custom quality content on paper

What is custom quality content and why does it matter? Read on to find out.

Imagine this: you’re scrolling through your Facebook newsfeed and come across a video that piques your interest. What’s so special about it? Maybe it’s right on target with your interests. Maybe you saw that a close friend shared the link. Maybe the images or spokesperson caught your eye. No matter what drew you to the video, the point is that you watched it and thought about the message. What you just experienced was custom quality content. How can you take advantage of this approach to spread the word about your business and ignite the power of your social media following? Read on for my advice.

What is Custom Quality Content?

Custom quality content is something that not all companies utilize; many repost articles that have already been written or employ the use of a content mill where they can buy blog posts and social media updates individually about their industry. While this may seem like a simple, quick way to publish stories, it’s not a good idea if you want your company’s reputation and online visibility to soar in a positive way. Instead, custom quality content is specifically written for your business, in your voice, and appears nowhere else online. It is unique to your brand and employing this technique can really set your company apart, create a strong following of loyal customers and position your business as an expert in your field.

Here are three characteristics from The Content Marketing Institute of content that is high-quality, unique and engaging for readers:

  1. Your Content Should be Engaging and User-Oriented

Is your content written for your audience, or written for your company? As The Content Marketing Institute explains, “Brands like to talk about themselves, but customers mainly want to know how firms can solve their problems and make their lives easier. It’s not enough to stress benefits over features; the business must show that it has a thorough understanding of its customers’ needs by developing the ability to ‘write in their shoes.’” They stress that to do this, content should be:

  • Free from Jargon: Don’t make your customers work too hard to understand what you’re talking about. If they are confused, they’ll move on to purchase from your competitors.
  • Correctly Structured: Does your content flow in a logical manner? Here’s how you can structure it properly. “Key, high-level points should be stated briefly at the beginning of your content, and supporting details should be added below (or on lower-hierarchy pages) for customers who are interested enough to get the whole story.”
  • Written in the Correct Voice and Style: Make sure you’re speaking to your target audience on their level. If your customers are highly educated specialists in their field, don’t give them information that’s written to a much lower demographic. This will require tweaking your message as you deliver it to different audiences.
  • Asking for a Response: Be sure to include a call-to-action in every message you put out to your consumers. If you want them to purchase your product, ask them to. If you’re looking for social shares or for them to tell a friend, make your wishes clear. Just don’t look too spammy when you do this; asking a question can be a good way to illicit a response without sounding too pushy.
  1. Your Content Should Serve a Specific Business Purpose

Everything you share online should tell a story, but remember that all compelling stories have a point, moral or key message. If your company is using storytelling principles to share your products and services, remember that the point should be to drive customer action in the form of a purchase, social share, resource download, signing up for a consultation or encouraging a word-of-mouth recommendation. Remember that humor and entertainment is important when promoting content, but it should have substance behind it besides just making your followers laugh.

  1. Your Content Should be Highly Shareable

Is your content as addictive as M&M’s? If not, you should focus on creating blog posts, e-newsletters, social media updates, videos and images that make people want to click “share.” How can you do this? Identify what your audience likes and cater to their needs. Do they like cat videos? Create one that’s in line with your products and services!

talk bubbles, like tweet and share

Encourage your followers to share your content.

Why does Custom Quality Content Matter So Much?

If traditional content marketing and custom quality content are so similar, are they the same thing? Andrew Boer at Adotas doesn’t think so. Here’s why:

“There is a simple and fundamental difference between Content Marketing and Custom Content: one is internal, one is external. Custom Content, pioneered by folks like Pohly & Pohly over 50 years ago with the airline magazine, was typically the creation of content meant to build an affinity with your existing audience. This content would reinforce the brand, communicate the value of the product and create new opportunities. Custom Content is the creation of “branded content” for a customer. And, for the most part, custom content is created for the client to communicate with their own existing customers.

There is some overlap, but Content Marketing for the most part is a different beast. Content Marketing is predominantly outward facing — it is about creating content that will attract *new* customers for brands. It can be branded content, but it can also be simply ‘brand-relevant’ content that attracts an audience.”

Custom quality content is content that serves a sole purpose, with a measureable goal in mind. Like the relationship between a square and a rectangle, Action House explains that, “All content marketing is custom content, [but] not all custom content is content marketing.”

As Boer explains, “Brands or firms who are looking to be content marketers will have to overcome all of the same challenges as publishers. They not only have to create great content, but also have to figure out how to attract and reach an audience. And guess what? They will likely be in direct competition with publishers over who is going to build a direct relationship with the audience.”

The high degree of competition in the online world means your company should create custom quality content to stand apart from the pack and be heard over the vast amount of online “noise.”

3 Barriers to Creating Quality Content

If custom quality content is so important, what’s holding businesses back from creating it? There are a variety of barriers that companies must overcome, as The Content Marketing Institute points out. They include:

  1. True Quality is Hard to Define: Companies can often point to a piece of quality content they’d like their business to emulate, but are unable to actually define what quality is. At its core, quality content resonates with its audience, encourages them to take action with a business and is memorable.
  2. The Creation Process Isn’t Well-Defined: You’ll want your content strategy to be consistent, so design a plan that will ensure you’re producing custom quality content on a regular basis. It can be as simple as writing social media updates on Mondays, creating an image on Tuesdays and blogging on Wednesdays.
  3. Companies Aren’t Sure Where to Start: Not all companies have a dedicated marketing team, especially entrepreneurs and small businesses. Because the solopreneur may not have a background in marketing, they may be unsure how to effectively use a content strategy to promote their business. And if small or mid-sized organizations have a marketing team, they may not know how to view their company from the outside or they experience pushback from upper executives.

content is king

Custom quality content is content that serves a sole purpose, with a measureable goal in mind.

How to Create Quality Content that Google Likes

To set your company apart, follow this advice from Search Engine Land, which has analyzed the secret sauce to perfecting custom content that is highly ranked by Google and other search engines. It starts with priming your website to be:

  • Useful and Informative
  • Providing Customers with a Specific Value
  • Highly Credible
  • High-Quality
  • Designed with Users in Mind
  • Engaging and Entertaining
  • Primed for SEO

If your website does not have all of the above features, it may be time for an overhaul. After all, you wouldn’t want to spend time creating customized content that never sees the light of day because Google doesn’t rank your website highly enough.