Guest

Good Content vs. Bad Content

By: Guest | April 2, 2012 | 
54

Today’s guest post is written by Jayme Thomason.

I spoke at a content marketing conference a while back, and sat horrified in the audience while another speaker advised an audience full of newbies that 50 short, keyword optimized posts are better than a few longer pieces.

I understand his intentions, and that he probably wasn’t condoning crap content. But what all those new, eager marketers in the audience heard was “quantity over quality.”

This is not good advice.

This is the mentality that is creating our global content pollution problem.

If this is the way we’re going to conduct our content marketing initiatives, then we’ve missed the point of content marketing altogether. The point I’m referring to is much like the concept of PR: Build relationships by adding value. (Read Lisa Gerber’s article for a great example of this.)

People are not stupid. They can tell when an article is stuffed full of keywords, and they know why: To bait them.

If we continue to view content as bait with the only purpose being to get them to visit our websites and buy something, we’re essentially taking the old push advertising model and trying to adapt it to content (which won’t work).

The reason any of us do any kind of marketing is to sell more of our stuff. We all know that. But our marketing department’s attitude should be: “We provide value to our target audience so they build a favorable opinion of us. That way, when we share good content with our network, they share it with their network.”

Bait content does not get shared. It’s viewed once, the reader is let down, and they move on. You’ve lost them.

Let’s compare two scenarios.

  1. Acme Company does some keyword research to find out what their customers are searching for relating to what Acme company produces. They give the list to the writers and say, “make sure these keywords appear in the headline, subheadline, and six times throughout the body copy.” I need 50 of these articles per week.[Later] Potential customer finds one of their articles on one of those weird article sites that has those annoying advertising links that pop up (because they don’t want this crap on their blog). Potential customer reads what she can of the article, assumes the writer was drunk when he wrote it because it makes no sense, and she moves on. No click-through to their site.
  2. Smartie Company also does some keyword research to find out what questions and needs their customers have which prompt them to search for the products Smartie Company produces. They read all the articles their customers are reading to get a better understanding of what content is out there and what “holes” exist that Smartie can fill. They get in a room and brainstorm with their sales team to develop an editorial calendar with six months’ worth of well-though-out, valuable, optimized content.[Later] Potential customer finds an article while searching for a solution to a problem, finds a helpful step-by-step article giving her exactly what she needs, and then shares it with her LinkedIn group. She bookmarks Smartie’s blog site so she can come back later.

These scenarios may be a bit extreme, but my point is good content marketing has everything to do with your mindset. To impress robots, go with Acme’s strategy, for long-term, real company growth, go with Smartie’s.

There’s a lot of competition on the web for your audience’s eyeballs. Every time someone shares something you’ve written, it’s like getting a vote. Pay attention to the articles getting the most votes, and you can better understand what your target audience wants from you.

True story, one of our customers, an online monitoring company, was surprised by this: They have a fantastic, well-strategized blog where they talk about trends and insights about online behaviors. You know the post that, to this day, got the most shares, likes, and tweets? A coupon for free doughnuts on National Doughnut Day.

Interesting, how we think what our customers want from us is meaty thought leadership, but sometimes, they’re just hungry and feel like having a doughnut. This customer did not change their content strategy because of this, but now they’re not afraid to throw in some fun. Just some “food” for thought.

When asked about the quantity over quality debate (and there is one going on), we tell our customers this: Content marketing only works if you can sustain it. And you can only sustain it if you’re publishing thoughtful, valuable content at a frequency you’re comfortable with.

Bait content is not sustainable. What the other speaker should have said was, “whether it’s one post a day or one post a week, as long as it’s adding value to your customers, then you’re doing it right.”

What do you think?

Jayme Thomason is as the co-founder and CEO of DivvyHQ, the simple, spreadsheet-free editorial calendar application built specifically for content managers who manage multiple projects, clients, and teams and are longing for a simpler solution. She is on a mission to take her simple approach to content marketing to the masses. Follow @jaymethomason on Twitter and @divvyhq or email her at jayme@divvyhq.com.

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54 Comments on "Good Content vs. Bad Content"

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Erin F.
4 years 1 month ago

Dear Jayme,
 
We should be friends. That is all. Actually, cheers on the post. I agree. Valuable content is much more sustainable than bait content (It doesn’t leave a bad aftertaste, either.). I appreciate SEO, but I’m always focused on writing good content first and on adding value for my audience. The keywords tend to take care of themselves when I do so.
 
