A Simple Litmus Test for Content

(Photo Source: Linda Cronin)

As content marketing becomes more prevalent, there is a tendency to view it simply as a commodity. But think about the content that has an impact on your life and business. Why does that particular content matter to you versus all other content?

In Hey Whipple Squeeze This, Luke Sullivan explains that good content should be useful, beautiful, or entertaining. It’s a simple, elegant explanation that reminds us why we create content in the first place. These principles have withstood history, technologies, and trends, and they can be used as a litmus test for all of the content you create.


Does your content actually help someone do something? Learn something? Convince or persuade them about something? Great content will teach and educate your customers not only about your products and services, but about the market as a whole. Great content may provide industry insights or guides that navigate a customer through a complex purchasing decision.


Beautiful web content can range from wonderfully designed HTML5 animation to stunning videos that emotionally capture some grand idea about your company. It may mean lovingly selected typography or collections of beautiful product photos. It can even mean aesthetically crafted prose that has literary or emotional value such as gut-wrenching testimonials or stories about how a company positively affected a person’s life.


Sometimes content is just meant to engage on a gut level. Making people laugh or smile, or drawing them in with a story, can cut through a lot of noise and chatter. Nebo often uses entertainment as a way to communicate about its brand, and we find it just as important sometimes in engaging our audience as more “serious” content. And sometimes an entertaining take on something as boring as a blender can turn a commodity into something interesting again.

It’s easy to treat content like you’re just shoveling dirt into a hole, especially if your content demands are significant and voluminous. But if you don’t use this litmus test, what good is your content? Raise the bar, and your content will connect better with your audience.


Written by Kevin Howarth on April 5, 2012


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Written by
Kevin Howarth