A Scenic Tour of the Online World

Quality Counts – Creating Great Content

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

It’s easy to get sucked into the “more is better” mindset. There are lots of social media stars who seem to view Joyce Carol Oates as a goddess: like the prolific author, they’d rather publish more than less.

Unfortunately, not all of these social media stars have the same talent as Ms. Oates. For many of them, less would indeed be more.

That’s because publishing less means you can devote more time to the content you do publish. That should make the content better. Less also means you can focus your efforts on developing your best ideas rather than all of your ideas. And most of all, less can also mean that you train your audience to expect really great stuff every time they see you in their feed, stream or inbox.

So how do you do this? At first glance, you’d think publishing less would be easier. And it is – if you’re comfortable publishing at the same level. But if you want to improve the quality of your marketing content, you have to do three things: plan, research, review.

Planning Better Quality Content
Great content doesn’t necessarily happen on schedule. So writing your 2pm blog post at 1:30 is probably not going to work out as well as it could. At least, not most of the time. You should be writing in advance of publication, and reviewing to be sure that your work is fitting into your broader plans.

The value of having an editorial calendar in place is beyond measure. It should map out what you need to be writing about, how it should align with the products and services you’re marketing, and where along the buying cycle it will appeal to your target audience.

Research Content, Research Your Audience
Having a plan and sticking to it only get you so far. They give you the tools you’ll need to create great content, but you still have to produce. That means knowing what “great” looks like. And knowing that requires you to research the topic, find what’s already out there, and determine whether you can add something to the larger conversation from a perspective that provides value to your audience.

Know the space you’re writing about, know the other experts and key opinion leaders, and know what they stand for – your audience certainly will. That means you either have to give them something different, or do what someone else is doing better.

Review Your Work – and Your Audience’s Reaction
Sometimes it’s hard to review your own work. You might naturally see only the errors and things you wish you had done differently. Still it’s an important piece of the content marketing puzzle.

It’s also easier to do if you do it from a quantitative standpoint – and from your audience’s perspective. Even if you think you could have written a piece better, if that piece gets 50% better engagement than your usual work, you’re on to something. Stick with that topic, or that channel, or whatever you can identify about it that is different from your norm.

If you can keep a (constructively) critical eye trained on your content marketing efforts, and you have a framework of goals set up against which to measure your progress, you’ll make it much easier to create content that is measurably better and maybe even great.

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