No Content is Better Than Bad Content

- Shawna Schimnowski

You’ve done your homework on content marketing, you’ve built your schedule, defined your goals and now it’s time to generate content. But is your content “quality” content?

If you’re hoping to get the attention of key decision-makers in the seed industry, you better speak “their” language. If your content is self-evident, common and unhelpful, you will likely lose the reader’s attention.

According to a study from Forrester, 51 percent of marketers state that their content marketing efforts are only somewhat effective — and part of that is due to poor content in the first place.

How do you avoid these pitfalls? Here are 10 guidelines for creating quality content. Content must be:

  1. Valuable – It’s nice to be entertaining, but being valuable is the first step to building a trusted relationship. Solve a problem or answer a question, and you will attract lasting attention.
  2. Useful – If content helps your customers, it will become important to them.
  3. Contextual – Is your content in the right place at the right time? How are you promoting it? Is it personalized?
  4. Easy to Consume – Think about the right format (written, audio, video, visual and length). Attention spans are short, so get your message through in the first 100-200 words.
  5. Visual – Quality photos and graphics are proven ways of increasing reader engagement.
  6. Mobile Friendly – When you deploy your content, is it consumable on a smartphone or tablet? Are your website and newsletter mobile friendly?
  7. Shareable – No, we don’t mean a social sharing button, but rather does it encourage your audience to share it with their colleagues and customers? Does your content have human interest? Is it thought provoking? Does it share a unique insight?
  8. Findable – Content that can’t be found won’t be read. Are you amplifying your content through internal and external channels? How are you growing your audience?
  9. Non-intrusive – Content marketing isn’t useful if you spam your audience. Carefully manage your inbound marketing and nurture your audience.
  10. Trustworthy – Your touchstone when writing content should always be: “Am I reinforcing or establishing my brand as a trustworthy, audience-focused expert? Make sure the answer is “yes,” and then keep your promise.

Any piece of content that doesn’t at least tick three of these boxes should probably go in the recycling bin. No content is better than bad content.