Erin

KenMueller
4 years 1 month ago

Well put, Jayme. I still see this all the time with local businesses taking the advice of SEO consultants. Their blogs are unreadable and a serious turn off. 

jaymethomason
jaymethomason
4 years 1 month ago

 @KenMueller Eek. It’s a tedious, but satisfying, job to turn clients from SEO abusers into content marketers. Keep up the great work!

jaymethomason
jaymethomason
4 years 1 month ago

@ginidietrich Thank you for letting me guest post!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 1 month ago

@jaymethomason It was a really good post!

ClayMorgan
4 years 1 month ago
How much do you believe that the price to develop good content plays? Truly good content doesn’t come cheap or easy and far too many companies (particularly those engaging in bait content) show how much they value – or don’t value – content by what they pay to develop it. Just look at sites like Elance and Guru, where companies routinely pay $50 or $100 for a batch of 50 or 100 articles.   Unfortunately, ever effective method for marketing has people who have the contradictory view of not valuing the marketing approach, and therefore no investing, yet wanting to… Read more »
jaymethomason
jaymethomason
4 years 1 month ago

 @ClayMorgan Indeed. Coming from a freelance copywriting background, I was always so frustrated when those “content farm” sites would undercut my pricing by like 80%. When clients don’t truly understand the value of content, they win every time. When clients do understand the impact content has, those sites have no chance. But you’re right…this is still a huge educational need.

Erin F.
4 years 1 month ago

 @jaymethomason  @ClayMorgan Ugh. Don’t even get me started on sites like Elance and Guru. People kept telling me to apply for gigs with sites like them. I just couldn’t do it, not even when I was a fledgling entrepreneur/freelancer and needed the work.

jaymethomason
jaymethomason
4 years 1 month ago

 @Erin F.  @ClayMorgan Erin, that was most likely a very good decision for you. Even though it was maybe a slower start, it has probably netted you more in the long run, eh?

TheJackB
4 years 1 month ago

Add the word “free” and you will almost always see an increase in the number of eyeballs. People love free and it almost doesn’t matter what it is.
 
One of the challenges we face is that so many businesses and people have adopted a short term outlook predicated on their need for instant gratification. It is a huge mistake. Growth based on strategic thinking is better than slinging mud at the wall to see what sticks. 

jaymethomason
jaymethomason
4 years 1 month ago

 @TheJackB Awesome advice! Thanks so much!

ExtremelyAvg
4 years 1 month ago

 @TheJackB I didn’t know that about “Free”.  I may try to use that strategy in my next  blog piece, “Top 10 Free Freebies for Promoting Freedom or Movies by Morgan Freeman”.

jaymethomason
jaymethomason
4 years 1 month ago

Thanks for sharing! @jmellott99 @dyllanconstinc @dbproductionLtd @Mikinzie @SaraNeedham

DyllanConstInc
DyllanConstInc
4 years 1 month ago

@jaymethomason happy to share, great content as always.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 1 month ago

@tamcdonald It’s only quality for you

tamcdonald
tamcdonald
4 years 1 month ago

@ginidietrich Is that a good thing? 😉

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 1 month ago

@tamcdonald For you? No way!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 1 month ago

@_SKG I miss your green face

_SKG
_SKG
4 years 1 month ago

@ginidietrich Um….not quite sure how to take that Gini. 😀

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 1 month ago

@_SKG LOL

bdorman264
4 years 1 month ago
Too much bait is just stink bait http://ow.ly/a2gno anyway.    Even though all my online friends will tell you socially I’m just a goober because I’m too lazy to learn any of the ‘stuff’ that you are supposed to know, in some ways it has kept me from wanting to get caught up in the ‘game’. For better or worse, what you get of me is pure all uneducated Florida Cracker redneck that wouldn’t know a keyword if it jumped in my boat…..er, uh post.     Ok, I’m really not that naive, but I know what I like to read… Read more »
jaymethomason
jaymethomason
4 years 1 month ago

 @bdorman264 Stink bait – hee hee! I’m totally going to use that line in my next presentation, hope that’s OK! 

Lisa Gerber
4 years 1 month ago

 @jaymethomason @bdorman264 Oh! Speaking of saltine crackers… there is a video somewhere of @mollimegasko trying to prove a point that you can eat xx number of saltines without drinking water. I believe she failed. but anyway…

jaymethomason
jaymethomason
4 years 1 month ago

@seanmalarkey @_SKG @rjfrasca @mariustorjusen Thanks so much for sharing my post!

mariustorjusen
mariustorjusen
4 years 1 month ago

@jaymethomason I found it very relevant , so keep those good tweets coming

rjfrasca
rjfrasca
4 years 1 month ago

@jaymethomason Absolutely. Great post 🙂 Have an awesome day!

jaymethomason
jaymethomason
4 years 1 month ago

Thank you for sharing, @beckygaylord!

jaymethomason
jaymethomason
4 years 1 month ago

@thesnowlegacy @anandp29 @cbmatthews @aschottmuller @DomJofo Thanks so much for the Twitter love!

anandp29
anandp29
4 years 1 month ago

@jaymethomason You’re welcome!

jaymethomason
jaymethomason
4 years 1 month ago

@soundtrack_pro Thanks for sharing!

