It isn’t much of a debate anymore—quality trumps, and will continue to trump, quantity when it comes to content. The answer to the quality versus quantity debacle is clear now: Create as much quality content as possible. In other words, it is all about finding a balance between content marketing quality and quantity.
While quantity is an easy entity to assess, quality, on the other hand, is not. How do you know what is good quality content and what others will consider poor quality content not even worth reading? The answer is abstract, and the intangible components of good content are not necessarily the most describable ideas in the world. But I’d like to give it a try to help you bridge the gap between the now-infamous quality and quantity requirements of content. Below you will find my list of ways to create good, quality content for marketing.
- Be exceptional: There is an overwhelming amount of content on the Internet. Every two days, the world creates as much information as it did up until 2003. It is absolutely imperative you make your content stand out. This doesn’t mean pile on the word count, it means choose the best words possible for the message you are trying to convey—and try to make those words into remarkable sentences and exceptional content.
- Ask questions: Get into the minds of your readers. Penetrate their thoughts and get them to invest in your content. One of the best ways to do this is to ask them a question in your headline or introduction.
- Tell a story: Whether you are writing B2B or B2C content, telling a story works to captivate your readers. But you can’t just tell any old story; try telling a parable, a story that teaches some truth, principle or lesson. In other words, solve your potential customers’ problem by telling a story.
- Use all of the senses: Create a world for your visitors by using your imagination. Let them know how your story world looks, but also let them discover how it feels, tastes, sounds and smells. The more entranced they become in your world, the more likely they are to return.
- Use emotion: A good movie or book should make you laugh, cry or both. Your content should do the same. Humor is a great attribute to work into your content if you are able—who doesn’t enjoy laughing?
- Make readers feel comfortable: When you find a situation or setting your readers already feel comfortable in, use it. Relate to their past experiences or a place they enjoy visiting in order to carefully usher them into your desired situation.
- Break news: Give your readers something to talk about. Make it new and interesting. If you can break real news as it happens like Jim Hanrahan (@highfours), go for it! If not, breaking your company’s news in an interesting way can be just as beneficial. Don’t just launch a new product, though; launch the answer to your future customers’ biggest problems.
- Be persuasive: The purpose behind content marketing is to ultimately lead your visitors to your product or service. So be persuasive. This skill needs to be utilized in content, including calls to action and landing pages where your visitors will become leads. Convince your readers that your content, product, service and company has value in their lives.
- Prove your point: If possible, use data to back up your claims. Many software options allow you to dive into analytics so deep you may not come out for days. But that is OK. Write about what you find or find the information for what you are writing. Earn your visitors’ trust by showing them proof of what you say.
- Never be boring: Don’t be a content machine simply churning out piece after piece. Put some feeling into it. Do your research and go the extra step to make sure each blog, ebook, video and tweet is close to perfection.
- Go with your gut: This took me a while to learn, but the best content (and attainments in life in general) are the ones you followed your gut in order to achieve. Two of the blog posts I truly wrote from my gut are two of my most popular: Is Clever Better? Witty versus Search-Engine-Optimized Headlines and Adidas Creates Goosebump-Worthy Content Marketing.
It’s true that you could write a glorious piece of content using every one of these guidelines, but if you ignore the cornerstones of content that converts—knowing your audience and solving its pain points—your content will fail. What is your best advice for writing quality content? Let us know in the comments below.
photo credit: Coanri/Rita