Each and every advertising or creative agency has probably come across the following scenario: a customer is renewing their web service and everything is working out fine so far. The end result, however, suffers from low quality content. The situation is painful for the creative partner since the time spent for the visual look and the enhancement of the customer's brand feels wasted if the poor quality content suddenly sits in the middle of the brand new output. The customer probably didn't mean it this way but often it just happens. The project needs to be finished in haste and the content creation is often one of the last things to be done. We can all imagine the rest. There are of course some exceptions since in some cases the creative partner takes part in the content creation or might even be in charge of copywriting. Nonetheless the customer will sooner or later do some updating and modification of the content or completely new content onto the site. Is there something that the creative partner could do to help the customer create quality content?
The most common reasons for low quality content are content disregard, poor understanding of high quality and bad content creation processes.
- Content disregard usually leads back to the division of responsibilities and the lack of resources inside the company. Often only bigger organizations have the opportunity to hire an actual employee to do their content creation. Therefore the responsibility usually falls on someone else's laps, most commonly someone who's main repsonsibilities are somewhere else. Content that is created along with other tasks is often not as good as it should be since the familiarization to the subject is insufficient and the whole thing is most commonly done in haste.
- Often customers have a poor understanding of what high quality really is: what does quality mean in our case and how can we actually produce quality content?
- Bad content creation processes are understandable: especially if content creation is not their major responsibility.
How can we help customers in these common issues?
1. Customer's neglect for content creation
We don't assume that the advertizing agency or other creative partner tells the customer to hire someone to do their content creation no matter how obvious the lack of resources. What the agency can do, however, is to motivate and guide the customer in their content creation. During the creative process the customer comes really familiar to the agency and the agency can look at the customer's situation in a somewhat neutral way. The knowledge and insight that is achieved during this process might really well help the customer in their content creation procesess assuming that the agency is able to transfer their knowledge onto them. What is high quality content now and what does it consist of? If the agency and the customer have a mutual understanding of it all it will most propably speed up the entire project. Instead of being stuck with irrelevant details delays can be avoided on both sides of the table.
A mutual understanding of quality also helps the customer to think outside their own job field. When a customer understands what high quality content is the content can also be justified in business terms. If the importance of quality content is explained in tangible benefits or even numbers the customer will most likely find it much easier to get motivated.
The customer could be reminded of the following:
- content that has high quality and is also search engine friendly enhances the brand value and knowledge as well as generates new leads (and how valuable is one new customer again?)
- quality content enhances the loyalty of customers since a company that is seen and heard of (in a good way!) feels much more relatable and familiar and is therefore much more difficult to abondon.
- quality content indifferentiates one from the competitors. If this is so difficult for us it must be difficult for the others as well!
2. So how do we achieve a mutual understanding of high quality?
Roughly the customer may be lead with the following guidelines:
- quality content is written from the target group's point of view and doesn't include loads of industry jargon. Word choices that might feel witty for you could cause the opposite reaction at the other end. The content should therefore address the target group and be interesting and influental to them.
- quality content is relevant and also relates to the customer's business. Active content marketing has a risk of becoming meaningless as we've seen with some of the actors: what's the point of producing content that has no connection to the company's business and objectives? There's just not much room for doing stuff for the fun of it in productive business.
- quality content is easy to find and easy to share: search engine optimization, accurate keywords, ease of sharing. The customer themselves can have have an effect on some of these and some are of course dependent on the technical solution behind the web service.
3. Can we make the customer's content creation process easier?
In some cases the actual content creation is left on the customers shoulders. The creative partner can nevertheless help with creating good conditions for the customer's work. Let's look at the scenario of web service renewal that we discussed earlier: has the upcoming content for the website been outlined for the customer? A mutual understanding of high quality that is hopefully formed by this point will now be a huge help: why don't we form a draft of the content for each page, outlining the content to-be? Even better if the page has pre-defined keywords, target group as well as the structure of the content. Most propably all of this is already in the agency's creative persons mind and it might not require huge effort to transfer this knowledge onto the customer as well.
It's also a good idea to try to bring the content creation to the customer step-by-step. The pressure of creating content will most likely become too big if everything needs to be done at once and the new site just sits there empty. It's much easier to deal with the matter in small portions instead of a big chunk of stuff. By introducing things in smaller portions the end result will probably be more satisfying for both parties.
Of course it's possible that the problem of content creation is just one of those famous eternal dilemmas that never seem to resolve themselves. Instead of repeating the same pattern project after another and agonizing over it again and again it might however be useful to try one or two of the above guidelines and see which ones are beneficial. Who knows if some of them will stick and help us in concluding more succesfull projects in the future.
We can't help at mentioning that quality content is worth nothing unless you have a functioning, modern and scalable system to manage your content with. Click here to learn more about out content management system LianaCMS.