The secret to quality content is a simple formula.

Simple, but often misunderstood.

You see, quality content can’t be measured in hits, shares, retweets, or whether your content goes viral.

It can’t be measured by how well a blog post is written, how coherent the podcast narrative, or even whether you can tell a story like Mark Burnett or shoot video like Ridley Scott.

It’s not about the bling.

The bling is fun.

It’s shiny, and exciting, and good for the ego.

One of the most trafficked pages on my Web site is a blog post I wrote in 2009 about reinventing business models. The search engines love it. But almost everyone who lands there bounces right back out of my Web site because they’re looking for information about Accenture, not about business models. No reading other posts. No checking out my company or my services.

The numbers on that post are great. But the people aren’t my target audience.

Bling doesn’t pay the bills.

You need prospects. And customers, members, clients—a reliable revenue stream.

Marketer and pool company owner Marcus Sheridan has attributed $1.7 million in sales to a page with no comments, no retweets, and no shares.

Blendtec videos aren’t successful because they go viral. They’re successful because they sell blenders.

You’re The Boss had an illustrative post earlier this month about two co-founders who set out to create a viral video:

Our video, which contained three minutes of tongue-twisters about start-ups, venture capital, and business intelligence, was a flop. The millions of views we had dreamed about never came. A week after its uploading, despite our best promotional efforts, the video had been seen by only a few hundred people. But then, miraculously, new leads started coming in from that tiny audience.

 

The video didn’t go viral—but it was effective.

The secret to quality content is value.

Van Gogh died penniless.

I’m not saying that quality per se (good writing, eye-grabbing visuals, storytelling, video look and feel—or the genius of Van Gogh) doesn’t matter. Of course it does.

And I love Hemingway, Calder, Jawlensky. Great books. Great works of art.

But this blog post is about business.

Creating quality content is expensive—whether measured in people hours, hardware, software, and/or equipment. And that’s before we even talk dissemination.

Unless you’re aspiring to be a starving artist, the secret to quality content isn’t greatness but whether it is effective. Does your content move the needle for your business?

Photo by Maureen Lunn (Flickr).