Only The Best Content Please

With the content marketing show fresh in our minds, now seems like a good time to talk about content quality.

We heard from a great many speakers, all of whom reminded us of the importance of relevant and good quality content. But if, according to @RedRocketMedia, creation contributes only 50% to the success of a brand’s content marketing (the other 50% being promotion), many brands will question, just how important is quality?

Quality matters. More so now than ever before.

Consumers are time poor and bombarded with marketing messages and content from all angles, and often multiple devices at the same time. You are fighting for eyeballs, not just impressions. That’s where quality makes you stand out. All content marketers are praying for the holy mantra – a piece that goes viral. Great promotion will make a difference, but only great content will give you the chance to be the owner of the next Oreo Superbowl Tweet, or Nokia’s ‘Thanks Apple’.

And quality isn’t just about good copy, or a great production team. It’s about really understanding your audience, in particular your brand champions. Cult dancewear brand Free People Clothing learnt this the hard way earlier this year when they released a new campaign which wasn’t received in quite the way they had hoped.

It included a print campaign and a video featuring a beautiful ballerina, dancing in Free People clothing. Except she wasn’t a ballerina, she was a model. To you or I, the problem probably isn’t obvious – she looks beautiful, her style encapsulates the brand and the clothes look great. However, she isn’t a professional ballet dancer, and to Free People’s audience, a great number of whom are professional dancers, this was glaringly obvious and highly offensive. The uproar from the dance community was pretty apparent, reaching beyond the pros to the everyday fashion-conscious consumer. Some dancers even went so far as to claim that her use of pointe shoes is dangerous. Not what Free People had in mind, I’m sure.

Here’s the video if you’d like to judge for yourself:

Credit to Free People for investing time and money to try to produce some really nice content, it’s just a shame that they didn’t quite get it right. They did however take it on the chin and unlike many brands that receive a bit of a bashing, they didn’t bury the negative comments – in fact they even left them up on the blog post on their site.

Under Armour did a considerably better job when they signed world renowned American ballerina Misty Copeland to endorse the brand. Typically recruiting high profile ‘traditional’ athletes to promote the premium sportswear brand, Under Armour thought outside the box when signing Misty. They managed to gain some serous kudos amongst a new audience by giving professional dancers the respect they deserve as athletes in their own right. A clever move and one not made without some serious insightful thinking.


Content, and your wider marketing efforts, need to be carefully crafted, with your key audience always at the forefront of your mind. It’s critical to really get under their skin and think like them. How would they perceive this piece? What questions would they ask? What tiny details or inconsistencies would they notice? Free People only had to ask ONE professional dancer for their opinion.

Now is the time when poor quality content will not be tolerated. For marketing teams to really step up, we need to reach out, beyond the marketing team and make use of the valuable resources at our disposal. The fanatics within our businesses, the brand champions or the professionals in whatever industry we operate.

The best content is not produced in isolation, it is produced by collaboration.
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