High quality content creation is no longer a leading strategy for your branding and marketing plans. Create “high quality content!” We’ve all heard it. And I have been preaching it. Until now.
While most brands would benefit moving up to the status that we have been referring to as “high-quality content” (HQC), this is going to be a tougher and tougher position to hold for those creating HQC. This is due the fact that more and more brands, writers, bloggers, marketing firms and an entire host of content creators are catching on about HGC. As Rand Fishkin of Moz.com pointed out:
It’s essentially, hey, it’s [HQC] useful enough. It answers the searcher’s query. It’s unique from any other content on the Web. If you read it, you wouldn’t vomit. It’s good enough, right? Good, unique content. Problem is almost everyone can get here. They really can. It’s not a high bar, a high barrier to entry to say you need good, unique content. In fact, it can scale.”
What Lies Above High Quality Content Creation
The ideal? Content performs the most complete job of serving the searcher’s intent and helping them accomplish their goals. Every client we work with has different wants, desires and needs to fulfill.
Some of our customers are driven by cost, others by fear, some by gain and others by quality. Some target markets are predominantly young (18-30), whereas others are in their mid 30’s to 50’s. Some are cash-rich, others are time-rich and many more are cash or time poor. Some are well-educated, others have basic education and a few are street and book smart. Some use the web via desktop in the evening, whereas others live and breath by their mobile devices at any given time of the day and night.
Every online searcher is different. What seems to appear to be a complete piece of crap of a website to marketers can easily contain the best answers to a searcher’s query. On the other hand, the best piece of “content” that we’ve ever witnessed might make someone think, “Forget all that jargon and fancy stuff, I just want to know about _________”.
It’s content that people want to digest because it helps or entertains them, tells them how to do something or where to find something.
It’s information that people talk about in their own blog posts, on Facebook and Twitter or at lunch with colleagues. It gets quoted, linked to, and shared.
Your Objective: Exceed High Quality Content Creation
My point is this: the measure of quality contained within “content” is in the eye of the searcher, regardless of what the creator of that content believes to be true. You want to exceed their expectations in every way. Only then will your “high quality content creation” will become shared and rank higher.
Often, as marketers and content creators, we’re so close to the elephant that all we can see is grey. I often have to snap myself out of the “marketing bubble” and remind myself that my clients are not marketers, but businesses who want to attract customers to their own unique and diverse products and services.
This means that every time we work with a new client, due diligence must be performed in researching their customers’ needs, wants, fears and challenges. Ultimately, the most optimum content presented in the right way (however small or large) is paramount to helping them achieve their goals and objectives.
Here’s the interesting idea: Customers may be being repelled by our long words, beautiful imagery and “thought leadership” when all they want is a simple answer.
My Big Question About High Quality Content Creation
How many marketers create high quality content for a audience that doesn’t want it, doesn’t need it and clicks on the large “X” at the top right of the web page when they see it? My bet is more than anyone here could ever imagine.
I’m not knocking high quality content creation at all. I’m saying there is a need for exceptional content, targeted for an audience’s exact needs. Sometimes, “simple and basic” beats high quality content hands down, both on amplification levels and conversions, because it’s exactly what’s needed by that audience. And yo many, simple and basic – when performed brilliantly – can exceed expectations.
Here are some examples of content that may be high quality but does not serve audiences:
- Tons of PDF’s and reports, when a website sells “emergency services” where lives are at risk
- No contact details, when the only way to find what they need is to request more information.
- Vibrant, colorful diagrams showing the intricate detail that goes into creating gearboxes, when the searchers’ car gearbox is up-the-creak and they’re fearful the repair will cost them a a ton of cash. (“That site looks expensive, I wonder if they can afford that site because they charge a lot?”})
- Perfect, long-worded grammar and prose, when trying to appeal to funky teenagers who, frankly, couldn’t care less/
- Data-driven PC and laptop usage research studies, when the searcher needs to urgently recover their data after crashing their system. (“How do I get someone to visit me this morning to save my business data?”)
- Every-colour-in-the-rainbow websites, that try to attract soon-to-be bridesmaids and grooms who (through the chaos of wedding planning) simply need clarity & white-space not wow’ism
- Reviews, features & widgets when all she wanted was to order a bunch of flowers asap. “Where’s the damn cc button?”
- Long-form content (4 x scrolls deep), beautifully written and presented, attempting to get someone to sign up for an email newsletter (about becoming more productive and saving time!)
Each of the above types of content would be super-useful and classified as “high quality content creation” if they were used in the right context and environment, to help users who relate to them, take action.
What Brands Should Be Doing with Content Marketing
So as marketers, we need to become better at matching the right content to the right audience, based on how that audience relates to, understands, reads, deciphers and acts on that content.
Content marketing and strategy are areas where one size (or type) doesn’t fit all – and is often the reason why many see production costs in the 5 or 6 figure bracket, when in reality, providing what their audience needs, in the way they need it, may cost much less. To alleviate you of such mistakes, ensure that your brand is:
- What does the brand stand for as a mission? What purpose is it fulfilling and how do we capture that in our content tastefully?
- Conducting research. Not only what the needs are, but what formats of content are the most popular?
- How are they finding this content on social channels?
- What is the best way to leverage video? YouTube, Snapchat, Periscope, or something else?
- Who are the actual influencers that would effectively move the brand’s message forward?
- How can we use PR tactics intelligently and within our budget to build buzz.
High quality content is beginning to sound like a marketing platitude. Let’s ensure that we exceed customer expectations with content that resonates with their core values and actual needs.