Good vs bad content – what’s the difference?
Good vs bad content – what’s the difference?
There’s an overwhelming amount of content out there. With a quick search, you can find information about virtually any topic. As a business owner or content creator, you might start to fret at the thought of this, wondering how you can compete and measure up.
Well, here’s the thing to remember – despite the sheer volume of content, much of it isn’t even worth reading. Churning out content is easy-peasy, but creating a post that delivers real value to your audience takes time, thought and skill.
We’ve put together a few pointers on what distinguishes good content from bad. Take this into account next time you write, and your blog post might have a chance of being heard amid the noise on the internet.
Know your audience (and your message!)
It should be crystal-clear what your message is and to whom you’re communicating before you even sit down to write. You need to know your audience and understand the pain points, goals and challenges they face. And how do you get there? By doing a whole bunch of research, which is the first step of writing good content. Step number two is creating relevant, valuable and interesting content that will get your audience to hang around and come back for more.
Getting clear about your intent also means the writing process will be much smoother for you. Is your blog post meant to educate, entertain, persuade or inspire? What’s the topic you’re covering? Is it relevant to your audience?
The more time you spend in the research phase, the more clarity your content will have.
Knowing your audience also means that you establish a relationship and build trust. If you try to appeal to everyone, your content will likely be wishy-washy and attract no one.
People are hardwired to respond to stories. In other words – everyone loves a good story. That’s why it’s such an effective marketing tool. In short, using storytelling in your content will help you:
- Hook your audience
- Create a deeper connection.
- Drive engagement and make people take action
- Become more memorable as a brand
- Add a human element to your content
The thing is, people remember stories way more than facts and figures. Also, a story can be full of emotions, which is how you spark a connection with your audience. When someone reads a relatable story, they’ll become intrigued about your brand and what you have to say.
So, don’t be afraid to tell a compelling story. It can be the difference between a blog post that’s forgotten about in five minutes and one that stays in your reader’s mind, building that brand awareness.
Focus on providing value, not selling
You might want to promote your company’s products or services in your content. And that’s fine, but be careful you don’t cross the line and become too salesy. The risk is that you come across as pushy, making your audience want to leave as soon as possible. If you have a long-term content strategy, providing valuable content should always come first.
The person reading your content is likely looking for a solution to a particular problem. Chances are that your products or services are just what they need. But rather than trying to sell, you should focus on answering their questions, making them feel understood and heard.
You want to help your readers make well-informed, confident decisions – whether they go for your services or someone else’s. Why? Because it gives them a positive image of your brand. Also, showing off your expertise will help build trust with your audience. And when people connect with and trust your brand, they’re more likely to become long-term, loyal customers instead of only making a quick one-time purchase.
A great example of a company that puts valuable content first is HubSpot. Check out this article on how to write a terrible blog post.
Avoid the fluff and jargon
A common misconception is that you need to use complicated language to sound more intelligent or somehow impress your readers. The truth is, that approach will only leave them confused or drive them away. Remember – speak to your audience in their language, with their terminology.
The same thing goes for writing filled with unnecessary words, aka fluff. Long-winded sentences or paragraphs, not getting to the point, are challenging to read. Instead, you should focus on writing with punchiness, precision, clarity and style. Keep it simple.
Pro tip: when editing, keep an eye out for filler words and jargon and eliminate them ruthlessly.
Establish your brand voice and follow a tone-guide
Consistency is key when it comes to writing good content and creating brand loyalty. Switching between different voices will send mixed messages and make it harder for your audience to determine who you are as a brand. And it’s tricky to form a connection if your target audience is unclear on what makes you, you.
Having a clear voice is more important than ever in today’s noisy digital world. Creating a formal set of standards around how you communicate will keep your messaging consistent across different channels. It also gives your brand a personality and an edge over the competition, making it recognisable to your audience.
What makes content incredibly bad?
We’ve talked about how to write a blog post that stands out in a sea of average to crappy content. But what are the things you should avoid at all costs?
- Keyword-stuffing for SEO. Relevant keywords – good. Scattering keywords in every other sentence and thus making it intolerable to read – very bad.
- Shameless self-promotion. You should always focus on your audience and how you can bring them value.
- No call-to-action. Make sure you’re clear on what next steps you want your reader to take and include that in your content.
- Typos and grammatical errors. Let’s face it, it makes you look unprofessional, and your content will be difficult to read.
- Not breaking it up. Nobody wants to read a wall of text. Remember to create short paragraphs and bullet points.
Here’s the bottom line – writing good content isn’t something that you can rush. Doing enough research takes time, and so does the process of writing, editing and refining your text.
Now, you might think: is it so terrible to just throw something together? People usually skim through content anyway. That’s true, but they also recognise lousy content when they see it. If it’s irrelevant, lacking clarity or just written poorly, they’ll quickly move on to something worth reading.
Putting out content that isn’t up to scratch can not only prevent your blogs from getting attention – it can dent your company’s image and cause your audience to lose trust in you. If you’re not up for the challenge of doing it yourself, our final tip is to hire an experienced content writer or copywriter. It’ll save you a lot of time and headaches.