Doing content badly?
Best not to do it at all

They say there’s no such thing as bad publicity. But this certainly isn’t true when it comes to content. Get it wrong and you can do more harm than good. From simply confusing people, to making your actual products sound bad.

There’s a lot at stake.

Here’s what can go wrong if you put out bad content – and how you can fix it.

1. Bad content = bad offering

In 2019, Havas reported that 58% of content created by 1,800 world-leading brands is poor and irrelevant.

When Havas Media began surveying over 350,000 consumers as part of their Meaningful Brand report, I’m not sure they were expecting to find that over half the marketing content out there would be classed as bad. But they did.

Bad content is everywhere. Often because people focus on creating lots of content, over creating meaningful content. Get it wrong and it always reflects poorly on your product or service.

Think about it. Would you trust a brand that had content littered with spelling or grammatical errors? Or used inaccurate facts in blogs? Or whose content was aimless, thoughtless or overly promotional? You wouldn’t. It’s off-putting and probably makes you click away from the web page.

Turn bad content to good

Focus on producing high-quality content. Preferably lots of it, but if you have to make a choice between low quality/high quantity or high quality/low quantity opt for the latter.

Content should provide vital and relevant information to your reader. If you don’t have time, consider outsourcing to a dedicated content marketing agency. The very best out there will be able to both produce outstanding content but also advise on how to position your brand as a thought leader within your space.

2. Bad content = more confusion

Beyond simply reflecting poorly on your brand, making bad quality content can confuse your audience. People want to know what the relevance of the piece is – and if it’s not obvious then they won’t read it. This behavioral marketing company found out the hard way:

In 2016, SaleCycle discovered that just 10% of their blogs accounted for 50% of their web traffic.

The big problem for SaleCycle was that it was happily creating blogs about its culture. Its new offices, for example. But no one outside the company was interested in reading this stuff.

The outcome can be even worse if the pieces are actually read. The consumer is left mystified about what connects the piece with their need. They’re left feeling confused. And no one wants to feel that way. If we do, we don’t come back.

Make content timely and relevant

To test the relevance of your pieces you can use the five Ps that were proposed by researchers at Accenture. Does your article achieve at least some of these?

  • Purpose – show your company shares your customers’ values
  • Pride – enable customers to feel inspired to use your products/services
  • Partnership – show customers that your company works with them
  • Protection – help customers feel secure when working with you
  • Personalisation – continuously tailor your offering to customer needs

In addition, after my articles are written they go to an editor for checking, who comments on my spelling, grammar and fact checks the things I say. They let me know if anything is confusing, or not relevant. In my experience, editors are worth their weight in gold.

3. Bad content = the dreaded knock-on effect

Creating lots of bad content reflects poorly on your offering, creates brand confusion, but to make matters worse it can derail your entire digital marketing campaign.

Bad content can lead to bad email send-outs. It leads to boring social posts. It leads to poor search engine optimisation (SEO) results, and misleading information about your brand online. Ultimately, it creates a general passive feeling, or one of distrust, towards your brand. Over time, people begin to switch off to all your other digital marketing efforts.

Get your digital marketing in sync

Quite often I come across companies who have all the right pieces for a great digital marketing campaign, but none of them are working together.

So start by taking stock of all your content – these could be blogs, downloadable e-books, videos, infographics, and so on. Ask how well everything links together: is it just a lot of separate pieces with no common theme?

Then turn your focus to content strategy. Think carefully and map out how you want to develop, plan, and then manage your content. Is the right piece, at the right time, finding the right audience? Also, make sure your content structure is mobile and desktop friendly (see my recent article on this).

Need advice on your content?

Then get the opinion of the experts. A digital content marketing agency can quickly take a look at the current content marketing strategy and offer advice on how it could be improved to get the most from your marketing spend.

Posted inContent Marketing Posted on
written by

Alex Ionides Managing Director, Silx