Content, content everywhere, but not a thing to read? OK, so it’s a little dorky to quote the Rime of the Ancient Mariner but if you take a critical look at some of the major brands’ content programs you’ll see my point. Facebook Pages, Twitter feeds, websites, YouTube channels and even customer communities are overloaded with content. Yet, what value is it if a branded community has 1,263 pieces of content tagged to my keyword—and none of them meet my needs?
It seems that some brands have been so busy feeding the content beast that they have forgotten about the old adage: garbage in, garbage out. Consumers are pretty savvy when it comes to content. They know what they are looking for—and what they don’t need. Having searches or links yield results that are out-dated, off topic and just plain irrelevant only leads to frustration—and that’s not good for your brand.
During the last few years ComBlu, has developed our own point of view on content. Like other leading voices in the field we think it should come in multiple formats, be easy to find and easy to read. But our meter of “good content” goes a bit deeper. We encourage our customers to get beyond “share what you have “to” share what is needed.” Sometimes, turning what you have into what is needed can be as simple as refreshing statistics, flipping the results of a great study into an infographic or even taking a fantastic article for the web and changing the voice and style to be more social.
When helping a client to analyze its content holdings, I look for five attributes: relevant, accurate, engaging, complete and accessible. In this blog, I’ll take a closer look at relevant and accurate. Relevant content should be the easiest to develop. It is timely and answers a question or information need that has been expressed by your content consumers. Relevant content should also tie into your business objective—if it does not, then why are you offering it? The tricky thing with relevant content is that it has a shelf life. It is as important to remove content when its use or timeliness has passed, as it is to offer it in the first place. Nothing can make you appear to be more out of touch with your customers or the industry than out-of-date content. And when looking at branded content being offered, this is often the biggest “crime” you will see.
The next attribute you can use to evaluate your content is accuracy. When looking for accuracy, ask yourself if the data or information you share is still the most recent and latest thinking. Also, the content should be error free and communicate complete thoughts—be certain your information is correct and that you know the source. I recently worked on a content project with a medical group where everyone on the marketing and communications team quoted the same incredible stat. But when we asked them to include the source before they shared the information with their brand advocate community, they discovered the information they thought was based on an international, long-term study was really drawn from an undergraduate paper in the ‘60s involving less than a dozen subjects. It’s a funny story unless it’s your brand making the error—and it’s the media or a large group of your consumers doing the asking.
In my next post, I will cover more of the content quality attributes I use when evaluating content. Until then, please reach out via this blog or email at email@example.com and share your meter for evaluating content quality. Ideally, we can turn this into a dialog from which we can all learn and benefit.