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What is “Quality” Content?

What is “Quality” Content?

October 30, 2015

Quality over quantity always wins. But what exactly is “quality” content?

It’s the elusive golden word tossed around at least 20 times a day.

If you’re the type of human being who refuses to roll with a mediocre definition of “quality” you probably came here to define and learn what makes something “quality.”

Quality: The standard of something as measured against other things of a similar kind; the degree of excellence of something.

quality content

The thing is, quality content is entirely subjective.

But there are a few objective and scientifically proven traits that make quality content, well, quality. Here are some tips on how to make your content full of quality:

1. Credibility

Let’ go into an alternate universe and pretend that this post was about dogs that dig deep-dish pizza (bare with me here). It’s a great post, and you found yourself devouring the content so readily that you forget to check out the credibility of the author. You do a quick Google search and discover something shocking: The author is a cat lover who is allergic to pizza. The credibility of the author would immediately take a nosedive, wouldn’t it? (for the record, this writer you’re reading is a dog lover who loves pizza).

my dog

this is my dog, Karma. (She loves pizza too!)

This example demonstrates the need for credibility in your content. But for better or worse, credibility almost never has a tell. It just is, and it’s up to the readers whether they believe it to be credible. The easiest way to do this is by doing your own research.

Here are some ways to make sure your credibility is on point:

  • Writer. It’s the writer’s job to keep the content honest, real and relevant.
  • Tone. This means a balance between serious information and voice. Let’s be honest: Most online content is way too serious. Whether your natural writer voice is funny, frank or motivating, you should use it freely when you write. Your voice adds authenticity, which easily translates to credibility.
  • Subject matter. Make your content meaningful to your readers. Always offer value in a clear way. Whether you’re giving career advice or supporting a controversial viewpoint about cats (who eat pizza), you need to come across as an expert about your subject matter without sounding condescending.
  • Unique perspective. If you’re rehashing the same material as everyone else in your industry, your content may not be perceived as quality because nothing sets you apart. Instead, infuse your content with your personal or professional perspective. When you integrate your personal experiences with your professional perspective, you can create content gold.

2. Virtuosity

Virtuosity is an appreciation for fine objects of art. So what in the world does it have to do with content?

Well, like art, content creates conversation and connections, both of which lead to business. And since I believe that marketing your business is an art form, virtuosity is the path to connect.

sunset in NYC

Some ways to determine if your content has virtuosity:

  • Design. Your content should live on a website that has a simple, stunning design. High-quality images (that you create yourself) always help too. You don’t always need flashy colors (or God forbid, flash) to make your web design stand out. You just need simplicity. Let your words be the focus of your site.
  • Grammar. Grammar is a staple of quality content. Just keep in mind that some of the best writers follow in the footsteps of Pablo Picasso, who encouraged learning the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist. You don’t always have to worry about misplaced commas when writing for readers of the web but please, please avoid lazy, purposeless typos.
  • Story. If design is the heart of quality content and grammar is the mind, then stories are the soul. Just like a good movie or book, stories reveal the invisible lines that tie your content’s purpose together. Regardless of content format, be clear about your story before you write a single word, or design a color palette.

3. Engagement

Raise your hand if you like engagement. Now, raise your hand if you raised your hand.

If you just raised your hand at any point, great news! We’re engaged. Not in the sense of if you like it, put a ring on it kind of way, but rather the we’re actively getting to know one another sense of the word.


Image credit: Thinkstock

Engagement is one of the most crucial aspects of quality content because it’s the main method for adding context. In other words, when you create a piece of content, you’ve got the content itself and then everything else that makes it high quality and shareable. Engagement is the everything else.

Here are a few tips to engage with your audience on the most popular distribution platforms:

  • Blog Content. There are a million reasons to start a blog. You’re a whip-smart human, so you may already know this: One of the easiest ways to engage on your blog is to allow comments. This builds a two-way connection with your readers, where comments allow the writer to see the reader and vice versa. (Just make sure the writer of the article replies and interacts with the commenters).
  • Facebook. Facebook is one of the noisiest platforms, so create a value plan before you publish anything. Don’t just post a link to an article. Rather, create context for everything you share. Make a bold statement or ask a question. Whatever you do, don’t push the publish button until you have clarity around your message, and you know what action you want to incite.
  • Twitter. Twitter is a fantastic tool to make an impact in the world. But it’s a tough nut to crack if you’re just getting started. So here are some basic tips: When sharing an article on Twitter, tag the author. If the article is relevant to certain influencers, tag them, too. This increases engagement and lets the author know that you’re reading and sharing his or her work.
  • Instagram. Instagram has a whopping 300 million engaged users each month. To engage on this platform, you have to be selective about what you share. Only post high-quality images, and be sure to target your desired audience by utilizing hashtags and trending conversations.
  • Pinterest. On Pinterest, each article that you create must have a beautiful image to go with it. Consider using a plug-in like the Pinterest Pin It Button for Images, which allows readers to pin your images onto one of their boards using a single click.

Now that we know the objective aspects of quality content, is there anything to be done about the inherent subjectivity of quality content? Well, for better or worse, it will probably always be just that: subjective. But by laying an objectively high-quality foundation, you can feel free to have fun and experiment knowing that its quality will shine.