Content is King, Part I: types of high-quality content
You may be using the mantra “Content is King” within your marketing team or throughout the agency. After all, it IS all about the content these days.
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Even the giants of streaming are opening up their wallets for content to fill their platforms. At the end of 2020, Netflix was shelling out $17bn per year on content creation. Their new and highly successful competition in Disney+ promised investors to scale their content budget from $2bn in 2020 to $8bn-$9bn in 2021. That’s a lot of zeroes right there.
Disney+ has no shortage of quality content to draw from. With those budgets, they are more than capable of ensuring the quantity delivered regularly. But let’s face it, the rest of us have to make hard decisions between quality and quantity. So, let’s talk about that.
What kind of content is the true king?
The simple answer to that question is high-quality content. Duh. Yet content is very subjective. What might be considered high-quality content on TikTok will be thrashed on hyper-specialized blogs on a narrow topic. So how do you define quality content?
First, let’s look at what God-Emperor Google has to say. Google measures content by three benchmarks: expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness - E-A-T for short. In most basic terms, you have to prove that your word as a specialist has authority, your website is trustworthy and won’t lead to data leaks, and you have authority within the community you are writing for.
But wait, there’s more. Your high-quality content must also be engaging, unique, offer value, must be made for people, not search engines, avoid cliches to lure said engines...but at the same time be ranked high in the search engine, be visible, show engagement and so on.
Besides being slightly contradicting, high-quality content is also expensive to create and hard to achieve. Here’s where medium and low-quality content comes in.
A short nod to medium and low-quality content
I personally define medium and low-quality content as written pieces that are based just on keywords. For example, our very own blog has an informative article on how to leverage marketing automation. There’s nothing wrong with the article - it’s a step-by-step guide with a checklist of things to consider when setting up automation processes. But the article doesn’t have sources, doesn’t offer deeper insights or fundamental strategies on how to achieve successful automation. It also operates on basic terms only, and I know for a fact it was written with relevant keywords as a priority. That is an excellent example of medium-quality content.
Then there’s low-quality content. Not only does it provide little value to the reader, but it also contains basic grammar mistakes and exists solely for the search engines to find the website it’s on.
While we all dream and strive for high-quality content, there is no escaping medium and low-quality content. Or is there?
Quantity vs quality
Here’s where the real struggle begins. Do you create content solely for your audience, prioritising value over everything else? Or do you try to find a middle ground, sacrificing little bits of quality to incorporate SEO goals? It really depends on your content strategy. While content is indeed the king, content strategy is the emperor that rules over everything.
Before planning and releasing content, I like to categorise it. This simple action allows me to:
- See the big picture of what resources I will need,
- Estimate how long it’s going to take to create content,
- Narrow down which audience I will aim at,
- Evaluate people’s expertise I will rely on.
Types of content I use to categorise work
Written content - probably the most popular form in the world. In 2019, more than 64.7mil pages were published on the WordPress platform. That’s more than 177k per day. It’s a lot of content. Mainly because everyone thinks they can write, and they do. Here are types of high-quality written content I tend to work with:
- High-quality articles - kind of like this one, with lots of sources, deeper insights, experiences and real-life examples.
- Newsletters - industry news, quick analytics - short and sweet information, delivered straight to the inbox at the right time of day.
- Case studies - an in-depth analysis of marketing campaigns, projects and other events. Although these can be produced as medium-quality, feel-good stories, I strive to take a deeper dive, sometimes even analyse failures to see where things can be improved.
- Social media posts - it’s easy to make social media into the trash bin of low-quality content. With Facebook alone generating 5 petabytes of data every day, I think the quality is a shining star over quantity.
Audio content - a trend still rising and is expected to grow even further. How do I know? When advertisers are there to buy airtime, you know you made it as a content platform. PwC forecasts immense growth for the podcast industry, aiming to reach $2bn in advertising revenue in 2021. Here’s how I segment audio content:
- Podcasts - the most popular form, king of the audio content, if you will. If chosen as the primary content format, it’s crucial to pick the podcast structure that would best showcase the content you’re trying to get across. Interviews, audio drama, monologue - what is the crucial point of your podcast? The Ultimate Creative has the perfect (IMO) way of explaining Podcast for Dummies.
- Mini audiobooks - this is my own invention, and I am not sure it has been tested yet. I plan to, anyway. Take a few articles you’ve written for the company blog and record them with a pleasant, relaxing voice. Release a mini audiobook under a single topic and use it as a lead magnet. Profit. I will let you know how it went.
- Interviews - while this might be part of the podcast mentioned above, interviews for case studies can be a powerful way to deliver content to the audience. It’s instrumental in showcasing services that might require long and tedious articles to explain. Beware that the interview has to be conducted extremely professionally in order to succeed as high-quality content.
Photo content - Photo content is extremely important to marketing. Modern psychological studies have revealed that graphic design does have an impact on consumer behavior. So what aspects should you focus on photo content?
Product photos - if you are running an e-commerce site, you have to have product photos that are clean and well-exposed. Also, having a clear background or white background for product photos will help your items stand out. You can use an image background remover to easily achieve that.
Thumbnail images - if you are doing marketing for social media. Thumbnail images can affect the click through rate of your content. For example, you have to create thumbnail designs for different content categories on YouTube to attract different audience be using thumbnail maker for youtube.
Infographics - infographics perform amazingly well, especially for Saas companies and B2B companies. It help you to build professional quality images when you are doing industry analysis. Semrush has highlighted many reasons for using infographics to boost SEO results.
Video content - I don’t really need to introduce this format. Instead, I will leave this stat: 1bn hours watched daily on YouTube. The growth projections for video on demand are expected to overcome $45bn revenue in 2021. With the rising availability of video production tech, this segment is only going to grow forward.
- Webinars - whether regularly scheduled, on-demand, stand-alone or in collaboration. Webinars are still the number one way of providing service and product tours, with 73% of B2B marketers touting the format to be the top high-quality lead generator. They are also an excellent vector for that sweet high-quality content. Companies can leverage their employees' expertise and offer additional value to their customers by sharing that expertise through webinars while using webinar software.
- Video podcasts - a good example from a super niche market of e-sports, EUphoria does it well: broadcasting a show which is later turned into a video on demand for YouTube. They broadcast on multiple channels, then use the video and audio for further promotions—a marriage of the two types of content that can be successfully applied even to B2B business marketing.
- Interviews - same idea as video podcasts. Record it, film it, use it on all channels. Simple, easy to remember. Hard to execute right.
- Filmed case studies - the difference between written and filmed case studies is the scenario. To write a case study, you need one, maybe two people for the article structure and visuals. To film a case study, you might need a crew. Again, it’s a good way to generate high-quality content. Scenario, interview questions, visuals, video editing, etc. This is a costly way to create content, but boy, will it be high-quality (terms and conditions apply).
So, we have types of content that all can become kings of your agency’s content production. So, what next? Why KPIs, of course. All content is, at the end of the day, subject to ROI. But that’s a story for another time, in Part II of this article.
Published on May 13 2021
WRITTEN BYIndrė Jankutė-Carmaciu
Indrė is a copywriter at Whatagraph with extensive experience in search engine optimization and public relations. She holds a degree in International Relations, while her professional background includes different marketing and advertising niches. She manages to merge marketing strategy and public speaking while educating readers on how to automate their businesses.
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