Nothing Trendy About Quality, Customer-Focused Content

An image of a typewriter and coffee mug on a desk.

Here's the thing about trends -- they tend to fizzle out. So instead of trying to catch a wave of popularity, businesses should focus on providing their users with content that focuses on quality and value. After all, that never goes out of style.

The self-professed "ninjas," "gurus," and "wizards" will focus on ways to game the system, but the house always wins, and those techniques can end up hurting you in the long run. Just as nothing will beat a Royal Flush, having good quality content that meets your customers needs, consistently, will always be the winning solution.

South of the border, Facebook is updating its "Trending Topics" section to rely less on engagement metrics to determine quality and more on trusted volume -- topics that are receiving coverage from multiple media outlets.

It will also help to cut down on the echo-chamber-ness of the content that's delivered, by removing personal preferences from its curation algorithm. Sure, you could argue that this reduces the personalization aspect of the content you see, but that argument is countered by the fact that, in theory, the content you'll receive is more valuable. (That is unless you're a conspiracy theorist; but then no solution is going to be right.)

Facebook is dealing with the same thing that many businesses face when it comes to content strategy. How do I get my content out to potential customers? And, more importantly, how do I ensure that the right content is getting out to the right customers?

So many businesses, in making their first forays into the world of social media, are focused on being part of the Zeitgeist. They want to "go viral" without really understanding what that means. Sure, it's great to get thousands upon thousands of views to your brand, but if there's no action -- if there's no conversion -- what's the point?

What Facebook is doing is prioritizing curated content that meets a certain threshold of quality. To be seen as a trusted and valued source of news in its Trending Topics, Facebook is taking action to ensure that news is valid. They're taking the approach of "It may not be what you think you want to see, but it is the news that you need."

And that's the primary approach you should take with your content. As witty, engaging, and utterly charming as you are, your customers aren't coming to your content looking to be entertained -- they're looking for a solution to a problem they have. They're looking for a solution that you've promised and reassurance that you can deliver it. They're looking, as we've said over and over, for the answer to the question: what's in it for me?

Sure, your content can have flavour and humour to it, but not at the expense of the primary goal: providing the user with the information they need, in the way that's best suited for them.

The upshot of all of this is that by answering that basic question of "what's in it for me" and delivering upon your promise with clear, concise, and effective content (not to mention well-structured and using proper semantic markup), you're going to lay the foundation for better search rankings, better sharability of content, and increased referrals. If your content is consistently good, the right people will grow to trust and value it.

And, ultimately, you want the people who are going to actually take that next step and convert that interest into a purchase.

It's great for your ego to have thousands upon thousands of followers. But if they aren't actively interacting with your business and converting interest into action, that's all they are -- ego boosts. You can buy those likes and they'll have the exact same impact on your business' bottom line.

None.

It's important to provide people what they want. It's better if you can provide them what they need. And if you can find that sweet spot where wants and needs intersect, you've got action.

It's not sexy. It's not fast. But delivering relevant, quality content on a consistent basis that meets your customers' needs is always the solution. It's not as exciting as gaming the system, but it's far more successful. And it's not trendy -- it's fundamental.

Of course, the kicker to all of this is that I saw the original article in my "Trending" topics in my Facebook feed.

Questions Answered

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