What Is High Quality Content And Why Is It So Important?
“We need to stop interrupting what people are interested in and be what people are interested in” – Craig Davis.
Wise words in a modern world where we are all constantly bombarded by so many irrelevant advertising messages, both on and off-line. And it’s a lesson that so many companies need to learn.
You can shout as much as you like, but just because you have a message that you want to advertise, doesn’t necessarily mean that others want to hear it. More often than not you’ll be getting in people’s personal online space, probably annoying them and alienating them at the same time. Meaningless corporate content is a prime example of this.
Remember the good old days, when your post box was stuffed on a daily basis with meaningless ‘junk mail’? Well, todays online content, if incorrectly targeted, or irrelevant for its intended audience, is the modern form of junk mail.
- How does one fight through the online clutter and converse with consumers in an effective manner?
- How do we encourage brand loyalty?
- How do we achieve sales conversions?
Actually, “quite simple” is probably an understatement. The concept may be simple, but in practice, generating high quality content requires a constant focus and the expertise of agencies like Sonous Digital, who are there to help companies develop great digital marketing strategies.
What Is Content Marketing?
When consumers are interested in buying a product, they usually conduct some form of research. They either search formally on search engines like Google, for more specific information, or passively on social media platforms. Here they encounter more informal content. Content takes many forms, whether in written, video, or audio format, podcasts, e mails, infographics and the like.
In the past, marketers could ‘stuff’ their content with keywords that were attractive to search engines, because of their relevance to consumers. In this way companies could achieve good result in search engine rankings.
This “keyword stuffing” became ineffective when Google changed its algorithms to discourage the practice and improve the search experience for customers.
As social media platforms grew, consumers learnt to consume content in a different way, or more passively. Companies realised the need to change their approach by developing quality content which consumers found to be interesting, entertaining, relevant and hence shareable.
Search engine ranking algorithms now recognise and prioritise content that is identified as being most relevant to searchers and that addresses exactly what they are searching for.
The result of this is the need for companies to constantly generate excellent quality content, that is aimed at satisfying the needs of their target market. And most importantly, this needs to be done in a way that is not perceived to be invasive or insulting to people.
Content marketing is all about managing the process of generating high quality, relevant content and why specialist agencies like Sonous Digital exist. They spend an inordinate amount of time getting to know their client’s business and market trends, in order to be able to identify and generate meaningful high quality content
Why Is Quality Content So Vital?
In principle this is quite straight forward.
Very basically, without high quality content your company will not be ranked anywhere near the top of the search rankings by Google and other search engines.
When you are not positioned near the top of the search rankings, consumers are unlikely to end up at your website or social media platforms.
If visitors don’t end up on your platforms, you will be unable to interact with them onsite or to create potential relationships. Without this, you will not achieve good sales conversions which are the ultimate aim of most digital marketing strategies.
WHAT CONSTITUTES GREAT CONTENT?
One of the overall aims of any decent marketing strategy is to create a great ‘user experience’ for customers. This user experience should be consistent across all marketing platforms and consumer touchpoints. It extends to the content that you publish on your website and various social media platforms, where consumers most often interact with your company into today’s online world.
Great content is that which will reinforce brand loyalty amongst existing customers and also help to encourage new customers. It should always reflect the personality and values of the brand, as experienced on the ground.
It is content that will serve to interest and entertain, which answers questions that people might have of the brand in their minds and that solves relevant problems for them. It is content that people feel obligated or encouraged to share with others.
It should not be too intrusive. It should be honest. It should not talk down to people, it must converse with them.
At a most basic level, great content is content that achieves whatever goal was set for it in the first place, the most important being that it is recognised as being valuable by search engines and which therefore achieves a prominent position in search rankings.
SOURCES OF INFORMATION
The sources that you mine for potential information are determined by the content strategy and plan at a given time. These can be both internal and external.
Content can be required at regular intervals or intermittently, depending on the content plan, what type of content is required and the purpose it will serve. Sourcing quality content is challenging and often dependent on the motivation and willingness of others to assist.
There are a host of sources that a company can use to mine content and some ideas include:
- Internal content – content generated from within the organisation at corporate and department level, from appointed thought leaders and by staff.
- Social media and forums – content generated from customer feedback, interaction or even complaints and discussion on various forums
- Market research – new content or changes generated by the results of in-depth research
- Industry thought leaders – content contributed by industry experts
- Industry publications – content taken for specialist industry publications
- Freelancers and specialist agencies – content that is generated and paid for by various expert suppliers
Encouraging Internal Support
Generating regular and meaningful content from within your organisation can be a source of extreme frustration for most marketers. The most common areas of concern are usually
- A lack of commitment from other departments and
- Securing a reliable supply of information.
We’ve all experienced the excitement of kicking off our new digital marketing strategy. It starts off well, with much internal fanfare and the promise of ongoing support from all and sundry. Only a year later, deadlines are looming and we’re pulling our hair out, trying to chase up the promised feedback, photographs, charts or information from all concerned.
Here’s how to try and secure a sustainable level of enthusiasm and support from within:
Ensure senior executive interest and support
It starts at the very top, with the whole executive. Without the support of these heads of individual departments you are doomed to failure. These are the people you will need on your side in the long run to encourage, or demand if needs be, whatever input or information you have been promised.
Identify areas of interest and appoint thought-leaders
This entails deciding on what information your target audience will find interesting and stimulating and where it is that you can illicit such content. Once you have identified relevant subject matter, then you need to find the experts within the organisation, who will commit to supporting the initiative and to supplying the necessary as and when required. More easily said than done to be sure!
Organise regular communication meetings or brainstorming’s
It is a guarantee that as your digital strategy progresses and grows, the harder it will be to get the information that you need from all role players. It is human nature that people become bored. You’ll need to change it up from time to time and to remind and cajole as necessary. Regular meetings or brainstorming for content matter offer a good opportunity to encourage ongoing interest and participation in content generation!.
Include all internal brand ambassadors
We tend to forget that our own staff members are perhaps our best brand ambassadors. Who better placed to go out into the world and spread the word than a loyal and dedicated employee? As long as they are motivated to do so that is, make sure to include all staff in any social media posts or other online initiatives as much as possible. Brief them upfront and ensure that they understand the objectives. Encourage them to provide input and feedback in the form of information that you can use as content. Incentives will also go a long way to encourage staff input.
Share successes with the whole team
One thing that we often neglect, is to share our marketing successes. Sharing successes and results with the rest of the corporate team is a great way to keep the need for information and content top of mind. It helps to encourages enthusiasm, pride and the stimulation to stay involved and to partake in the online brand related conversation
Set strict deadlines for feedback
Time breeds familiarity and lethargy and when people are under duress, then having to supply information can become a major hassle to some.
From a business perspective there is often the need to have to enforce the discipline of meeting content deadlines by due date. Online marketing is serious business, with serious budgets. Any modern company’s performance and growth is directly affected by the success or failure of its e-commerce initiatives.
Every company requires a well thought through content strategy, supported by monthly content plans and with strict deadlines for submission by relevant thought leaders. For any corporate digital marketing strategy to be a success, all departments must adhere to specific deadlines.
Luckily, when all is said and done, if your content strategy has been successful, then it will become self-feeding, as both internal and external customers begin to interact and feedback information that can become future content of interest.