What makes good quality content?

By Posted in - Content on December 2nd, 2020 0 Comments A variety of cooking ingredients, including spoonfuls of spices and circles of onions, next to a saucepan. Text reads "What makes good quality content?"

A little while ago, I spotted a conversation in a Facebook group for content strategists about what makes good quality content. 

What was interesting to me was how the majority of people assessed content quality by deciding if it had performed well or had high engagement. 

My gut reaction had been very different – I went straight to readability, standards and points of grammar. 

Different perspectives

This got me thinking about how different roles perceive content. How often do we agree, as an organisation, on what good quality looks like?

Here’s an example. You are about to publish a course profile on your university website, what would you see as an indicator of ‘good quality content’?

Your answer could depend entirely on who you are:

– the academic who provides the facts will want to make sure it’s accurate
– the designer will want to make sure it meets brand requirements
– the marketing manager wants to highlight selling points clearly
– the editor wants to check against the style guide
– the content designer wants to make sure it’s accessible
– the SEO writer wants to make sure it’s findable
– the reader wants to know how to apply

One piece of content, many ways to say when it’s ‘good’. 

And it’s important to recognise that all of these approaches are valid in their own way. The fact that they all exist make for the very best quality content. 

8 Pillars for good quality content

I think we could come together to define the key pillars of good quality content. If you’ve any more to add please let us know. 

1. Has a purpose

How can you say it’s good if you don’t know who it is for? A simple statement to identify why it exists will help you define how its success should be measured. 

An example could be a form to sign up for our open day. It will be seen as ‘good’ (effective) content when 1,000 people have signed up. 

2. Meets user need

How can your content be good if it doesn’t deliver something helpful? It should help your user/reader do something. It can be the plainest piece of text in the world but if it answers MY question it’s goo d content to me. 

3. Supports organisational goals

Content might be good if it supports business objectives. You might strive to improve your staff’s work life through your content: an easy to understand staff intranet could reduce calls to your IT support desk on a daily basis. 

4. Accessible for all

Good quality content will adhere to accessibility requirements such as alt text on images, captions on videos, clear, readable content and good design contrast. If it doesn’t, you are excluding people from accessing content, let alone helping them understand if it is good or not. 

5. Keeps to brand

Good quality content will be consistently presented. The use of the organisational font, logo or colour palette all reinforce the brand and help you to showcase professionalism and trust in your content.

6. Generates leads

Engagement is a way to assess the quality of your content. If it’s out there generating organic traffic or leads for your organisation, it could be good quality and working well. As well as these metrics, consider what else might help you assess the quality of your content: time on site, bounce rate, shares, comments, forward paths. 

7. Outshines competitors

Have you done any sector-wide scanning recently? Understanding how your competitors are approaching new content challenges could give you ideas to improve content quality. If you were to objectively assess your content against others, is it doing better or worse? Consider reviewing measures such as search performance, readability, and engagement across the sector to benchmark yourself. 

8. Has meaningful narrative

This measure of ‘good’ encourages you to think about the content across multiple channels. Your content should be created in a way that bridges your content ecosystem and checks in at key points on your user journeys. This aligns with some of the other pillars such as brand, accessibility and user need. At each stage your content helps to build trust, brand awareness and meets your audience’s needs. 

None of these things individually make content good. You need to find the combination that works for you. Whatever it looks like, embed it into your governance practices to make it happen. 

If you want to explore any of these ways to review your content or integrate them into your content strategy, we’d love to work with you to make it happen. Pickle Jar Communications can support you with competitor reviews, accessibility assessments, content creation, measurement and audience needs. So, please get in touch with us!

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