Though the phrase “content is king” might seem a bit overused by 2021, it remains true. The right content marketing strategy can help a business generate traffic, build brand awareness and increase revenue. The emphasis here, though, is on the word ‘right’. While quality content can give you a boost, there are times when no content is better than bad content.
So, what exactly is ‘bad’ content and what steps can you take to make sure you avoid it? Let’s find out!
What is bad content?
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When we talk about ‘bad’ content, we’re not referring to blog posts or articles that contain topics or controversial opinions that we don’t agree with—that’s entirely subjective. We’ve all got different tastes when it comes to content, especially when it comes to topics, tone, word count and so on.
So, what exactly are we talking about then?
Every piece of content you create should be designed with a purpose in mind, whether that’s to answer a question, address a pain point or to entertain your target audience. If you’re creating content just because you need to fill up space on your website or blog, or just for the sake of it, then it’s probably bad content.
Is too salesy
Though it’s important to inform your audience about your products or services, the last thing you want is to turn your blog into a never-ending advertisement. Trust us—no-one is going to want to read your hundredth blog post detailing the same lists of features and guarantees.
The aim of your content should be to target your audience’s needs and concerns, as opposed to being completely self-promotional. It’s not about you here; it’s about your target audience.
Doesn’t offer anything new
If you look up any topic or question in a search engine, you’re bound to find hundreds of articles that are more or less the same. In some cases, they’ll even share the same headings, references and exact keywords. This is a trap that you’ll want to avoid falling into.
After all, why should someone bother reading your content if it’s exactly the same as everyone else’s?
Is low in quality
It might sound like an exaggeration, but typos and grammatical errors can push potential customers away from your website faster than you can say ‘content’.
If you’ve not taken the time to proofread your own content before it goes live, what else are you sloppy with? Can your customers really trust you to provide them with a high-quality product or service? Do they really want to part with their money if they’re not 100% sold on your reliability?
Why is no content better than bad content?
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The whole point of content is to help you attract your target audience, increase conversions and build trust between your business and your buyers. If you’re not willing to put time, effort and money into creating good content, however, you’re better off having no content at all, because you certainly won’t get anything good out of it.
Opting for bad content will…
Damage your reputation
If you’re churning out content that is low in quality or isn’t researched properly, your target audience is going to assume that you don’t know what you’re talking about, or that you simply don’t care. From the moment that this thought is cemented in their minds, they’ll only ever associate your brand with bad content.
Think carefully about what this means for your business. It will lead to you missing out on hundreds of potential customers. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! It’s likely that anyone who thinks you’re untrustworthy will tell their friends and family to avoid your business—putting them off ever making a purchase with you.
Ruin your SEO efforts
Good content ranks well in search engines, which in turn helps a greater number of people find your website or blog—potentially converting them to buyers.
If you don’t put in the effort to create good content, however, e.g., forgoing keyword research or ignoring what your target audience is actually looking for, your rankings will suffer. And that’s not all. If your content is poor, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to make any progress with your link building strategy. No self-respecting website or business will want to link to bad content.
Not get shared
If you’re using your social media effectively, you’ll be sharing your content with your target audience on a regular basis, in the hopes that it will increase brand awareness and drive traffic to your website. The more your content is shared, the more likely you are to achieve these goals.
Unfortunately, if you’re in the habit of pushing out bad content, it’s unlikely that anyone will want to read it, let alone share it with other people! This is the best case scenario you can hope for with bad content. The worst case scenario sees people sharing your bad content because they think it’s a joke. Instead of getting the recognition you want, your business becomes the laughing stock of your industry.
Sure, you’d get a bit of publicity out of it, but would it really be worth it in the long run if no-one takes you seriously?
Repel your audience
One of the reasons why some businesses opt for bad content is because they feel like they need to publish content on a regular basis in order to keep traffic flowing to the website. There’s a big problem with this line of thinking though—why would your target audience bother staying on your website if it doesn’t offer any answers or relevant information?
If your content doesn’t offer anything of value to your target audience, they will leave and probably never come back. This, in turn, will lead to bounce rates skyrocketing and your competitors snatching up your disinterested audience.
Cost you money
Bad content can cause some real damage to your piggy bank, for various reasons. For starters, even the most generic piece of content takes time to write and, as we all know, time is money. The time that you (or your content team) spend on writing rubbish content could have been put to better use.
Additionally, as we’ve discussed, bad content decreases your chances of converting your target audience to actual buyers, which means that you could lose out on hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds every year.
Make you struggle to stand out
There are countless businesses out there that churn out bad content in the hopes that it will somehow help with their rankings or generate traffic. If you’re doing the same, you’re not only adding to the mountain of bad content out there, you’re making it that much more difficult for you to stand out from the crowd.
