It used to be that Authoritative Content publishers only had to battle low quality online content published by content mills on blogs, in article directory sites, and on websites owned by the companies behind those mills. Today, low quality content from content mills is damaging the user experience on Facebook, too.
Kevin Morris of Daily Dot put together an excellent analysis of how content mills are infiltrating Facebook, which is well worth the read. Not only do these content mills care little about quality, but they also have little concern over copyrights. This is a business model where quantity and money (made from increasing audiences) are the top priorities (or the only priorities).
Fortunately, the online audience is getting smarter every day, and low quality content is being recognized by more people. However, low quality content adds to the massive amount of clutter online. Audiences need to work harder than ever to find trustworthy and reliable content.
According to research from nRelate and Harris Interactive conducted in October 2012, there are a few things that Authoritative Content publishers can do to make sure audiences are able to identify their content as high quality. Here is the breakdown from that study of content elements that increase the perception of quality:
- The content is from a source that is already known in the offline world = 60%
- The content includes images = 24%
- The content includes an author image and byline = 23%
- The content includes an embedded video = 11%
Another interesting finding from the study reveals that 76% of respondents clicked on links to related content. These are links found at the end of (or along-side of) content they were already reading or watching. If you’re not already including links to relevant content with every piece of content you publish on your blog, website, or other online destination that allows you to do so, then you need to add those links immediately. Keep in mind, these are not links found within your content but rather at the end of it or in the sidebar.
The keys to differentiating your Authoritative Content from low quality content is to establish your social proof as a publisher of trustworthy and reliable information that adds value to your target audience’s lives in some way. That value could come in the form of education, news reporting, thought leadership, entertainment, or anything else that is useful, meaningful, or interesting to your audience.
What’s most important is for quality publishers and audience members to expose low-quality content for what it is. Educating people so they know the difference between trustworthy, high quality content and questionable, spammy, low quality content is key to battling content mills and similar publishing models in the long-term.