When quality content serves no purpose at all.

rubbish web contentWhen the topic of web content comes up, whether I am talking with a solopreneur or someone at a large company, I ask a simple question: “What is its purpose?”

Right now everyone seems to be focusing on the quality of content. I get that. Quality content is good for your readers, and good for increasingly picky search engines.

In particular, quality content builds reputation and trust.

However, we still need to come back to the question of purpose.

Let’s look at this at the page level and at the strategic level.

What is the purpose of that individual page?

Yes, you want to wow and impress your readers. You want to entertain, surprise or educate them. No cut and paste. No boring stuff. Each page of content you publish needs to add to your reputation.

But…what do you want people to do AFTER reading that high-quality page? Do they nod, smile and leave? If that happens, you just failed. Your wonderful page of content had no purpose.

Yes, I’m being a tad harsh. A quality page with no specific purpose may still increase levels of trust, or have some other fairly intangible benefit.

But why not make it work a little harder? A great piece of editorial content can still work to pre-sell one of your products or services. Or link to one of your products or services. Or prepare the ground for an upcoming launch or promotion.

To return to being harsh for a moment, if you spent years creating wonderful content, and attracted a regular readership of 100,000 people…but none of them ever spend a penny on any of your products or services…what was the point?

Or, to put it another way, what’s the point of creating a wonderful page of content that attracts 10,000 visitors in a week if none of those visitors buy anything, sign up for anything or even return to your site?

Nice content. No purpose.

Instilling purpose in your content at a strategic level

If you have a content calendar it should run alongside your marketing calendar, which should run alongside your business growth calendar. This doesn’t mean that your content should become promotional in any way. It simply means that your content is planned, written and published in a way that supports your overall marketing and business plans.

If you are launching something new in September, you can fill your August calendar with content that prepares your readers for that launch. Get them interested. Get them into a “gotta-have-that” state of mind – before they even know what “that” is.

In every business, regardless of its size, all marketing needs to point in the same direction. And yes, content is marketing.

Sounds obvious, right?

All this my appear self-evident. And in a way, it is. But I would venture that the majority of companies and solopreneurs online create content without it being part of a larger plan and calendar.

Very often, content is created simply because SEO experts, social media experts and content creation experts can’t shut up about the value of quality content.

Quality content is good. But it’s useless if it doesn’t move your readers one step closer to sending you some money.

Given the choice between quality content that doesn’t translate into revenue, and rubbish content that has people clicking through to my product, service and sign-up pages, I’ll go for the rubbish content every day.

Fortunately, well-planned quality content can also directly support revenue growth. So you can have the best of both worlds.

NOTE: If you are serious about writing high quality, optimized content for your website or websites, check out my course, Web Content Optimization.



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2 thoughts on “When quality content serves no purpose at all.”

  1. I know I have been guilty of this!

    Yes, I agree that often we can get caught up in sharing great information, perhaps something that we have just learned or are really excited about.

    How I like to approach the construction of articles on my own website is to take the situation I will be writing about and put a solution to it even before I begin writing.

    I have found that when you have your goals in place first, and work backwards to addressing the topic of your article, your reader will get so much more value from what they are reading – because they have the solution at hand as well.

    Ver much like you have shared here.

    Thanks for the post! It’s always a good reminder to listen to our audience.


  2. Content pages are marketing pages. But they
    aren’t necessarily sales pages per se.

    The primary purpose of content is to educate
    and inform. The secondary purpose is to subtly persuade
    readers that the company providing this information
    is the best solution for their need or problem. This
    undercurrent of persuasion – or a golden thread, if
    you will – is what links these pages to sales copy
    throughout the rest of the site. The quality of the
    content and the manner in which it is presented are
    the hidden “Buy Now” buttons that must resonate
    with readers. I wouldn’t go so far as to call this
    subliminal selling, but the underlying motive is
    to influence readers toward a sale.

    The easiest way to accomplish all of this is to write
    the most epic copy possible. The more superior
    the quality, the more the company providing it
    distinguishes itself. And a distinctive business posture,
    or differentiation, is what ultimately generates sales.


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