I read a solid post from the folks at Impact titled, What is Quality Content? It was predicated on the idea, "Quality content is evergreen; it stands the test of time and keeps people coming back for more." The post provides a useful set of rules, that when followed, enable one to fulfill this description of "quality content."
If one's measure of quality content is purely about increasing traffic, doing what it takes to create evergreen content is a reasonable path to follow. But what about content development that gives your audience something new? A fresh perspective? A unique insight? A relevant personal anecdote that illuminates a salient point? There is room in the definition of what constitutes quality content for evergreen, traffic-generating content and for independent, thought-provoking quality content. In fact, having a measure of both will provide consistent traffic and a growing, appreciative following. Here are five tips for creating the latter:
Seek a Larry David sense of the universality in every situation.
For anyone who is a fan of Larry David or Jerry Seinfeld, what we admire about them is their ability to make an art form of isolating the things we all do but fail to notice: the "stop and chat," or "double-dipping" at a party.
I applied this acute observational thinking in my recent post called, "How to Become a Marketing Mind Reader." Everyone involved with providing creative services has experienced a client that for whatever reason, is not able to express what they want or like, leaving creatives to "figure it out." I used one such recent experience to break down my technique for "reading the minds" of those difficult to discern clients.
By training yourself to be as observant of your business conversations as David and Seinfeld are at identifying our daily foibles, you may soon start identifying market trends — and everyone wants to be on top of the trends.
Ask yourself if your content could have been created by anybody.
Imagine you are your audience. You are looking at different websites or blogs for something new about a topic of interest. Everything you find on the subject seems to say the same thing, in much the same way. You're looking for something to cut through the clutter, to be bold, provocative or even a little quirky. You're looking for a unique voice. For example, I am a big believer in the power of taglines. Look no further than the current presidential race, and while many people have a visceral reaction to Donald Trump, as a marketer, there is no denying that his "Making America Great Again" tagline was a well-considered brand decision. A good tagline distills your brand and as part of a larger program can greatly contribute to brand awareness and recall.
Tell a Compelling Story
Quality content is often quality storytelling; you can be that unique voice, by bringing anecdotal experience to bear on your subject. The post, "Do I need a Brand or a Visual Identity" discusses clients asking for a "brand" when, in fact, they are looking for a "visual identity." Because of our experience in these two complimentary but distinct disciplines, I was able to write a post that uses both examples and anecdote to identify the distinction and educate our audience.
Consider a contrarian attitude in order to challenge the status quo.
Karl Ove Knausgaard, one of my literary heroes, had been a mildly successful writer in Norway. As is the fashion in current writing, he was always encouraged to strip down his prose. "Less is more," he was told by the literary pundits. This so hamstrung him that he developed writer's block. Bucking the trend, he decided to write in exquisite depth and detail about his personal experiences, which yielded a six-volume masterpiece and international recognition. While a multi-volume masterpiece is not the usual outcome, bucking convention, or at least challenging assumptions, often opens up possibilities to see things differently.
The title of my blog post, "Brand Personality, Who Really Cares?" presents a provocative, contrarian question. As most of our clients are B2B companies and may undervalue the "softer" side of branding, I took a contrarian approach to the title and provided a lot of examples to make it clear why they really should care.
Spend more time listening than talking.
How many of us engage in conversations in which, rather than listening to the other party, we are rifling through our inner repertoire of responses? In the process, we lose half of what has been said; perhaps the most interesting half. The result is unsatisfactory or downright stressful. People are fascinated by interesting personal anecdotes when they have something to teach. Every minute talking is one in which you could be learning something new from which others could benefit.
Provide a point-of-view that makes people think.
What do marketing guru, Seth Godin, Surgeon/writer, Atul Gawande and Design Thinking visionary, Tim Brown — to name a few — have in common? They have a unique point-of-view, which has enabled them to become recognized thought leaders, something which most marketers dream about.
Our point-of-view about the intersection of brand positioning, the website and successful marketing, permeates many of our posts and is the subject for others such as, "Why Messaging is so Important for Successful B2B Marketing" and "Five Reasons Starting with a Concise Brand Strategy Will Save Your Website Project," to name a couple.
You may not have the goal of being a global thought leader, but you do want people to subscribe to your content. The surest way to accomplish this is by establishing a unique perspective or point-of-view on which you write about. Over time, your audience will notice, and good things will happen.
What is your definition of Quality Content?