What Makes Content Good?
When you read the Inbound Marketing trade press you learn that content has all kinds of abstract attributes, all kinds of qualities.
Content can be innovative, compelling, of quality.
We’re all told to ensure our content meets those standards.
The problem is those terms are rather vague and mean different things to different people.
Additionally, some recognized marketing guru’s spread this same message. There is talk on the Internet where Seth Godin instructs us to make products that are “remarkable”. Some other marketing guru (whose name slips my mind right now) believes the recipe to success is for your product or service to be “amazing”, then allow “word of mouth” to be your marketing.
Easier said than done, especially if you sell boring products or services like concrete, pressure washing, or pet food.
Your Content Must be Innovative
Serious, what does that mean? My content is going to cure cancer? Settle Mars? Improve my kid’s grades?
My best interpretation is your content must describe something innovative.
Which is great unless you sell something really useful, but boring. Like gasoline. We all put it in our cars, but gasoline due to it’s very nature is not very innovative.
Your Content Must be Compelling
This is a little better. Compelling means people want to read it and more importantly want to share it.
Why do I distinguish between you reading it and you sharing it? Because we can all be tricked into reading (or at least starting to read) a post by a compelling headline, but if the post is crap we don’t share it.
Back to gasoline. If you had truly innovative gasoline (let’s pretend you’ve figured out how to make zero emission gasoline), people would share it.
Your Content Must be Quality
What defines quality content? How do I distinguish low quality content from high quality content?
Since different people have different views on what is quality, what is your guideline?
What Does Google Say?
Fortunately, Google is very clear on what quality is, and below is one sentence that encapsulates their idea beautifully…..
Another useful test is to ask, “Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn’t exist?”
Your Content Must be USEFUL
Google uses the paradigm of “do, learn, go” in defining what is and is not useful. People search online in order to do things, learn things, and find things.
The better your content helps your readers “do, learn, go”, the higher it’s quality.
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