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July 27, 2022 (Updated: March 8, 2023)
Content quality can be pretty subjective. What quality content means for one company can mean something entirely different to another. The quality of your brand’s content ultimately depends on your audience, industry, and business goals. The tricky part comes when trying to define what quality means for your team so they understand the standard they’re aiming for when creating content. In this guide, we’re discussing how you can define quality content for your team with topics like:
Three groups ultimately decide the quality of your content: your audience, search engines, and your team. Let’s take a closer look at how each group influences the definition of quality content:
Your target audience is the group with the most power to determine what counts as quality content. They know what they want—or better yet, what they don’t want—and you have to prove to them that your brand and content resonate. Creating quality content for your audience can be tricky. Even in your target market where people share similar characteristics, you still have to anticipate the wildcard of human behavior.
You can’t predict what someone is going to do for certain at any time. But you can get pretty close. Through market research, client personas, and customer feedback, you can better predict what people consider quality content and what they’d want to see from your business.
Related: The Big Question: When Creating Content You Should…?
According to Search Engine Journal, one of Google’s primary ranking factors is high-quality content. While audiences don’t look at content quality as page views, time spent on the page, or even content length and format, search engines do look at these factors when ranking quality.
When more people visit your website and stay on it for a longer period of time, search engines automatically identify the intent and assign qualifying factors that determine the quality of your content. When you tap into this intent, you create quality content that search engines are more likely to reward in the SERPs.
Related: Search Intent: An Introduction for B2B Marketers
The products and services you sell also help determine what quality content is. You want to please the audience, but if it means creating content outside the scope of what your company does, then it won’t offer value—ultimately diminishing the quality.
For example, let’s say you run a company that sells podcast hosting equipment and software. Your target audience is content creators looking to expand into podcast production. You do content marketing for your own brand, but don’t offer it as a service. Now, let’s assume Google releases an algorithm update that changes how it reads, ranks, and recommends blog content. Your target audience might care about this topic if they publish blog posts in addition to podcasts. Your marketing team probably cares about it too, since they use blog posts as part of your company’s content marketing strategy.
But would a blog post about the update support your podcast brand’s products and services, and provide high-quality content? Your audience might be interested in it. It’s possible if they spend enough time on the post page that search engines will find it high-quality, too. But what does it do for your sales or business goals? Spoiler alert: it does nothing. If the topic doesn’t connect to your business goals, it won’t make high-quality content for your brand.
CopyPress provides an in-depth content analysis using our tool, Thematical, to compare your content to your top three competitors. This comparison provides a list of gap topics that your content isn’t currently covering, giving you more ways to provide quality to your audience. Using this gap information, you can plan a content strategy around valuable topics to boost rankings, increase traffic, and convert more leads.
“CopyPress gives us the ability to work with more dealership groups. We are able to provide unique and fresh content for an ever growing customer base. We know that when we need an influx of content to keep our clients ahead of the game in the automotive landscape, CopyPress can handle these requests with ease.”
Director of SEO at Auto Revo
If your audience can’t trust your brand or the team behind it, why would they ever purchase from your company? One of the first ways to prove to your audience that your brand is trustworthy is by releasing quality content. When you make quality content, you know that you’re putting your best effort forward, no matter the outcome. If you have a list of characteristics that define quality for your brand and your team follows them, you know you’re doing all you can to reach your goals.
If you were the only company in your industry or niche, maybe turning out your best work wouldn’t matter as much. But competition is tough. You have to prove yourself to your audience. Why is your brand better than another? What can you provide them that nobody else can?
When everything you produce is high quality, from your products and services to your content, this builds trust with your audience. They know that what they get from you works, it’s accurate, and it fulfills their needs. Couple that with consistency, and it’s easier to turn leads into customers, and turn one-time customers into loyal, repeat clients.
Related: What Defines Quality Content?
Because of its relativity, there’s no pre-made checklist you can use to tell if your content is quality. But there are a few things to look for that can help you determine if your content is actually hitting home with your leads and clients. Look at your data, metrics, and feedback and check that your content:
Value is another concept that’s difficult to measure because it’s also relative. What’s valuable to one person may not be valuable to another. Or, it’s not valuable in the same way, for the same reasons. You can use some of the metrics you collect from your website, direct marketing, and social media channels to figure out what people find valuable.
If people read or watch your content in its entirety, it’s a good signal that you’re providing quality. Look at metrics like time spent on the page and bounce rates. Other key metrics like email open rates, engagement, social shares, and click-through rates (CTRs) are also metrics that can give you insight into the quality of your brand content.
