How would you rate your content?

Great? Good? Good enough?

Well, I’ve got news for you: Your blog is probably rubbish – or at least peppered with some rubbish.

I may be wrong. But chances are I’m not – because 65% of businesses find it hard to produce engaging content.1

And with over 4 million blog posts published on the internet every day2, it’s no wonder it can be tricky to cut through the crap clutter and tap into a topic in an effective way.

When it comes to content, consistency is key. But what happens when you favour quantity over quality and creativity?

Well, you end up with an inventory of mediocre content that has been done to death, adds no value to your consumer, and does nothing for your brand perception.

And that’s where the internet is now; an incessant vortex of generic drivel we’ve ripped off someone who ripped it off someone else.

Content is no longer king. Its throne has been usurped by clickbait, trolls, and content farms posting throwaway fodder for the sake of ticking off their weekly to-do list.

So how can we stop the cycle of seen-it-all-before stuff and provide our audience with genuinely engaging and beneficial content?

Not everyone can write

First things first, we need to be honest with ourselves.

If you’re going to call yourself a professional writer, for the love of literature, you’d best be outstanding at it.

You may think you’re smashing it with that 500-word blog post on whatever, but if it’s riddled with grammatical errors, poor phrasing, and a predictable same-old formula, your readers are going to click away faster than you can say bounce rate.

And believe it or not, grammar still matters. A typo could cost you your audience’s trust; many potential customers base their immediate impression of your brand on what they see online. In fact, 74% of people notice spelling and grammatical errors on websites, and a whopping 59% disregard the products of companies with these errors.3

If syntax isn’t your strong suit, set some standards and get someone else on board to create high-quality content, or it could cost you.

The frequency trap

There’s a misguided notion businesses have about needing to publish content on their blog as often as possible. How often have you heard yourself (or your clients) ask one of the following questions:

  • Isn’t it better to have heaps of new articles up on my site?
  • Shouldn’t I try to post more than my competitors?
  • Can’t I just take that guy’s idea and spin it into my own thing, slap a Shutterstock image on it, and call it a day?

No, no, and definitely not.

Rushed content with no real substance will quickly be overlooked and forgotten. Your readers will go elsewhere to be informed, entertained, surprised, and engaged – and they likely won’t be back any time soon.

Inbound marketing platform Hubspot hit the nail on the head back in 2011 with this gem:

“Don’t dilute your high-quality content with mediocre or low-quality content. The consequence for doing so is the cheapening of your audience’s overall perception of your content and thus, your brand.”5

One quality article that reaches and connects with your customer adds far more value than a handful of hurried, unoriginal pieces. So don’t just post for the sake of posting regularly.

Compromising quality and creativity for quantity won’t benefit your audience or your brand.

Content marketing is king

The numbers are in: 61% of consumers feel better about a company that delivers custom content, and 78% believe companies providing custom content are interested in building good relationships with them.4

A blog done well can do wonders for your SEO, brand authority, and customer relationships. But if you don’t have a content marketing strategy behind your blog, it can be more like a dumping ground for blindly strung-together sentences than an effective marketing tool.

A crucial part of any content marketing strategy is to identify your target audience. Who are you in conversation with? What do they want to read about? What do you want your content to do?

An effective content marketing strategy answers these questions to inform valuable and intentional content for your audience. It also guides your content so you can avoid scrambling for a topic at the last minute.

Content marketing removes the randomness and replaces it with consistency.

When your content is consistent, so too is your brand. And brand consistency is the best way to forge trust and loyalty with your audience.

A Lucidpress study found brands who presented themselves consistently have an average revenue increase of 23%.6

Don’t expect the same success relying solely on a “spray-and-pray” approach.

Creativity is queen

An informed content marketing strategy should go hand in hand with creativity.

Writers are inherently creative. We’re no strangers to persuasive prose or a perfectly timed pun.

But being in the marketing game also means we’re privy to data and deadlines and algorithms and automation. And it seems we’ve forgotten what our content is really there for: to engage with our customers. To evoke an emotion. To create a mutually beneficial conversation.

Customers have wised up to the old marketing and advertising tricks. They want to feel something – and you can’t forge an emotional reaction with salesy content or unoriginal ideas.

With such an overwhelming oversaturation of information at our fingertips, and attention spans now shorter than ever, you can bet your bottom line no one’s sticking around for the CTA on your generic blog post.

There is no magic formula to creating content that connects. But putting the individual reader at the centre of everything you write sure is a great way to start. And what better way to spark a feeling than by putting some soul into your content?

Ditch the formula. Dig deeper. Get creative.

Content needs measuring, too

You measure your ad impressions and your click-through rates, but what about the KPIs for your content?

Content measurement is one of the most important elements to improving your content efforts over time. It helps you identify what resonates well with your audience and what best benefits your business.

Your content measurement framework should complement the objectives you’ve outlined in your content marketing strategy.

Are you looking to build backlinks? Up your organic traffic? Grow your mailing list subscribers? Start a conversation on socials?

Keep in mind it’s very rare for an article to do everything. You might publish something that goes crazy on Facebook, but brings in next to no organic traffic. Don’t expect every article to tick every box.

Be specific with your goals to ensure you’re looking at the right things when measuring the success of your content.

Check out our article Have We Reached Peak Content? for more insights into the present and future of digital content.

References:

  1. https://optinmonster.com/content-marketing-statistics/
  2. https://hostingfacts.com/internet-facts-stats/
  3. https://realbusiness.co.uk/poor-grammar-on-websites-scares-59-away/
  4. https://www.business2community.com/content-marketing/9-stats-need-know-content-marketing-relationships-0701845
  5. https://web.archive.org/web/20160507110646/https://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/29823/Content-Quantity-Diminishes-Quality-Research.aspx
  6.  https://www.lucidpress.com/blog/25-branding-stats-facts
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Adrien Van Bruinessen

Adrien is a Content Manager at iProspect Brisbane. A self-proclaimed dog whisperer, her interests include reciting classic Simpsons quotes and listening to '70s rock - and she’s never said no to a glass of red.