The good, the bad and the useless: What makes a worthwhile piece of online content?

For any content producing site, be it a national newspaper or a blog about turtle-breeding, ‘sticky’ content is the Holy Grail. This is content that both attracts eyeballs, and more importantly, ups repeat visitors. Yet a singular problem remains. Without a hawkish eye for quality, good content can easily be lost in the 27,000 GigaBytes (give or take) of internet traffic generated every second of every day.

People don’t have time for low quality content and they’ll certainly avoid repeat visits anywhere they find it. At Scredible, we are obsessed with good content, which is why we’re designing our app to be similarly ‘choosy’.

As you might imagine, that’s easier said than done. The challenge comes in ‘teaching’ an AI system to learn the difference between good and bad content, in the same way a person would – selecting what’s new and interesting out of the myriad of sites regurgitating identikit articles.

For any aspiring content producers keen to create articles that will cut through the noise, here are some of the benchmarks to determine ‘quality’ content:

Credibility

A quote that comes to mind time and again is: “A lie can run round the world before the truth has got its boots on.” It’s from The Truth, Terry Pratchett’s satire on the newspaper industry. In an age when people source their content socially, this has never been truer.

Like any journalist or sceptical reader, it is important to consider the source: are articles generally well written; does the site publish regularly; is there more than one writer (one-writer blogs have to produce output that’s significantly high-quality); does the site have a good reputation; and does it have a bias that muddies the validity of what is being published? Good content can come from anywhere, but sites which work hard to build their track record are more likely to get read.

Presentation

We’re all taught not to judge a book by its cover, but a poorly designed website rings alarm bells for both humans and machines. If the navigation is difficult, articles are badly edited or tagged, or if it actually hurts the eyes to look at, it’s unlikely to get past our filter.

Niche websites may not have the slick design of the big title magazines and newspapers, but if they fulfil the primary role of providing credible content that’s insightful and industry specific, and at least look neat and have ‘tied their laces’, they are more likely to appeal to readers.

Length

Asking how long a ‘good’ article should be is a bit like asking how long a piece of string should be. A good article can be 300 words or 1,500. The important factor is that the length does justice to the subject matter. Certain topics, such as academic reviews, ‘how to guides’ and political thought pieces will be better suited to long articles, where image-heavy listicle articles will be scored highly despite being light on word count. At any length, the cardinal sin is padding. Internet users are used to being able to digest quickly and move on, so adding unnecessary words can be a killer.

Asking how long a ‘good’ article should be is a bit like asking how long a piece of string should be. Click To Tweet

SEO

Some of the worst culprits for padded articles are those reeking of a desperation to optimise their SEO. Even if readers don’t spot the tell-tale signs at first, the highly repetitive use of the same phrase or keyword can wear users down and leave them dissatisfied. Content producers need to ask: What use is a strong SEO score, if once the reader gets to the article, they’re put off? An article that is well written is going to attract more visitors and wider attention for a website.

Being counterintuitive

This can also be called ‘having the element of surprise.’ Really great articles are those that provide a different angle on a known subject and present completely new ideas and discoveries that can educate and inform. A lot of online content doesn’t actually add anything new to conversations or simply states the obvious. Content that surprises and offers a new angle is what will excite and engage readers.

This article originally appeared in Digital Marketing Magazine.

Scredible launches knowledge-building social app for iOS and Android

[15 May 2015] Scredible plc, a developer of socially driven education technologies, is pleased to announce the launch of the mobile versions of its education and knowledge-building platform, Scredible; now approved and available for iOS and Android.

Scredible is the answer to an increasingly cluttered digital landscape, offering a one-stop platform for users to learn, know, and grow their presence and impact online.

Over the past two years, Scredible plc has been breaking new ground by combining next-generation professional skills and talent development tools with advanced education technologies. The company’s sophisticated, AI-driven, contextual content and social context platform is designed to learn from a user’s engagement, from their likes and dislikes, and then identify gaps in knowledge for future use in programs designed to improve users’ learning efficiency and social experience. This process improves over time as a continuous and predictive feedback protocol intelligently adapts to changing goals as the AI ‘evolves’.

Simply put, the Scredible app is designed to provide a faster, smarter way for users to discover new content and trends, to understand what they need to know, and ultimately to predict what users should know next to achieve their goals.

Download the Scredible app for iOS http://clk.ie/HYKVdYSCR and Android http://clk.ie/j2v25BSCRClick To Tweet

The machine learning technologies underpinning Scredible’s app evaluate the strength of news and other online content, applying systems that counteract the cookie-driven skew prevalent in many online searches. This enables the platform to assess whether the delivered content matches with individual user’s selected criteria by combining factors such as the quality of the source, the author, keywords, sentence structure, and context. The app has been designed to intelligently weed out the weak, underwritten, or ‘over-optimized’ articles that clutter most social feeds.

The Scredible platform provides an easy to use tool that empowers a more connected digital life.  The app combines multiple functions to perform a wide range of tasks:

·       Finds content: Scredible scours the web for real-time contextual information, content, and news – all while figuring out what you need and ignoring what you don’t.

·       Helps you research and stay on top of important topics: Scredible allows you to navigate by topic, author, and publication to get a 360 degree view of any subject, building a clear view of trending and current topics, each vital for individual users’ to meet their goals.

·       Gets to know you: Scredible learns from your goals and habits to source content that is both relevant and useful. The accumulated knowledge enables the platform to identify gaps, then source and present new, trending, and timely material in real time.

·       Helps you write: Scredible makes building social authority and followers easier. It scans content to provide ready to use posts, synopses, and comments that make sharing quality content easier.

·       Helps you learn: Scredible lets you see how many likes, shares, hashtags, keywords, and clicks your posts have generated every day, week, month, and year, providing a clear view of areas for future focus.

Colin Lucas-Mudd, CEO of Scredible plc, says: “A strong digital footprint is becoming ever more crucial for professional success in all sectors. Users are drowning in content, and every day the problem of separating the signal from the noise gets worse. 500 million tweets are posted every day on Twitter and 30 billion pieces of content are shared every month on Facebook. Irrespective of the breadth of any individual’s needs, it’s no longer possible to keep one’s finger on the pulse, nor to generate timely comments and posts, without the application of today’s advanced technologies.”

Users are drowning in content, and every day the problem of separating the signal from the noise gets worse. - Colin Lucas-MuddClick To Tweet

“Scredible focuses on what’s important to meet goals, scouring the web for the most credible, useful, inspiring content, specifically targeted to each individual users’ needs, then leverages the power of the evolving cloud and machine learning technologies to deliver both information and knowledge to meet those needs.”

Lucas-Mudd concludes: “With the individual and corporate testing and analysis phase completed, we are excited to be introducing the freely available version of Scredible mobile and web to the wider market. By providing broad access to a developing intelligent learning social development suite, we anticipate being at the centre of the inevitable shift in education methods and technologies as machine learning evolves into true artificial intelligence.”