creating quality content. In other words, HTML is also important (although these codes will often remain behind the scenes). Here are some elements which should be included:
- The proper use of paragraph, tags and headers.
- Meta titles
- Meta descriptions
- Quality outbound links
- Internal links to other pages of your website
- Content that can be displayed on laptops as well as mobile devices
Other user-friendly visual strategies are just as potent and should always be included when appropriate. Short and easily digestible paragraphs, relevant images and bullet points can all help to bring home what it is that you happen to be offering.
Online Tools to Employ
Of course, the ability to create quality content can sometimes be stymied if you are too subjective in regards to how an article is evaluated. This is why online tools such as Grammarly, Hemingway Editor and Yoast will all come in handy.
However, the simple fact is that you might not have enough time to address the recommendations mentioned above. In terms of quality, the team at Textbroker leaves nothing to chance. Our cadre of talented writers is well aware of the latest approaches, and perhaps more importantly, we will develop a malleable strategy in order to resonate with your brand identity.
Ultimately, your intention should always be to distil the rather nebulous description of “quality content” into a format that reverberates with your company as well as your readers. This level of perfection is certainly no accident, and our team will be more than happy to help.
About our authorRon first arrived in Barcelona, Spain in 2007. Although initially pursuing a career in wealth management and finance, he learned that the content writing community provided the highest level of personal satisfaction while still being able to personally help clients. He has been a full-time professional writer since 2011. Some of his other interests include martial arts and bodybuilding.