Anyone who knows me has heard me rant about crappy content online. Awful content — blog posts, infographics, videos and so forth — can damage or destroy a brand’s reputation.
Unfortunately, crappy content keeps swirling around the internet, like the space junk that floats around our planet. For some brands, the culprit is cheaply produced content. For others, it’s a lack of a cohesive strategy (or any strategy at all) for creating and delivering digital content.
The survey says …
Everyone has his or her own perception of what constitutes “crappy” content. But a new survey from software company Adobe Systems Inc. offers a macro perspective.
The Adobe survey, which questioned 1,011 U.S. adults in December 2017, pinpoints consumers’ pet peeves regarding brand content:
- Content is too wordy or poorly written — 44 percent.
- Content is irrelevant — 42 percent.
- Content is poorly designed — 33 percent.
- Content is not optimized for my device — 29 percent.
- Content is so personalized that it’s creepy — 26 percent.
- Content is old or stale — 24 percent.
- Content is lacking video or images — 16 percent.
Those are serious issues, to be sure. Yet if just one of those annoyances arises, two-thirds of the people surveyed by Adobe said they’d abandon an online shopping cart. That’s the bottom-line issue here.
The message is obvious: Your brand could be losing business because your content is poorly written or poorly designed. It’s hard to measure the potential loss in dollars and cents, but for a multibillion-dollar brand, that could translate into millions of dollars.
So, let’s say your brand offshored content creation to save money and simply be able to publish something — heck, anything — on your website. In the end, is your brand willing to throw away perhaps millions of dollars in customer revenue because of a failure to dedicate enough resources to high-quality content?
You’ve heard it said that content is king. Well, crappy content belongs in the moat, not the castle.
For a brand to effectively compete on the content field, it must treat content like royalty, not like a peasant. As such, a brand must devote time, effort and money to producing content that is worthy of a king, even if the brand posts content only once a week.
“Content will always play an integral role in building brand loyalty, with personalization, authenticity and design reigning supreme,” says Aseem Chandra, a senior vice president at Adobe.
What spurs content sharing?
Now, if you look closely at the results of the Adobe survey, you’ll see that not just any old well-done content will do. Fifty-three percent of the people who were questioned said they rarely or never share brand content. However, if they do share content, here are the main motivating factors:
- Content raises awareness for a good cause — 35 percent.
- Content is informative, not promotional — 34 percent.
- There was an incentive to share the content — 33 percent.
- Content feels authentic or genuine — 30 percent.
- Content is funny and makes the brand relatable — 26 percent.
- Content is personalized to align with the consumer’s interests and location — 20 percent.
- Content is polished and well-designed — 17 percent.
Quality is king
Now, you may have noticed that survey respondents rated content that is not polished and well-designed as their biggest gripe about brand content. However, that was the last consideration in terms of sharing content. Cause-oriented and informative content ruled in that category.
But if you put it all together, it’s as clear as bottled water that sharable content must be produced well and must evoke some sort of feeling.
For instance, if you’ve got a well-crafted story — complete with videos and photos — about solar panels donated by your brand that are generating power for a nonprofit camp benefiting kids with cancer, then you’ve likely got a winner on your hands.
By contrast, if you’ve got a hastily assembled piece about the profitability of your brand, and that story lacks imagery and finesse and comes across as a puff piece, then hardly anyone aside from the corner-office executives and board of directors is going to care one bit about this crap. And, in the end, does that really serve your brand, or does it merely serve to stroke the egos of the higher-ups?
So, what are you going to do today to improve your brand’s content and ensure it represents quality, not crap?