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The Top 11 Traits of Great Content

The Top 11 Traits of Great Content

April 10, 2014

If you want to be seen in today’s fast-paced digital world, you’ll need to create quality content. You need to be impeccable to rise above the noise. So here are the top 11 traits of great content:

1. It’s evergreen

The first time I heard this word was when I was creating content for radio. I thought it had to do with Christmas trees.

Well, it did have to do with Christmas. It was related to the evergreen content for the Christmas holiday – when we’d be on vacation, away from creating live, on-air content for our national audience. This type of evergreen would be let loose, and out in the wild.


The goal of this evergreen content was to provide listeners with the same live experience that they’d get every day, even though we wouldn’t be in the studio during the holidays. And it was my job to sort through the previously recorded content for a live show on XM Radio called Broadminded. I’d need to create a listening experience that was not date-specific or did not reveal anything that showed that the content was recorded at a different time.

I did the smile and nod. And tried not to reveal that I had no idea what my boss was talking about.

Later I learned that evergreen content means that it can be reused and recycled at any time. It’s timeless and every business needs it. It’s evergreen because you’re talking to your listeners customers who listen to what you create.

Evergreen content is content that you can repurpose. And if you’re outsourcing your content like smart companies do, making sure that it’s evergreen makes the most impact. Evergreen content is also cost effective because you can atomize it into smaller bits, and use it to create short-form content like tweets, graphics, and Facebook updates.

2. It identifies the “why”

You don’t just create content for the sake of creating content. That’s just like whipping up a decadent five-course meal and letting it go to waste. The best content identifies why it’s creating content. It cuts to the core of your brand, and builds out from there.

3. It identifies the “who”

Great content drives targeted traffic to your brand. And in order to drive targeted traffic to your brand, you need to know who you’re talking to. For example, a big company like Red Bull knows that their customers are adrenaline junkies. They’re risk takers who dive head-first into life experiences. They’ve identified their “who” and then regularly create engaging, relevant content for these customers. This curates change not only for the brand itself, but also for their customers who are looking for transformative experiences.

4. It gets shared

It’s a completely humble experience to know what your readers like or don’t like right away. It’s gratifying knowing that the second you hit “publish” your content will either go viral or die a long, slow, painful death. Either way, you learn from it. You experiment. You evolve.

Your content should always motivate your readers to share it. Of course, this is often easier said than done. But if you can get it right, getting your content shared is the best way to build an audience, establish your brand voice, and grow your business.

5. It’s consistent

Sure, the Internet is open 24-hours. But if you’re creating content at any and all times throughout the week, you’re causing confusion.

Consistent content is key in a content strategy. When you consistently publish your content on a consistent schedule, it builds trust. It creates greater awareness of your brand. And it allows your customers to “tune in” to your media channel more easily.

6. It comes from emotion

Emotions are what guides your customers through the transformative experience of working with you. And the best emotion to start with is empathy. Empathy is what creates a meaningful and engaging customer experience. When you start designing your experiences based on your customers’ behaviors, you create a winning and rewarding experience for both you – and your customer.

7. It’s unique

And by unique, I mean it’s unique to you and your business.

As a business owner, your content needs to not sound like anyone else. It needs to sound like you. Look like you. It needs to breathe and act like you across all media platforms.

Whether your brand is quirky, edgy, refined, or raw, unique content has your brand voice. And this often starts with your company’s culture. And while you often can’t change your company’s culture overnight, you can always work on cultivating a culture of experimentation. This quasi-culture can be rooted in relationships that capture the company’s competitive advantages through content marketing.

8. It’s real

You know that person who endlessly posts cliched quotes? He or she may also give unicorn and rainbow advice, which makes you want to give them the f younicorn (h/t @briansolis).  This type of content isn’t vulnerable or revealing. It’s cliché. It’s fluff.

Real content achieves emotional marketing. Real, emotional marketing discloses something about the person or brand that is vulnerable or revealing. Or both. It makes you learn about a person or a brand in a way that’s not possible with any “keep calm and carry on” meme…or any future memes or insta-quotes that will undoubtedly pop up. At least now you can throw the f -younicorn to channel your anger. It’s ok. Use it. It’ll feel good.

9. It’s like porn

Humans like porn. Not that I know anything about…porn. Other than the fact that the Internet was created for porn (you did know that, right?)

The multi-billion dollar porn industry knows a thing or two. And I always like to take a few trade secrets from successful industries. This industry understands the importance of visual media, and it creates cliches that drive clicks. The best part about the porn industry is that you don’t need to be in a hot tub, popping bubbly to come up with a big, bad pun.


But…the real reason the Internet was created is to allow your buyers to begin their path to purchase. According to new content marketing research by the Chief Marketing Officer Council, in partnership with NetLine Corporation:

  • 68% start their content sourcing at search engines and portals
  • 40% go to vendor websites, and
  • 25% are activated by an email from a trusted source or peer.

Plus, 51% of business buyers use content to identify best practices. This means that your content needs to be the best practicing porn star thought leader in your industry.

10. It’s paradoxical

I love a good paradox. And the best paradox about creating good content for your business is that you don’t have to sell your services as hard. When you entertain and educate your customers, it dramatically increases the bottom line for your business. When you create compelling content, you need to market a whole lot less.

It’s this type of paradox that makes your content beautiful and profitable.

11. It breaks the rules

If I was a “real” marketer, I would have stuck with a Top 10 list. Because Top 10 just rolls off the tongue so much better than top 11. Ooops.

While you always need impeccable spelling and good grammar, you no longer need to place two spaces after a period. You no longer need complete sentences. Because fragments are far more fun. Because you can read quicker. And skim through to get to the important parts of the article.

Like the end. Right now.