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Advisors: Focus on Quality and Clarity, Not Quantity

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Earlier this year, the folks at Acrolinx decided to “read and evaluate the world’s content.” Sound like a daunting task? It was. They reviewed 150,000 websites from 340 companies, and the results were enlightening.

The study found that, despite content marketing being a top priority for today’s businesses, only 42% of B2B and 34% of B2C marketers felt their content was effective. Part of the problem is that 70% of marketers say they don’t have a solid content marketing strategy. But an even larger issue is a surprising lack of quality (Source: The Global Content Impact Index).

42% of B2B and 34% of B2C marketers felt their content was effective … 70% of marketers say they don’t have a solid content marketing strategy.

Forget about quantity

According to Acrolinx, many marketers are still too focused on quantity, thinking that if they put out enough content their message will simply “get out there.” It might, but it won’t make an impact over the longer term.

It can even lose a company some of its customers. A survey from Global Lingo found that 74% of people pay attention to the quality of spelling and grammar on a company’s website. And 59% of those people said bad grammar and spelling would make them take their business elsewhere, because they’d be worried about the company’s attention to detail and quality of service.

And still there’s more. Search engines like Google and Bing are known to downgrade websites full of errors. That’s bound to have an impact on a company’s bottom line.

Improve quality and clarity

Acrolinx rightly points out that there’s more to producing high-quality content than good grammar and proper spelling. To make the most impact, you’ll need a clear message, engaging style and conversational tone.

This is exactly the type of content marketing quality Acrolinx set out to analyze. The company evaluated content from 340 companies from a range of industries and across all regions. Content was scored based on quality and clarity.

Quality was evaluated using established best practices for grammar and style. Clarity was judged by how easy the content is to read and understand. Next, each company was given an overall content impact score out of 100. A score of 72 or higher means the content is effective.

The results? Only 31% of companies had a content impact score of 72 or higher, which was fairly consistent across industries and regions.

Quick tips

It seems many content marketers haven’t quite got the right message yet. So what can each of us do to make more of an impact?

  1. Put a consistent and cohesive content marketing strategy in place.
  2. Hire people who know about grammar, spelling and style. Acrolinx looked at things like subject-verb agreement, use of double negatives and other points of style found in any major style guide. These are basics that your lead content writers and editors should firmly grasp.
  3. Keep your message easy to read and understand. Acrolinx suggests keeping an eye on things like sentence length, structural complexity and word length. Scroll to the end of their study for some examples of high-quality content that’s both inviting and engaging.
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