Lisa Gerber
4 years 1 month ago

I want you to know, I LOVE the doughnut story and it confirmed for me that it’s OK to run the guest post we’re running on Thursday. Some times it’s OK to just have fun – we don’t always have to have a point. Regardless, we do have to be interesting/entertaining. 
 
Also, YAY! The buffer button is back! Thanks, leowid !

LeoWid
LeoWid
4 years 1 month ago

 @Lisa Gerber no worries Lisa, all is shiny and easy to share again! 🙂 

jaymethomason
jaymethomason
4 years 1 month ago

 @Lisa Gerber  leowid So happy to hear, Lisa!

TRGArts
TRGArts
4 years 1 month ago

RT @kmueller62: Good Content vs. Bad Content http://t.co/7BTZrF4q via @ginidietrich #artsmarketing #nptech

jaymethomason
jaymethomason
4 years 1 month ago

@voxoptima @stefsealy @NancyCawleyJean @rjfrasca @mongoosemetrics Thank you so much for the Twitter love. Love making new friends!

NancyCawleyJean
NancyCawleyJean
4 years 1 month ago

@jaymethomason A good post MUST be shared! Look forward to more! Do you have a blog I can subscribe to?

jaymethomason
jaymethomason
4 years 1 month ago

Thank you for sharing! @drjasonsnyder @razoo @saintinc @giseleNMendez

saintinc
saintinc
4 years 1 month ago

@jaymethomason Great article! 🙂

jaymethomason
jaymethomason
4 years 1 month ago

@lisagerber You’re such a wonderful editor! Thanks for making me sound so good!

lisagerber
lisagerber
4 years 1 month ago

@jaymethomason I had great content to work with. 🙂 thanks for the nice note. Made me smile.

markalves
markalves
4 years 1 month ago

@briancarter Good article. But, the line “This is not good advice” wraps underneath the author’s pic — looks like an unfortunate caption.

jaymethomason
jaymethomason
4 years 1 month ago

@spiral16 @KristaKotria @ HurstAaron @summerjoy Thanks so much for sharing my article!

JustInTheSouth
JustInTheSouth
4 years 1 month ago

@BJ_Emerson Thanks for the RT BJ. Hope all is well with you.

JamesDuthie
JamesDuthie
4 years 1 month ago

@alexwood15 Thanks bro

jaymethomason
jaymethomason
4 years 1 month ago

@clairedowdall @schneiderb @alanariley Thanks so much for sharing!

clairedowdall
clairedowdall
4 years 1 month ago

@jaymethomason @schneiderb @alanariley my pleasure! It’s a great post 🙂

mindywithrow
mindywithrow
4 years 1 month ago
Thank you for taking a stand for quality against quantity. When I read your line, “They read all the articles their customers are reading to get a better understanding of what content is out there and what “holes” exist that Smartie can fill,” I was cheering. That’s exactly what I do as part of my content inventory and gap analysis for clients, and it always pays off.    There is still a common lack of understanding, even among clients who prefer to produce lengthier content on a less frequent basis, about what constitutes good content. Like brands who have a… Read more »
Nivlong
Nivlong
4 years 1 month ago

@scrappy_face @SpinSucks I vote for good content! http://t.co/ipZ2n2F3

scrappy_face
scrappy_face
4 years 1 month ago

@Nivlong High 5 for content! 🙂

jaymethomason
jaymethomason
4 years 1 month ago

@cmgpartners Thank you!

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[…] Become a thought leader on a topic or profession? […]

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[…] is extremely important as your most loyal customers/readers will be expecting consistent, quality content. They won’t appreciate The National Enquirer if they are expecting The New York […]

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[…] Your content consumers – customers – can tell the scratchy and uncomfortable content from the good content, even if they can’t explain the difference. They engage with the quality content – wear it – in a way they never do with the bad content. They can wind up mocking the bad content. For examples, see here and here. […]

KattAnnPaul
KattAnnPaul
1 year 9 months ago

Great article! Awesome point, i totally agree.

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