If you publish content, it doesn’t have to stellar to have value. But it at least needs to be of good quality. Otherwise, publishing content is counterproductive—instead of making your company look professional and capable, it does the opposite, potentially costing you sales and credibility.
With this important reality in mind, below are three necessities for creating quality content.
1. Quality Content Is Clear, Well Organized and Well Constructed
Quality content has clarity. Always. That means:
- Clearly define the topic, and stay on topic.
- The content is well organized.
- Individual paragraphs and sentences are easy to understand. Use the active voice and write short sentences (occasional long sentences are OK).
- Keep errors—especially grammatical and spelling errors—to a minimum.
2. Quality Content Is Persuasive
Pamela Hurley, founder of Hurley Write, Inc., a company that specializes in providing writing courses, offers an excellent description of what it means to be persuasive:
“When we use the term ‘persuasive,’ we’re using it very broadly; in other words, being persuasive involves more than simply getting a reader to change his/her mind, it’s about persuading the reader of the writer’s competence, professionalism, and intelligence. And, of course, part of this persuasion is certainly ensuring that our document is clear and that it ‘flows.’ Writing a persuasive document means understanding how to create a document so that it meets reader needs, is useful, and helps readers access the information they need when they need it.”
In short, to be effective, content needs to be smart, well argued and provide value to readers. That’s how content helps you appear competent, professional and intelligent—qualities that are important to communicate to readers, especially sales prospects.
3. Quality Content Is Visually Appealing
It might surprise you to see this on the list. But online content’s visual appeal is nearly as important as the words. The reason? Readers today expect visual appeal. Failing to provide it makes your content appear dated, and your company behind the times. A few important suggestions include:
- Have at least one large, high-quality image in every content piece.
- It’s good to use charts, when they make sense.
- Make documents scannable when possible. Many readers are actually skimmers, so eye-catching features such as bullets have great value.
- Break up text with headers.
So take a look at your content, and make sure it has the three necessities of quality content.