Content marketing is one of the dominant strategies in the modern digital marketing world. That’s partially due to its accessibility (since anyone can write and publish content on the web). But it’s also a testament to its effectiveness.
Of course, practicing content marketing isn’t a surefire way to generate traffic or even build your brand reputation — especially now. The truth is, marketers everywhere are suffering from the effects of “bad” content, whether they’re the ones writing it or not.
If content marketing is going to survive as a strategy, we need to collectively address it.
Bad content is pretty much what it sounds like. It’s typically content produced for its own sake, rather than to serve a specific purpose. Instead of being written to inform the public or entertain a specific target audience, it’s written merely to generate traffic or improve the visibility of the brand.
That said, the intent of the piece isn’t the main problem. The main problem is that the content cuts corners, or otherwise adds little value to a given conversation. It doesn’t cover new ground. It doesn’t make strong points. It doesn’t offer new research. Sometimes, it’s not even well written, ending up riddled with typos and semantic errors.
The ongoing publication and syndication of bad content leads to a host of negative consequences for marketers, both on a first order (affecting the publisher directly) and a second order (affecting everyone, even those not publishing bad content).
Writing and publishing bad content will negatively impact your brand, even if you see some marginal increases in traffic or brand recognition.
Bad content in circulation also affects the entire marketing industry — even if you’re not immediately aware of these effects.
Generally speaking, you should have an intuition for whether or not your content is “bad.” If you only care about it as a tool for generating traffic, if you outsource the work to non-native speakers or if you rush through the content with no regard to its structure, research or writing, you probably have bad content on your hands.
But if you’re in a gray area and you’re not sure whether your content meets a decent threshold of quality, there are some aspects you can check:
There isn’t much you can do about other businesses and individuals writing and publishing bad content, but you can take control over your own approach. Take some time to audit your current content marketing strategy (if you have one) and re-prioritize the quality of your work.
Originally appeared in Entrepreneur