communications strategy

Assure content quality with these essential elements

Sandra Stewart | September 16, 2014

As more companies jump on the content marketing bandwagon, the competition for readers and viewers grows more intense—and so does this warning: if you want your content to stand out and be shared, it had better be good.

But what is good?

The best content provides genuine insight and moves a conversation forward. It draws on lessons from experience, a news story or innovations in other fields. It presents research or a big new idea. Or it challenges received wisdom. If you’re producing content to support a thought leadership strategy, insight is essential.

Quality content goes down as easily as ice cream on a summer day. It’s a pleasure to read or view. It’s lively, cohesive and clear. Readers without a graduate degree in the field can understand it. It’s presented in a way that grabs attention and pulls people through to the end. And it looks good—it’s free of distracting errors and tacky art.

Content marketing is all about establishing trustworthiness and value. If you want people to trust your content (and your company), it has to be accurate, well supported and plausible. Generalities, exaggerations and marketing hype are enemies of credibility. Fact-checking is your friend.

“How can we help people?” is a great way to approach content development. Content that’s obviously self-serving doesn’t educate or inspire, and it won’t draw an audience. Professional services firms in particular tend to worry about giving away the store, but look around: the most successful content marketers are the most generous.

You may not have new ideas, but you definitely have a personality—use it! A fresh take on a perennial topic, a humorous approach to bland how-to material, personal anecdotes and novel presentation can all make your content stand out.

“Good” is a judgment involving a significant amount of subjectivity, but if your content hits these marks, you can be confident of its quality. And quality content is more likely to be shared—and remembered.

For more content marketing insights, check out our report, Content Marketing: Myth vs. Reality.


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