The internet is a busy place. There are thousands of blogs, websites and articles competing for your audience’s attention. If you want to get people to notice your brand, you need to provide quality content that stands out from the rest. So what is quality content in inbound marketing, and how do you make sure you offer it to your readers?
What is quality content in inbound marketing?
There are many factors that make up quality content in inbound marketing such as relevance, helpfulness and a captivating writing style. But there’s one thing that all your content should have in common: it should solve a problem for your reader.
This doesn’t always mean you have to provide an intricate level of detail or simply write promotional content explaining how you can service them. It needs to be more nuanced than that depending on your overall strategy and the type of content you are creating.
For instance, if you’re a plumbing business looking to utilise blogging, you might want to prepare a strategy of tutorial-based guides or ‘how-tos’. A post on how to identify and fix a leaky pipe should present the signs to look out for and a range of step by step solutions that can be actioned, ending with a call to action to get in touch with you.
In contrast, your goal for social media might be about building brand awareness and engagement through conversational posts that invite users to interact with you. Therefore, the problem you solve for your readers might be as simple as providing entertainment or an opportunity for them to share their views.
In the above example, your social media strategy might include sharing a mix of humourous posts about plumbing fails as well as insights about the newest materials and techniques in your industry.
Meeting your audience’s needs is where quality – or value – comes in. Any piece of content is a point of connection between you and the reader. Your task before you create that content is to ask yourself:
1. What do I want the reader to gain from this?
2. How can I achieve that?
3. What action do I want them to take next?
If you’ve succeeded in creating quality content, a customer will leave your website (or other platform) having got what they came looking for. To find out whether you are satisfying your users, you can always introduce pop-ups or email out surveys to ask readers for their feedback, but just as good is checking the comments left on posts.
The markers of quality content: How to provide it
There are many ways to categorise quality, but one you definitely need to know about is Google’s E-A-T principle – the metric on which the search giant judges quality content. According to Moz:
“Google wants to be as certain as possible that they are recommending sites that display a high level of expertise, authority, and trustworthiness”.
This means producing unique content, establishing yourself as an authority, citing sources, and displaying your trust rating (such as through reviews and security certificates).
Let’s break down some of the other different aspects of quality content further.
The topic of your post must not only be relevant to you and what you offer as a business but what your customers are interested in. This means having a good understanding of your audience, what their pain points are and their values. For instance, if you specialise in efficient energy solutions, you’ll likely be appealing to money-savvy readers as well as those with an eco-conscience.
A good way to start brainstorming topics is to see what competitors are doing. Keyword research tools, such as SEMrush, Answerthepublic and Ahrefs are also great ways to find query-based longtail keywords your audience wants answers to. Voila – you have a blog strategy ready to add into your content marketing plan!
Now you know the questions, it’s time to provide the answers. Remember, you are an authority in your field – so if you can communicate this to your readers, they will trust you with their custom. Start brainstorming answers to your topics by jotting down as much as you know, then use resources online to fill in the gaps. Make sure your content offers actionable points or tips for your reader. Linking to articles on other third-party (non-competing) websites not only adds to that usefulness but may over time improve your backlinking profile too.
Well-written and captivating
The only caveat to the above point is that your readers likely won’t have the same level of knowledge as you do, so it’s your task to present the facts in easy to read language (no jargon!). Follow the conventions of good grammar and spelling too and write from your company’s brand voice, this will help readers relate to you.
An intriguing headline is also a surefire way to entice people to click on your content. Headline Studio is a good tool to try out your headlines to gauge the most effective before you use them.
Embedding other media into your blog posts, landing pages and social media posts can create more visual appeal. Shooting your own explainer videos, behind-the-scenes videos, company photos and creating your own infographics will better align with your target audience and shows you value your content enough to invest in it. But if you’re short on budget, you can find some affordable stock solutions online.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, but if your content doesn’t have something new to offer, then you’re likely not providing quality content. This could simply be giving a new slant on a well-worn topic.
But there’s another side to uniqueness – your content shouldn’t be plagiarised! Google will penalise you for duplicate content, so use several sources and write up your content from your brand voice. The cost of publishing duplicate content is far more than the time taken to craft quality content from scratch.
Tell a story
Don’t just rely on facts alone. Storytelling can bring your expertise to life and create emotional buy-in. Rather than a linear path from start to end, bring in examples, perhaps from your own company’s experience, to create highs and lows – all the hallmarks of suspense that make a reader want to keep going to the end. You could write about your company’s fundraising activities, how the idea came about or any setbacks you experienced. Or you could provide case studies, detailing how you helped a company or end-user overcome their problems.
Clarity and brevity
I.e. don’t waffle on! You want your customers to see the main points, so consider using structural devices such as subheadings, lists and clearly displayed links to improve readability. Box quotes also work well to make important information stand out.
It’s your duty to keep the quality cycle going round
These traits don’t just define quality for your reader but for Google too.
If you can output relevant, up-to-date, well-structured and engaging copy on a regular basis, then you’ll be rewarded with a higher ranking on Google plus more traffic to your site that’s more likely to convert because readers are getting what they want.
As Larry Kim for WordStream puts it:
“Google uses machine learning as part of its RankBrain algorithm, which is used on every search. And it’s a known fact that this algorithm is focused on E-A-T, or expertise, authority, and trust. One thing all machine learning systems have in common: they reward high engagement.”
Kim goes on to say that Google measures engagement engagement “through a combination click-through rate (people are clicking on your content) and dwell time (people are spending time and/or engaging with your content).”
So – the more value you give to your reader, the more Google will give back to you.
Ready to start creating quality content?
The actual writing stage can daunt many a business owner. That’s where professional copywriters come in. They can work with you to create content that is well-researched, well-written and on-brand, so you can spend your time doing what you do best. To find out more about creating a content marketing plan, take a look at our blog post.