All of us who have been in the online marketing industry for some time already know that high quality content is what people want. We have also been bombarded with post after post telling us how to make high quality content, especially since the whole concept of content marketing caught on in the past year or two.
And yet with all these “tips and tricks”, every content marketing specialist has given us to make memorable, innovate and downright awesome content, there is still a deluge of forgettable, copy-paste, and downright mediocre content flooding the Internet (including the countless “how to create quality content” posts).
There is no permanent fix to this problem, as most humans are lazy by nature. We don’t want to put in the effort to do the research or the practice, or even to spend the money to hire the truly creative minds that can make high quality content. We cut corners, look for shortcuts, and pay peanuts just to have content up on our sites, and we pat ourselves on the back saying “at least we didn’t miss a day on our editorial calendar!”
No wonder our articles gain no traction on social media, don’t get any links from authority sites, barely drive much traffic, and generate little (if any) conversions.
Note that I’ve been using the pronouns “us” and “we”, because I admit to having the same attitude sometimes when writing posts. As a writer myself, I’ve struggled to come up with ideas for articles especially with deadlines to meet. That is the reality many of content developers live in, but we have to rise up to the challenge.
We can start by accepting another hard truth. If we keep on churning out the same old tired content, we will be heading down the path of online irrelevance. Not unless you’re some industry leader or famous celebrity, nobody will care about your “how to” post that’s been done to death by a hundred other writers.
I know for a fact that there are so many “how to write high quality content” articles out there, a couple of which have been written by yours truly. A quick Google search for that exact phrase will give you a list of highly valuable posts on the first page from big industry names like Copyblogger, Distilled, Hubspot and the Content Marketing Institute.
Would there really be much of a point in tackling the very same topic when it’s already been covered multiple times by established names that people trust and search engines already reward with high rankings? I believe that the people who look for those kinds of posts are Internet-savvy enough to click on the credible domains, filtering the rest that they don’t recognize.
Originality is key in creating high quality content, so rehashing topics will get you nowhere (the irony of me saying that is not lost on me). Telling you to “know your audience”, “write impactful headlines”, “cite examples”, “share a story”, “keep it simple and scannable”, and “make it engaging and actionable” (my personal favorite) would be regurgitating things you’ve probably already seen elsewhere.
Even if you think you’re writing something new, I dare you to look for it on Google first to prove just how innovative you think you are.
There are only two acceptable reasons for you to continue writing about something that’s already been written about. One is that you have a totally different angle to approach the topic to keep it fresh. If you have insight that no one else has brought up about the topic, you have my full support and the rest of the online audience will be grateful for your contribution.
The other reason is you know that you can do a better job than everybody else who has written about that one topic. If you can come up with a more comprehensive list of tips, provide more thorough case studies and statistics, have it published on an industry influencer’s site, or a combination of all three, then by all means write on and show everyone who can really make high quality content.
Don’t think you have anything new to say or you can’t come up with a better post? Stop writing now, and think of something else to write about.
Go into forums and comment threads that discuss the industry you need to write for, and hunt for questions that don’t have answers (or at least have answers that aren’t written in a structured manner that everyone can access). Consume more relevant content to see what gaps can still be filled. Talk to real people and ask them what their problems are, whether it’s through email, social media, a phone call, or even a sit-down face-to-face meeting.
Whatever it is you need to do to create something original, do it. Stop parroting what everyone else has been saying, contributing to the noise of online marketing content, and start making a name for yourself in the industry.
Writer, blogger (it’s different), and content marketing specialist, Joseph Berida is all about making great content. He also loves to talk about video games in Kambyero.