Searching For Better Content

In a quest to expand my knowledge about content creation I attended Better Content Marketing – a Meetup hosted by Distilled Seattle. While I have a basic understanding of best practices for content creation, the event explored some of the deeper issues surrounding the process. This month focused on the growing importance of data-driven content. Using my notes I compiled an outline highlighting the night’s key takeaways below.

Understanding Content
Crap content is everywhere on the web. Whether it’s “10 ways to…” or best lists, information such as this holds little value and is rampant across the web. Brands serious about enhancing their online presence and reputation should focus on creating content that speaks to expertise. While there are a variety of avenues to reach this point, one effective way is to focus on data-driven content.

Facts Are Worth More Than Opinions
Data-driven content is fueled by information, making it harder to challenge and copy. That being said, it’s labor intensive to collect information and piece together a compelling story using data. Examples of data-driven content include:
Infographs –  Seattle to San Francisco via Private Jet
Data Heavy Blog Posts – Mapping the San Franciscome
Interactive Graphics – How Search Works  
Data Heavy Sites – Charity: Water
Mini Graphs – Kindle Fire (see comparison chart near the bottom)

Building a System to Collect and Create Data-driven Content
The initial challenge of setting up framework to gather data may seem daunting but it has benefits. Once setup and executed it’s easy to share results across various platforms. Competitors also won’t be able to replicate your content easily due to the steep entry cost and particular data you have access to. For content creators with more of a technical background or friends well versed in computer languages, APIs also serve as a fantastic way to further your expertise through data. The overall goal of this endeavor is to take unused information and make it accessible. Foursquare offers a good example. Originally focused primarily on gathering location information from its users, the popular location service now exports its data to third-party applications including Path and Instagram. The location app has done a great job of making location data accessible to developers.

Paint a Story with Data
With this approach in mind brands can examine what type of data they have access to and piece together a compelling story. If unsure about a concept it’s best to crowd source potential topics via social media or take data from an established audience  – i.e. sports or politics, and repurpose it in a new way. Approaching content creation from this perspective allows brands to showcase expertise and create a strong point of view supported by data.

Kudos to the Organizers and Presenters
Thanks to Distilled Seattle for organizing and Adria Saracion  and Kane Jamison for sharing their expertise during the event.
[Photo Courtesy of kidsturncentral]