Related: 8 Metrics To Consider When Interpreting Data from Analytics
Content marketing is a goal-based practice. You’re not doing it because writing or filming is fun, even though that’s part of it. It helps you reach larger business goals like getting more brand recognition, increasing your leads, or making more sales. You can determine how each piece of content helps your strategy by calculating its ROI. When you’re your content adds to your bottom line, it means it’s high quality and achieves important business goals.
Related: How To Measure the ROI of Content Marketing
If you’re still questioning what counts as quality content, consider some approaches to your research and ideation:
Since search engines play a role in determining content quality, they make excellent resources for understanding what audiences are looking for in the content they consume. Going straight to the source helps you determine not just what your audience is looking for, but why people search for certain topics online. Consider the following questions as you review search engine results and featured snippets for your content topics and keywords:
The insights you’ll gain from evaluating the snippets and results are extremely useful for ideating, outlining, and creating quality content. They also help you understand what Google currently thinks the most relevant content is for any given keyword. If it doesn’t match up with your industry, niche, or understanding of the topic, you can create something better and steal that prime real estate, and its related market share for your brand.
Look at what shows up in the featured snipped for the topic of this article, “what does quality content mean?”
You want to go above and beyond what’s featured here because high-quality content provides something more or better than what already exists to make it unique. To figure out what that could be for any topic or keyword, look at the “People also ask” section of Google to see what secondary questions Google and its searchers want to know.
You’ll notice for the same question, people also ask things like why quality content is important and what factors determine content quality. The more of these questions you can answer in the same piece, the more valuable your content may be to your audience, making it better than other pieces that already exist on the internet. You also get insights into why your audience is searching for these topics. They want information and knowledge. Knowing those things helps influence how you choose your content medium and the channels where you share it for maximum impact.
Related: Position Zero: A Look at Featured Snippets
Everything isn’t sunshine and rainbows all the time—not in business and not in life. You won’t do your audience any favors in your content by pretending it is. Be honest and transparent about things that could go wrong. Discuss problems your audience could encounter in the industry and things they could do to solve them. Acknowledging the bad but providing solutions to your audience’s challenges is more authentic than sweeping things under the rug. Authenticity helps build trust in your brand, and trust leads to client loyalty.
Some of your content’s quality comes from its format. Audience, competitor, and search engine research help you pick the right format for every piece of content you create. You may find some topics are better for written articles while others perform best as video or audio content. For example, videos are a great format for tutorials.
But every topic doesn’t have to stick to one format. You can repurpose a written article into a video, or create a step-by-step manual from a video tutorial. You can experiment with different channels and use the data you collect to support future strategies.
In content marketing, we know human behavior can be unpredictable. The larger a group of people you’re trying to please or influence, the more difficult it can get to meet the audience’s needs. Especially if your company offers a variety of products or services, each niche might have unique characteristics on what they view as “quality content.” When you focus on those individual niches, you develop even more targeted messaging that resonates with each group, leading to higher-quality content.
Related: FAQ: What Is Audience Segmentation?
When creating pieces and deciding where to put your team’s time and resources, consider how long a piece will last. Are you covering a fly-by-night topic that’s trending today but won’t matter tomorrow? Or are you writing about something that will still be relevant months or years down the road?
Evergreen content provides the most value for your audience over a longer period. While short-term, trending, and timely topics are still important to cover, you’ll want to make the bulk of your content center on topics that stay relevant for a long time.
What makes your audience tick? Is there an industry-wide problem that nobody can seem to solve? Do your leads have individual problems that your brand can solve? Customer pain points are the factors that motivate people to seek solutions. Their problems don’t have to be big. The issues don’t even have to be hard to solve. But when your target customers hit a wall, they’re more likely to look for outside help.
When you understand what your audiences’ pain points are, you can create content that positions your brand, products, or services as the solution. When you provide something that fills a need, you’ll add value and improve the quality of your brand content.
Related: 5 Secrets To Discovering Customer Pain Points
You’ve heard the saying, “practice makes perfect.” In content marketing, “testing makes perfect.” It’s one of the worst feelings to put a lot of time and effort into creating content just to see it flop. Avoid this letdown by testing your content on a smaller segment before you release it to the entire audience.
You might do an A/B test for email subject lines to determine which works best for encouraging opens. Your tests then show you which subject line is more popular and gets more click-throughs and engagement from readers. Any testing and research you do can also apply to more than a single campaign, giving you insights into future content for the same audience or segment.
CopyPress knows what it means to create quality content, no matter the industry or content need. We can also arrange a strategy call to discuss your goals. Get in touch to see how we can do even more for your business with our content services.