There’s an awful lot of business content out there today isn’t there? From blogs to books, ebooks to email, tweets, video, slides, webinars, podcasts and more: we’re a society on information overload. Whatever the medium, if the information you put out is not of high quality – really high – we’ll ignore it, block it, delete it, click away. You’ve got to go a long way for your content to cut through the noise.
But what makes ‘quality content’? How do you create content so valuable it can’t be ignored? I asked some of the thinkers I most respect for their views:
Content that is created with the buyer in mind
– David Meerman Scott
Quality content is to be determined by those who interact with the content. So the best way to create quality is to understand deeply the people who you are trying to reach. You need to create the content especially with your buyers in mind.
David Meerman Scott is a marketing strategist, keynote speaker and author – www.webinknow.com.
Content that has substance
– Jane Northcote
It has to do at least one of those things. If it does both, I consider subscribing. You ask specifically about what I read. In general I am operating on a lap-top or vertical screen, having not yet succumbed to an iPad. So reading is actually quite difficult. I don’t want to read, I want to see.
Blogs that are valuable have substance: numbers, places, people’s names, descriptions of real events, graphs. I distinguish “substance” from “opinion”. Substance is more valuable than opinion. And opinion without substance is not valuable at all.
Content relevant to each stage of the buying journey
– Bryony Thomas
Quality in terms of content is to a large part dependent on context. Even extremely insightful, well-written, content can be completely useless if presented at the wrong time, to the wrong person and at the wrong stage in the buying decision. I think it’s vital for content marketers to think carefully about the sales journey and to develop powerful content for each step of buying decision.
Bryony Thomas is a marketing speaker, author and consultant www.bryonythomas.com.
Content with a strong point of view, supported by design
– Christopher Butler
Ultimately, I think the answer to what makes content valuable is similar (if not the same) to what makes good writing and good thinking. If I had to choose one key ingredient, it would be a writer or speaker’s strong point of view. A compelling point of view comes from a very fine balance of erudition and originality (or in other words, taking liberty with tradition). As Emerson wrote, “He who should inspire and lead his race must be defended from traveling with the souls of other men, from living, breathing, reading, and writing in the daily, time-worn yoke of their opinions.” That may be a bit grandiose for what we do, but there is a solid point here. Be well read, but not too well read. Be discerning in what you read, and wise about what you repeat.
On the web, there is another issue to consider: how good design supports good content. It’s not enough to simply publish a good article. The page that contains it needs to be designed to focus the attention of time-pressed, distracted readers and do so confidently, keeping its own distractions–advertisements, calls to action, related content widgets, etc.–to a minimum. Thoughtful originality is essential here. What works for big, unfocused audiences will not work for smaller, focused ones. For the rest of us, the better we are at knowing our audience, the better we’ll be at writing content they’re likely to read and respond to.
Christopher Butler is an author and Vice President of Newfangled, a niche US web development company specialising in websites that work for marketing services companies.
Content with meaning
– Charles H. Green
- Don’t just produce content—say something.
- If your content doesn’t have a message, it’s just content.
- Don’t be content with “just content.”
- Content is less than the sum of the words; meaning is greater.
- When you write, speak or sing; do with a particular real person in mind.
Value can’t be faked
Thank you to all who gave their ideas here. They sum it up for me. Truly valuable, high quality content has all the attributes they describe so well: it’s useful, relevant, informing my world world, created with deep understanding of the reader; it has substance, an opinion – all made visual by strong design.
And just one last comment from me: valuable content is not a ‘technique’ – you’ve got to care, to believe in what you put out there – true value can’t be faked.
What is your view?
How about you? What content do you find valuable and why? I’d love your thoughts.