This is a question that I struggle with every time I have to work with Zerys, or that I think about having to work with Zerys. Zerys is a project management tool designed specifically for content projects, with a built-in marketplace of thousands of professional writers. There's some great writers on Zerys, and out there in general, but it seems that for every great writer there's at least one horrible writer competing against them, wanting to do work for me but really just making me incredibly frustrated (I could do a whole post on the stupid things these people write and expect to get paid for).
But, they somehow got into the system, which makes me wonder about this idea of "quality content". When it comes to the content that's needed for content marketing projects, you of course want stuff that's quality. But, I do think that part of the definition of quality is something that's just good enough to engage the reader and to accomplish the marketing goal. I also think that quality content should include formatting, such as subtitles, bullet points, numbered lists etc. There aren't enough writers (and even clients) out there who understand how these small things bring great value to a blog article or a web page.
Quality is Objective, To a Point
Everyone can agree that quality content doesn't have any spelling or grammatical errors. Quality content makes strong arguments and backs those arguments well. Quality content is easy to read and doesn't have awkward phrasing. After that, quality is subjective. Things like tone, length, and perspective, and what's preferred, differ from person to person. Those things change depending on the comment format and the specific marketing goal. The objective parts of quality have no excuses. Those parts can be fixed and improved upon as you practice writing and as you revise. The subjective parts needs to be known before you even start writing, as they can make a huge difference in what needs to be written and how. An article that's meant to inform will need to be written differently from one that's meant to persuade.
I bring this up because one of the most common complaints I get from potential clients about my writing is that "it's not the style we wanted" or "prefer a different style."
I don't know what that means.
If you do, please explain it to me. "Style" can mean a whole range of things while meaning nothing at all. Style includes diction, sentence structure, organizational structure, and writing goal (to inform, persuade, or entertain). It could also be a euphemism for, "I didn't like it." The latter is at least somewhat constructive criticism that I could work with and think about with my current clients and with my next new client. I can't do anything with, "prefer a different style." On the one hand, style is relatively easy to fix. I just need to know the style that's preferred. On the other hand, I also suspect that those clients don't really know what style they want, and because they don't know what they want, they can't take the time and to work with me to improve or to do better.
You Don't Need Hemingway to Do Your Blog
Even if Hemingway was alive and available, I'm really not sure how many people would jump at the opportunity to have him write the blog. He probably doesn't have the right style, or wouldn't end every blog post with a call-to-action to call the company, and certainly wouldn't care enough about keyword density. Somehow, I think that some would argue it's too much quality or not the right kind of quality.