As we enter 2015, it will become increasingly harder to cut through the noise, especially in crowded and competitive industries, like digital marketing.
This is great news for us who publish quality content, because it will make us focus on the effective channels with meaningful discussions, while avoiding the crowded ones.
“Quality” is one of the topics I can get pretty emotional, because I can’t stand anything that is done halfheartedly and with a “bored” attitude. Whatever work I am involved in, I want it to be top-notch, even at my own expense sometimes.
If it doesn’t meet my quality criteria for any reason, it gets “on hold” or even permanently trashed.
You should be able to do the same, without the slightest remorse.
Note: The only exception is when you test a minimum viable product – a totally different scenario.
I digress… let’s learn how to level up our content!
What Is Quality Content In B2B
Ok, here most people will say it’s a matter of personal taste…
Well, I have to disagree on this.
I am pretty sure everyone reading an article regarding their profession or business, can instantly say if it is an amazing piece with substance and worth their time, or just garbage written by some clueless writer who is not in the industry and just wants to crank out “content” as fast as possible, so that he gets paid.
You see, us humans, tend to have more commonalities than differences. When judging something, a b2b piece of content in our example, we all have some universal preferences.
Some people might find it “Good”, some other “Great” and some other be so motivated by it, that they share it everywhere.
However, only rarely, you will find someone finding it “Amazing” and at the same time, somebody else finding it “Horrible”. These are huge discrepancies and very unlikely to happen.
Let’s find out what classifies a piece of content as “quality”. There are 2 perspectives, from the business and from the reader. Let’s see it from each one of them:
1) Perspective From The Business
The business, assuming it knows why it is doing content marketing and what to expect from it, wants content that will be helpful to their clients and potential customers, while tying it with their product.
It also wants their content to be read and shared, so that’s why it will optimize its structure, along with a slick design to encourage those actions. If its content just scratches the surface on each topic and it’s not polished, even following the right guidelines won’t achieve anyone’s goals and will end up wasting money and effort.
The business wants sales and it knows that its interests are best served when their clients’ needs are served.
2) Perspective From The Reader
The readers want to advance theirs careers and/or businesses.
They are being bombarded with ads, emails and content from everywhere. That’s why they have learned to trust some sources and be part of their loyal audiences.
So, the business has to cut through the noise with content promotion, find its audience and earn their trust.
For readers to give their trust, they want to read great content from the business and advance in their life. They want depth, action, some entertainment and education.
Only then, they might go and get the products or services the business offers, in order to achieve maximum results.
How To Test Your Assumptions
So, you have a piece of content. What’s the 1st step before you start promoting it?
You simply ask yourself: “Am I willing to promote this to communities and at places where experienced people hang out, or am I shy and afraid they will tear it down, because it is shallow?”.
Yup, the 1st step is that simple.
Everyone knows deep down if what they publish is top notch or just something “good enough” in order to get a few visitors. If it is top notch, they won’t have a problem promoting it.
However, when you start out, you are a bit unsure.
That’s why you start promoting it to a short circle, like your social media, email subscribers, RSS subscribers, a couple communities, colleagues, etc.
If you see a positive response in the form of “wow” comments, shares and “thanks for sharing”, then you know you have a winner.
If it falls on its face or has a negative backlash you either need to improve your content or how you frame it in your promotion.
Also, you will want to see in your Google Analytics low bounce rate and high time per visit. My bounce rate is pretty low, because we have a nice design, targeted traffic and specific content guidelines we follow:
Sometimes you will receive negative comments, even if you have a masterpiece. It’s only natural if you get lots of responses, some of them to be negative. What you want to pay attention to is the ratio. The number of the positive comments should outnumber the negative ones.
When you get a negative comment you have to think if the commenter is a “hater” or has valuable points. Whatever the case, you should address him/her elegantly.
Easier To Get Whitehat Backlinks
Whitehat backlinks or editorial links are those valuable links that drive referral traffic to your site and at the same time give your site SEO value as well.
When you publish great valuable content other people will mention you, source you and the promotion will naturally drive natural backlinks to your site and potential partnerships/opportunities that otherwise wouldn’t have come your way.
All these are part of the brand awareness and thought leadership you are also building with your content.
If you want, you can also take it a step further and do Brian Dean’s skyscraper technique, which can be valuable if used in moderation.
Quality Content vs Ads
For some bizarre reason, some people who are into content marketing hate paid ads and some people who are into paid ads, hate content marketing. Why this is happening is beyond me…
Truth is you want both in order to dominate. Each one usually serves different goals, but that’s for another blog post!
Just keep in mind one of those 2 channels doesn’t necessarily neglect the other…
How To Get Quality Writers, Yet Affordable
Finding quality writers can be a huge roadblock on its own, but let me say something first. If you are looking for cheap, quality content, you need to stop right now, you won’t find it.
Have been there, done that. Please trust me on this one, if you aren’t into writing content yourself and if you want to get top notch content that will entice readers for more, you will need to invest at least £90-100 ($150) per blog post to get it. Did I mention that this price is for blog posts over 500 words?
However, that’s an investment that will yield results for a long time and it will increase your branding, among others. The bad thing is even when you find writers among those prices, their content might not be worth it.
So, what do you do?
You can ask for referrals and keep searching on websites where pretty good bloggers hang out (like ProBlogger).
Now, it won’t be easy, but you should be able to get a few quality writers in a short timeframe. For the inexperienced ones, it might be 3-6 months or so. Usually, having 2-3 writers will be ok, but you need all of them to be top notch.
Only once you have found a few top writers you will be able to schedule posts in advance for a month or more and fill your content calendar. That’s because usually these writers are extremely busy and you won’t be their only client, which is ok.
To sum it up, with a short glance you should be able to say if a piece is bad, ok, good or great. You want content that falls under “good” or “great”, otherwise ditch it. The one question to answer yourself before publishing a post is “Would I mention this article to my colleagues and in general promote it? Am I proud of it?”.
If the answer is “Yes, definitely!”, publish it, promote it to your social media and email subscribers. Then if they like it, promote it to other channels as well. Great content will help you get more organic, whitehat backlinks among others.
You will definitely need at least 1 top notch writer to help you have consistently great articles for your blog and your readers.
Leave a comment and let me know how you find writers for your business.