When it comes to content marketing, as with just about any marketing strategy, the goal is usually more traffic, and more conversions. You need to show the business that you’re getting a positive ROI. But if you’re rushing to produce content in order to see fast results, you could actually be doing more harm than good.
When you think about how much content is available online, it’s pretty clear as to why it’s so difficult to stand out from the competition. And that’s just static content – marketers are also targeting people directly, so your audience is probably saturated with content! What all this means is that your content can’t just have an eye-catching headline. The copy itself has to offer value, whether it’s educational, quirky, or simply entertaining.
Overall, it’s essential that you make the most of your marketing budget. It may take a little longer to see results, if you’re spending more time on perfecting your content, but it will be worth it in the long run.
What Do We Mean By Bad Content?
When we talk about bad content, this doesn’t always mean the copy is littered with spelling and grammatical mistakes, or that the images are pixelated or blurry. Obviously those are things to avoid, but in this case, we’re talking about the writing itself – is the copy engaging? Will your audience enjoy reading or watching your content?
Perhaps the worst things your content can be are irrelevant or duplicated. In terms of the latter, this could be copy that is elsewhere on your own website, or plagiarised from another site. Irrelevant content is anything that has clearly just been written to grab people’s attention, and has nothing to do with what your business has on offer. Both of these types of content are likely to be picked up by Google, who will penalise you for it.
Other examples of bad content include anything that doesn’t have a clear purpose. This could be content that has been written without a strategy in mind, or something that wasn’t written for the audience. Your followers will be able to tell if you’ve only written copy in order to promote something or to boost your keyword rankings.
Bad Content Key Metrics
You may be looking over your content and thinking that it seems of a high quality – it’s well written, stays on topic, and is informative. But does your audience feel the same way? In 2015, Moz, a SEO software specialist, and Buzzsumo, creators of content marketing tools, conducted a study analysing the links and shares of over a million articles. Both of these metrics are a good indicator of how engaging your users find your content. When looking at a random selection of 750,000 articles, the team found that 50% of these didn’t have any backlinks, thus were either not engaging enough to reference, or were not being read at all.
If your content falls under this category, it means that any money you’ve invested in it may be considered to be at least a partial loss. It may not be a total loss though, if you can show a return on investment through other metrics, such as a click to purchase rate.
Is Bad Content Impacting Your Business?
Before you can determine whether or not your content is costing your business more money than it’s making, you need to work out the actual cost of producing this content. The key considerations include:
- The cost of your in-house, agency or freelance content team, which includes strategists, writers, and editors
- How much you’re spending on advertising when promoting your content
- The price of email newsletters or other forms of distribution, such as press releases
- How much you spend on a Content Management System, such as WordPress or Prismic
When you total all these up, the price per blog post or article will undoubtedly be more expensive than you realised. That’s why it’s so important that every piece of content you create is of a high quality and engages your target audience.
Bad Content Can Damage Your Reputation
Online marketing has given businesses the opportunity to talk about their brand and culture more than ever before. So if you’re producing bad content, which isn’t in line with your brand values, there’s a good chance that people will notice, and call you out on it. The worst case scenario is that your poor content will be shared due to how bad it is, and could even go viral.
Essentially, you need to produce high quality content that is relevant to your audience, so that you don’t just get traffic and then a high bounce rate. The aim is to create a loyal audience, who buy into the brand, and will share your content when they find it particularly engaging.
How to Produce Quality Content
In terms of producing great content, you’ve probably heard all the advice before. From the importance of long form content, to creating content that converts, there are loads of things to bear in mind when writing engaging copy. A few key things to remember are making sure you keep your writing on brand, and that you’re always thinking about your audience. What sort of content would they like to read or see? Which platform are they primarily using to consume content?
You should furthermore ensure that you have a clearly defined content marketing strategy, with measurable goals. For instance, are you hoping to achieve more site traffic, or more brand awareness? Once you’ve decided on your goals, you can then come up with ideas on how to meet them, and then analyse the results of each campaign. The results of the campaigns can be used to inform your next strategy, so that your content keeps improving over time!