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The new and necessary breed of content… do you have it?

There’s a phrase muscling its way into the mix on the Big List of Marketing Buzzwords. It’s certainly not the No. 1 offender (and may never be), but its presence is increasingly hard to ignore.

The phrase is “high-quality content.” And it’s a sneaky one.

“High-quality content” is rather innocuous, hiding in both conversation and copy in ways Hall of Famers like high level, leverage, utilize, unpack, collaborate and so many others cannot.

Snark aside, the actual issue with “high-quality content” as a term is that it lacks a universally accepted and applied definition. It’s like trying to define “pornography,” as David Rubin, retired dean of Syracuse University’s Newhouse school, used to tell budding journalists. “You just know it when you see it,” he said.

Therein lies the rub.

What is high-quality content? Who’s to say your organization’s standard is the same as that of other companies—or that it even needs to be? Yet, a lack of clarity on what the term means hasn’t stopped 83% of B2B marketers from citing the production of “better quality content” as the top reason they are able to differentiate their content from competitors.

Of course, “high quality” is subjective because it speaks to value. And degrees of value differ based on industry, audience, preference, challenge, or need. As the saying goes, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

So, it’s entirely possible an official definition isn’t essential. Surely, however, there should be some way to evaluate whether the content you create is high quality.

You’ve come to the right place. For starters, ask yourself (and your team) these five questions:

Whose interests are we serving?

Take a critical look at your content. Are you showing (i.e. educating) or telling (selling)? If it’s the latter—particularly in the oversaturated and arguably underwhelming lane of thought leadership—here’s your reminder to reconsider: Nearly half (46%) of buyers believe the content they consume is “Overly focused on selling or describing products rather than conveying valuable information.”

Are we demonstrating a deep understanding of our customers (and their needs)?

This is where the sales arm of your organization can and should play a pivotal role—in tandem with your marketing team. Maybe it’s identifying gaps in the buyer’s journey.

Perhaps it’s in the process of building comprehensive customer personas or updating existing ones. The insight your sales team provides can make a substantial difference.

Does our content align with a specific stage of the buyer’s journey?

If you’re taking the Three Musketeers approach—“All for one and one for all!”— you’re far from alone. But you’re not delivering high quality, either. The biggest hurdle for B2B organizations, with 61% saying it’s a challenge, is creating content that’s unique to either the awareness, consideration or decision phase of the buyer’s journey.

Does our content capture our brand’s values?

Maybe you think this one’s self-serving, but the data says otherwise. Eight in 10 consumers want a brand’s values to align with their own, with three-quarters of consumers saying they cut ties over conflicting values. The conclusion is clear: Your brand message, tone, and voice must consistently reflect your company’s core ideals.

Is our content timely? 

It seems like a no-brainer, but it’s worth pointing out: Consumers want relevant content. Whether it’s predicting a shift in industry practices, reacting to newsworthy developments, or something else entirely, high-quality content proves you have your finger on the pulse of what matters most.

“High-quality content” can be so much more than a fluffy catchphrase. And with these handy considerations, you can ensure your content deserves that distinction.