Is your content the cream of the crop, or crap?

I’ve seen a lot of online discussion recently about the quality of the content that we’re including in our websites, blogs, and other communications. Is it educational? Does it speak to the right audience? Does it speak English?

When a friend asked me last week to comment on his new website copy, I pulled out a list of criteria that I’ve been using for a few years and got to work. After ripping apart his website (sorry), I realized that this list was a good tool for anyone to use when evaluating pretty much any content.

Since I’m in marketing, it needed a cute name. So here it is – the Content Quality Quotient, or CQQ for short. Here’s how it works. Review an example of your content (blog, white paper, article, presentation, etc.). Then read the following ten statements, responding to each with True or False.

  1. The content addresses a broader topic or issue than my specific services cover.
  2. A reader (or participant) will understand the point of the content within the first 5 seconds, and derive some value within 30 seconds.
  3. A typical client will understand this, meaning it’s not too technical.
  4. If someone read this and didn’t become my client, that person would still derive some business or personal value.
  5. A reader would be perceived as helpful when forwarding this to a friend or peer.
  6. None of these sales words appear – sign up, act now, offer ends, price, features and benefits, credit cards accepted.
  7. Other than maybe a small logo or boiler plate (bio at the end), my firm’s name does not appear in the main content.
  8. There is at least one client quote for each firm associate quote.
  9. My competitors’ services would also apply equally well to this topic.
  10. A reader will likely have comments or questions worth sharing with others, other than, “Where do I buy?”

CQQ Scoring Guide

If you answered False to any one of these statements, time to start looking for a new job. Just kidding... Every business situation is different, so use these guidelines as a starting point. Add or change and store the combined list as your firm’s own CQQ. Before you publish content in the future, make it someone’s responsibility to check it against the CQQ as a standard part of the content creation process.

Act Now - Huge Features and Benefits

When you develop and use your own CQQ, the quality of your content will improve. You will find that prospective clients are more interested in your blogs and newsletters. Editors will return your phone calls about publishing articles. You’ll be invited to speak at conferences and host panel discussions. Oh, and people will want to use your firm you because you add value. Imagine that – sell more by selling less.

If you can’t measure it, don’t do it.