Digital content is increasingly becoming commoditized, cheapened, churned out as keyword-rich SEO fodder. And this approach has worked for the traffic-obsessed publisher who can find enough advertisers willing to shell out for raw numbers alone.
But what happens when you step it up a notch? What can be made hastily in bulk, for cheap, can also be tailor-made by quality creators, and sold at a premium as part of a targeted, high-value offering for the right brand. In this current frenzy for Content Marketing over content quality, it can be easier than ever for deeper, longer-form, targeted content to actually stand out and provide better impact. That is, building trust for repeat consumption rather than grabbing attention with eye-rolling headlines alone.
But here’s the rub: top-shelf content that drives longer-term goals (repeat engagement, brand loyalty, etc.) needs top-shelf attention in sales, to earn its well-deserved, top-shelf price. Does this mean even more of your time spent building the case for deeper, richer, thoughtful content and the long-tail return it holds for the publisher? Darn right. Be ready to sell the benefits (legitimate follower acquisition, longer-term followers and brand advocacy, positive brand mentions) up front.
In that light, here are some essentials to remember in selling quality over quantity:
1. Emphasize long-tail value of substantive pieces. If truly meaningful and not focused on trend of the day fluff, you can create once, and return to publish again in various contexts. And easily update with recent industry examples as they arise.
2. Build an expectation of quality with your growing audience. It only takes a few flaky pieces with promising headlines that don’t deliver before would-be readers/customers lose patience and trust. One-button opting out is easier than ever these days.
3. Cultivate that minimum (but precious) level of trust, which then allows capture of data (valuable enough as a passive social media following, but also subscriptions, polls, etc.)
4. Establish yourself as an authoritative source in your specialty rather than another spigot of sensationalism. You never know where your material will surface as a reference, and that’s without even actively fostering relationships with other publishers.
5. Heighten your curb appeal. Make your publishing source not only the destination for consuming great stuff, but for conversing about it, AND getting others to want to publish their own to draft off of your excellence. Bonus: besides sourcing additional content, you’re plugging in an audience multiplier.
The good news: investing in a day or a week of educating sales personnel in the value of high-value content could pay off in increased recurring project revenue rather quickly, for the content creator, sales department, and customer. Otherwise, content creator, you’re grilling a New York steak and tossing it to a hungry alligator, who would’ve eaten a week-old hot dog in the same hungry second.