It’s better that your audience doesn’t know who you are, than for them to assume that you’re lazy, untrustworthy or incompetent. If you can’t take the time to write good content, then no content is better than bad content.
How do I write good content?
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By this point, you should now be able to identify bad content and know what kind of consequences you face if you don’t put in the work. But what should you do if all you know how to write is bad content?
Supersede Media is here to save the day! Before you write anything, you need to ask yourself these six key questions…
① Who are you creating it for?
Your content should be created with a specific target audience in mind. It doesn’t matter if it’s web copy, blog content or marketing materials, you need to be hyper-focused on your audience when you’re writing, otherwise you’ll miss the mark entirely.
If you’re not sure who your target audience is, then you need to create your own buyer personas. These profiles are based on quantitative and qualitative research which will tell you what their motivations, goals, pain points and interests are. This in turn will help you tailor your content to the people you’re looking to sell your products and services to.
The more you know about your target audience, the better able you’ll be to create good content that matches their needs and desires. Remember, good content doesn’t revolve around you—it’s all about your audience.
② Why are you creating it?
The next step in your content creation process is to define the purpose of your content. In other words, you’re trying to figure out what it is your audience is looking for. Are you answering one of their questions, or solving a problem? Are you trying to inform or entertain them in some way?
The answers to these questions will help you create content that is purposeful and relevant. That’s not to say that you can’t focus on your products or services—you simply have to frame it in a way that highlights the direct benefits to the audience, as opposed to simply listing the features.
But don’t forget about your goals…
Though it’s important to think about what your audience is looking for, there’s a secondary purpose to your content: your goals.
Are you looking to increase your audience’s awareness of a specific product, or nudge people to get in touch for a consultation? Are you looking to outperform your competitors, or just generally drive more traffic to your website?
If you know what your exact goals are, you’ll be able to align them with your content properly, e.g., crafting call to actions (CTAs) that push your target audience in the right direction.
③ Have you done your keyword research?
Before putting pen to paper, or finger to keyboard, you need to carry out some keyword research. It’s not enough to simply have a few topics to hand. You need to know what your target audience is searching for, not what you think they’re searching for. This will help you figure out which keywords you need to target in your content.
Not sure where to start? Create a list of the topics and questions you want to focus on. Next, use a keyword research tool to compile a list of relevant keywords. You’ll want to aim for an even mix of short-tail and long-tail keywords.
The short-tail keywords you come up with will likely be high in search volume, which means they’ll be pretty competitive and tricky to rank for. Your long-tail keywords, by comparison, will be a closer match to what your audience is actually searching for and slightly easier to rank for.
④ Are you bringing anything new to the table?
If you want to stand out from the crowd and outperform your competitors, you need to give your target audience a reason to read your content. The best way to do this is by giving them something new, or different, to chew on.
Carry out your own research…
Though it’s difficult to cover ground that has never been touched before, you can still spruce up an overdone topic by conducting your own research and sharing your insights, e.g., questionnaires, interviews or polls.
Not only will this garner interest with your audience, it will also be hugely beneficial for your link building strategy. If people think your data is notable in some way, they’ll link to it, which helps you gain high-quality backlinks in the process.
Mix things up…
People are easily bored, which is why you should avoid being predictable with your content. Articles aren’t the only route to take when it comes to creating good content. Instead of filling up your blog with the same cookie-cutter articles, try something more engaging:
- How-to guides
- White papers
Don’t be afraid to experiment with your content. After all, it’s the only way to find out what your audience responds well to. If you’re going through a rough patch with your creativity, try our handy tips to become a creative ideas factory!
⑤ Is it well-written?
Whether you’re just desperate to get something up on your blog, or keen to share your new findings with the world, you should never rush to publish content. It results in sloppy mistakes and low-quality results. And, as we’ve discussed, it’s a sure-fire way to deter your audience from returning to your website.
So, before you hit publish, get someone to go through your content with a fine tooth comb. It doesn’t matter how confident you are in your writing abilities, there’s bound to be something that you’ve missed. That’s why you need to implement a strict proofreading and editing process.
⑥ What do the metrics tell you?
Once you’ve published your content, keep an eye on your metrics. Though content is rarely ever an overnight success, you can still gauge how well your audience has responded to it over time by looking at:
- Engagement metrics: shares, likes, comments
- User behaviour metrics: unique visitors, page views, bounce rates
- SEO metrics: backlinks, keyword rankings, organic traffic
If you’ve noticed a lack of engagement, or an increase in bounce rates, you might need to go back to the drawing board and reconsider your content strategy.
And if that doesn’t work, your best course of action might be to get a professional to do the heavy lifting for you! Contact Supersede Media today to find out how we can help you become content kings and reap the full benefits of good content!