Drivel drivel junk garbage, waste-of-your-time blah blah pointless re-hashed drivel drivel.
Would you read the rest of this post if it kept going on like that? Better yet, if this was a white paper and later you received a call from my friends on the sales team, what would you tell them?
If you’re responsible for lead generation, it’s got to be a high priority that you’re not producing drivel. Putting out a lot of content looks like you’re getting it done, and the leads flowing in look like fantastic results. But these people filled out your form before they saw your content catastrophe. Then your sales team starts calling them, and the fun begins.
With every call, your sales team will discover that even though you’ve sent them great leads, they can’t start a conversation with anybody because your stuff was junk.
They’re hearing a lot of this:
- Diplomatic: “It wasn’t what I expected.”
- Annoyed: “I found it kind of unhelpful for my needs.”
- Honest: “It wasn’t written well. It seemed like it was just an ad.”
- Brutal: “It was the worst piece of garbage I’ve ever downloaded. You wasted my time.”
It would be better to bring in no leads at all than to completely burn these people. They now know about your brand, and they have a fairly negative opinion of it.
Lead generation is kind of a social contract. You deliver free material for an audience, but it isn’t really free for them, because they give you important contact info. Nor is it free for you, because you have to put in the work. This is the huge hidden danger with content marketing. You’re torn between quality vs. quantity leads, and there’s a constant need to feed the beast. A lot of content marketers are very good at filling the trough, but one of their top concerns is raising content quality.
Say it with me: The quality of the content equals the quality of the lead.
You can’t sell to someone if you have broken the contract by giving them drivel in return for their name. This matters whether you produce white papers, e-books, videos, animations, webinars, newsletters, or anything you think is worth a name.
What to do to improve content quality?
- Have a point - It is best to avoid complicating your material. If you have a single topic to cover, it’s better to stick to it rather than add bits and pieces that aren’t relevant. If you want to cover several different topics that all seem to relate to one another, use a series instead of putting it all into one document.
- Be clear - If the topic is about using a widget to improve the airflow velocity of composite wings, why not call it “Using a widget to improve the airflow velocity of composite wings”? Much has been said about the value of using funny or clever titles for all kinds of content, but your goal is to get people to read or watch, not to make them laugh or mislead them.
- Support it - You’re making many points in your content, and it helps to show that you’re not alone. Use links to relevant and supportive pieces, preferably research material, to support the points and arguments you are making. It will raise your credibility and also the value of your content.
- Fix the slop - It needs to be said: proofread, proofread, proofread. Have others proofread. And when they find mistakes, fix them without much ado. It’s not a novel, it’s business. Don’t cry over the loss of a very clever and funny line, just publish a correct piece and move on. It’s not a bad idea to implement some consistent content quality control practices too.
- Be consistent - Your organization has a brand and a personality, and readers and viewers expect it to be pretty much the same whenever you produce material. It is better for them and for you if you and your copywriters stick to the story when they write about your organization and its value proposition.
- Change it up - This would seem to differ with the above point, but as long as you have a consistent message, you don’t have to use one voice to make your case. Somebody else’s writing or delivery can be a breath of fresh air to your readers and viewers. Just as you use different types of content to appeal to different kinds of people, you can use different people to stylistically diversify your content.
Additionally, quality content is not just for private content meant for lead generation. Google’s most recent algorithm update, called Penguin, ensures that quality content will drive better SEO and site traffic.
By the way, this post contains a couple of split infinitives. Can you find them?
Your comments welcome!