The quality spectrum in content marketing

spectrum As CEO, you’re confident that your social media and content marketing is sorted. Someone handles your Twitter and Facebook, your blogging strategy, press releases, brand awareness and the general public face of the company. Maybe you don’t totally understand it, but you trust them to do whatever they think is best.

There’s a growing climate of casual acceptance in content marketing, which borders on complacency. While the various facets of social marketing are rapidly maturing, acquiring some kind of critical mass and effectively integrating with more traditional digital marketing tools, it still appears enough for many to just know the box is ticked.

Attention to detail can vary on the whim of management styles and competing priorities. If you don’t concern yourself with it, if you never look or read content that closely (because you feel alienated by it; it’s for younger people; you’re not a natural reader; you’re just too busy to be bothering yourself with it), it can all pass you by.

Depending on your model, this kind of marketing may not even be a business-critical function, but a luxury, a ‘nice to have’. You might get the occasional lead through it, maybe even a conversion or two. That’s heartening, and makes you think it must be working. Perhaps someone you only vaguely know makes a comment about seeing material on Facebook.

Respect the content

Content marketing has now earned its place and it’s not going anywhere. It deserves a little more attention, closer scrutiny, greater respect. This comes in the form of tracking and monitoring using tools like Google Analytics; seeing what works, what drives traffic, how website visitors land on your website, through what pages, how long they spend there, where they leave.

You also can measure using the obvious digits of followers and likes if you must, but my last post explains why that can be misleading you might be wary of this approach alone.

Arguably more important is generating quality content of a certain depth, for which you should be rewarded in search rankings by Google, or your other internet search engine of choice. Attention spans are shorter than ever, people get bored more quickly. Hell, most of you probably stopped reading this after the opening sentence, but I’ll persist regardless.

Many are over familiar with endlessly reheated blog posts, recycled Top 10 Things to blah blah in 2015. This is where aiming higher on the quality spectrum can pay off: a little deeper thought, a little more research, a degree of authenticity, an injection of character. It can keep people reading, improve brand recall, make people more inclined to click another link in the future – even if they did only read the first sentence before getting bored, receiving a text or tweet.

There is a spectrum of quality in content marketing today, and it is vast.

>> Your corporate Twitterstream can be a simple stream of retweets and headlines of other people’s articles with links. Box ticked. Or it can be something more personable and relatable to your business.

>> Your blog posts can follow a neat structure, a solid digestible formula, saying virtually nothing the reader didn’t know already. Box ticked. Or you can dare to have an opinion, risk being outspoken or opposing a certain viewpoint – which can seem taboo in stiff corporate worlds, but can help content to stand out.

>> Press releases (granted, a slightly different beast) can be a baggy impenetrable dirge of corporate speak, six drafts through a committee mangle. Box ticked. Or they can have a punchier brevity and be legible to reporters first time.

You get the point.

There is a spectrum to the quality of messages and the material you put out there. It all reflects on you, your company, your people, your brand. Because people do see it. Perhaps not many, but those who do will form opinions about your business (consciously or not), which they can pass on.

You can tick the low-end spectrum boxes with content marketing, or you can look closer, aim higher. With a better grasp of your content output, you can work to craft smarter messages for the multiple platforms available, developing better control of reputation, and cultivating an engaged, human audience in the process.

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This can be read alongside the last post – be careful who you follow.