The Value of Quality: New Standards Will Raise the Bar for Content
By Susie Ippolito, Brand Strategist at Susie Ippolito Brands
There are changes brewing in social media land that aim to forever alter how we engage and (hopefully) how it affects us emotionally. Changes like the possible (and highly likely) elimination of public access to our beloved Instagram hearts and comment counts. And the pressing need to grow our skills in the ways we show our skills. Ultimately, these changes will lead to a need to increase the level of quality in our content.
So what, exactly, defines quality?
Is quality defined by the absolute best product, service, or social post I am capable of putting out? Yes, in a way, but in this brave new world that will not quite suffice. In order to stand out from the crowd, brands of all shapes and sizes will have to stretch their imaginations, grow their skill sets, and embrace new mindsets like never before.
And by brands, I mean all brands from teeny tiny startups all the way to Coca-Cola. If your brand goals include gaining and maintaining relevant brand status, it is necessary to adapt at this time.
Please note I do not say this with any joy. I, myself, have a meager 600+ followers on Instagram, having made a conscious choice years ago to be an observer of the platform’s patterns rather than make myself crazy trying to keep up with them with an ever changing algorithm. And it has served me well and kept me cozy and safe from the kind of exposure that exists outside of my comfort zone. Until now. Now is the time to push the limits of vulnerability, tear off the bandaid of fear and record some damn video content.
Which brings us back to the question of quality. How good does this video content have to be if I want my brand to be a relevant, prosperous brand and business? Apparently, it has to be quite high quality.
With the changes upon us, it will become more challenging for businesses — especially small businesses — to differentiate themselves from amateurs and social users of social media. In addition to that, large brands will invest major dollars to create cutting edge video content in a bid to populate our social feeds. This, in turn, will force all of us to up our game if we want retail space on any platform.
Let’s take this out of context for a moment to gain some perspective. We have all experienced, I expect, at one time or another, a variance in quality. We have been wowed by experiences that exceeded our expectations of quality and disappointed by experiences that have failed to meet them. Where did these lesser experiences fall short? In what ways did the grander experiences set the bar for future expectations?
Quality makes its mark with substance, depth, and its ability to permeate our existence in a lasting and, often, crave worthy way. Quality is not easily replicated (sorry, influencers, even you are going to have to try a little harder). Quality requires focused intention, attention to detail, and doesn’t settle on good enough. It strives for more. It aims to grab and hold our attention and seeks to please our appetite for originality, authenticity, and engaging aesthetics.
Also, don’t shoot the messenger, but quality content requires funding. It is neither quick nor easy to create. I doubt we will see a barrage of articles with names like The Top 5 Easy Hacks to Quality Content. Wait, what am I thinking? Of course we will. But when it comes to true quality, the kind of quality that stands out from the crowd, the kind of quality that has a lasting impact on a user, there really are no shortcuts anymore.
Then, how does a brand jump on this new content opportunity and create quality content that has VALUE for their viewers?
Step 1. If you don’t have a meditation practice already, then go ahead and start one. Facing yourself on video will require you to face your ego big time and, trust me, it is quite eager to get in your way. If you already have one, keep it up!
Step 2. Adopt a fresh, new mindset about social media. Throw away any assumptions, intimidation, and misconceptions you presently hold about the subject. It is a brand new day, treat it like one.
Step 3. Clearly define your brand core values and be able to articulate them in a way that creates value for your brand first and your audience second.
Step 4. If you struggle with step 3, hire a writer. Not a marketer, not a content creator, not a designer a real, true writer. Trust me, you will thank me later.
Step 5. Spend time defining the intention for your content. For whom is it being created? To achieve what goals? Hint: quality content reaches far beyond a punchy CTA. Stuck? See Step 4.
Step 6. Practice. To some, this will come naturally. Others of us will struggle. And, as our social feeds tell us every day, success is on the other side of discomfort. So jump in and soon you will find yourself on the other side.
Step 7. Spend some dough on the equipment you need to get the job done. If you don’t have the funds, hit some singles and doubles to get them. Still can’t afford it? Grab some entrepreneurial friends to chip in, crowdfund it and share it!
And here is one big DON’T. Don’t give up on the written word. Don’t become so consumed by video content that we become an illiterate society. Because, I promise you, the small and midsize brands that will excel at this game will maintain their ability to communicate their value in quality written, image, and video content. You do, after all, still have to write those proposals in order to make that money!