Published on March 30, 2014
The Hallmarks of Content Quality Why they matter and how to achieve them March 29, 2014 1
What we mean by quality 2
3 “What is quality content? Ultimately, the consumer decides.” – Joe Chernov VP of Content, Hubspot
Quality guiding principles 4 The deﬁnition of quality varies across brands and audiences — but some basic guiding principles govern content quality. Relevance Structure Credibility Accuracy & Timeliness Clarity, Readability & Focus Findability & Organization Tone & Style Overall Experience & Effectiveness
Why invest in quality? 5 Quality supports your brand image. It showcases your commitment to professionalism and excellence. It helps you communicate your brand pillars and your brand personality. Quality helps you communicate clearly. Upholding quality standards ensures you get your message across and your customers hear you loud and clear. Quality supports your goals. More engagement with your marketing tactics, better search engine results, more efﬁciency in service — quality communications are more effective communications, making everything you do in your branding and marketing more successful.
Deﬁning & enforcing quality 6 CONTENT The 8 Hallmarks of Content Quality
Deﬁning & enforcing quality 7 RELEVANCE Relevance What it means • Delivering the right content to the right audience at the right place and time • Helping users find the content that best matches their needs How to achieve it • Get to know your audiences. • Understand how to interpret your data. • Put things in context with how audiences think. • Be as original as you can. • Segment and personalize content as much as possible. More on relevance: h-p://hub.am/1jCc5GW
8 STRUCTURE Structure What it means • How you organize your information to meet your communication goals • How to model content for efficiency and usability How to achieve it • Don’t bury the lead. • Focus on one topic per paragraph. • Let your thesis drive everything. • Build relationships/transitions between paragraphs. • Keep citations in a supporting role. • Think of content’s essential parts. More on structure: h-p://hub.am/1ihDgUB
Deﬁning & enforcing quality 9 CREDIBLITY Credibility What it means • Earning consumers’ trust • Communicating unique expertise How to achieve it • Be as objective as possible. • Make content useful and usable. • Make it easy to verify facts. • Be consistent. More on credibility: h-p://hub.am/1gOrVNY
10 ACCURACY Accuracy & Timeliness What it means • Angling your content to be relevant to audiences right now • Checking details and citing sources to ensure correctness of information How to achieve it • Stay nimble and provide information in context of news or trends. • Avoid riding coat-tails or blatant newsjacking. • Cite sources and attribute statistics and any potentially questionable facts. • Avoid sloppiness: check names, dates, places. More on accuracy & Hmeliness: h-p://hub.am/1ihDgUB
Deﬁning & enforcing quality 11 CLARITY Clarity, Readability & Focus What it means • Hook and keep your audience by making your point quickly • Clearly communicate your message to achieve your goals How to achieve it • Make it easy to understand. • Don’t use 10 words if you can use five. • Use a proven structure. • Make content scannable. • Stay on topic. More on clarity, readability & focus: h-p://hub.am/NxvWcS
12 FINDABILITY Findability & Organization What it means • Structuring your content to help users meet their goals and find what they need • Guiding readers to where you want them to go and find How to achieve it • Understand what users are looking for and what words they use to search for it. • Use highlighted content and cross-linking to guide users on their “adventure.” • Treat every page as page one. • Support effective search with keywords, meta data and a hierarchical URL structure. More on ﬁndability: h-p://hub.am/1chKxiP
Deﬁning & enforcing quality 13 TONE&STYLE Tone & Style What it means • Defining the personality of your brand • Telling your story consistently across channels How to achieve it • Define your tone of voice. • Choose words based on your audience. • Vary your sentence structure, but be consistent overall in length and flow. • Be consistent in your style and grammar. • Focus on your goals for each piece of content. More on tone & style: h-p://hub.am/P4Ykob
14 EFFECTIVENESS Overall Experience & Eﬀectiveness What it means • How your content makes people feel • How effectively your content achieves its goals (and helps consumers achieve theirs) How to achieve it • Use clear, benefits-oriented language. • Match compelling visuals with written content. • Use clear calls-to-action. • Be forthright and open in your messaging (avoid wishy-washy). More on experience & eﬀecHveness: h-p://hub.am/PkpS97
Deﬁning & enforcing quality 15
What does quality look like for your brand? 16 Deﬁne your quality pillars. What should your content always be? Fun? Provocative? Original? Determine your style. Set guidelines for your tone of voice, style and usage Set baseline expectations. Decide the minimum requirements for an acceptable piece of content.
Measure where you are today. • Audit your content. • Use content assessment tools to quantiﬁably assess how current content measures up to your standards. • Set goals for improvement and put processes and tools in place to achieve those goals. • Use measurement to communicate the importance of quality internally. Download our sample content assessment tool.
Get your team on board. Explain the need for quality in business terms. Get buy-in from senior managers and leaders. Incentivize quality content (contests, recognition) and encourage participation. Launch committee to steer strategy and enforce standards. Communicate improvement and correlate it to marketing success. Train teams and evangelize guidelines and tools.
Let us help you with your content quality! Get in touch to learn how Suite Seven can help you develop a content strategy for focus, standards and sustainability. Stacey King Gordon, President 510.292.4469 email@example.com www.suiteseven.com 20
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