We’re shining a light on what makes bad content … we’re naming and shaming a few sinners.
BAD CONTENT SIN #1 – PLAGIARISM: SAME SAME BUT SAME
Your content should set yourself apart from your competitors. There are many platforms for you to check your content for plagiarism: a couple of good ones are Grammarly.com and https://www.copyscape.com/. Sometimes plagiarism is a genuine accident. Our advice, get in front of the situation as soon as you are made aware of it and apologise to owner of the content. And then sometimes it’s blatant:
BAD CONTENT SIN #2 – KEY WORD CURSE
How many ways can I mention Sydney, Plumbing and CBD in a paragraph? This shouldn’t be anyone’s aim when writing … the answer, by the way, is 5. According to another plumbing website I was on, they had the gall to have anchor text “plumber in Sydney” and “Sydney Plumbing” on the same line, both linking to the URL I was already on … bravo!
BAD CONTENT SIN #3 – JARGON – MY PERSPICACITY KNOWS NO SATIETY*
Part and parcel of the above is speak in a language your readers understand. If you are writing for the average punter, steer clear of theoretical physics but if your business is Nat’s Aeronautic and Space Agency, by all means, go right ahead.
“…The large mass of Wand Z particles is the reason why weak forces are called that way: the mass of these vector bosons is a hindrance to their ability to mediate long-range interactions…” (from Science 2.0 a fascinating read for the eggheads among us)
People are likely to misinterpret or just get bored quickly
Jargon also leads into technical or difficult language like using $10 words for no reason. There are many readability tools out there. Flesh Kincaid Reading Ease score is a determination of how easy your content is to read based on school grade level. There’s a reason why the “Dummies” books are successful.
BAD CONTENT SIN #4 – UNINTERESTING: MONOTONE DRIVEL
Email copy that makes you reach for the delete button before the first sentence is fin…
It’s time for a game – open your junk folder, click an email at random. Here is mine: first sentence first paragraph:
On the occasion of festive season currently I am running with following offer for you if you are looking for developing a e-commerce website for selling your products online.
Apart from the fact that I already work for a digital agency and not in need of help with our digital, I doubt the copy would be compelling even in their native tongue. The subject was equally bamboozling: “want to achieve..”. No question mark, two fullstops, no capital letters just want to achieve.. – it’s impressive when you think about.
BAD CONTENT SIN #5 – POOR TIMING
We often think of ways to include content around a current theme whether it’s an automated Birthday discount or Xmas special. But it works the other way around as well.
I probably don’t even need to mention it, but don’t run a bucket list competition telling us the places you want to visit before you die if you’re an airline that has had two plane disasters in recent memory. No one would be that silly would they?
BAD CONTENT SIN #6 – UNFOCUSED
Always remember who you are creating content for. Whether you are writing for a broad audience, or a specific audience, make sure you are putting yourself in their shoes. If you’re not focussing your content on the reader and their needs, then they won’t read it!
Also, trying to link or associate your brand with a cause needs to be done in a focussed way. Being audience focussed when creating content is also not treating them like a idiot, lest we forget this doozy from Woolworths a couple of years ago:
BAD CONTENT SIN #7 – MEASURE TWICE, CUT ONCE
OR READ TWICE, PRESS SEND ONCE
For the love of god – Just reread once before you press send 🙂 See if you can spot the error in the below post from influencer Scott Disick.
Make sure you fact check your sources and that any facts are sound.
This is not just confined to content writing, it can be your design as well. Starbucks is a master at many things but this one wasn’t well thought out.
And, of course, sometimes there’s nothing you can do but laugh.
BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE
We know Seven Sins was enough for the bible, but how ’bout a couple of bonus ones. #8 can lose you new business and #9, well, it can lose you a whole lot more.
BAD CONTENT SIN #8 – DID YOU GET THEIR DIGITS? CALL TO ACTION
I don’t think I need to say this to you fine folk, but I would advise having a call to action in anything you create.
I saw this ↓ on the street a few weeks ago.
Wow, I really need an engraver let me just give this person a call… umm no phone number… I’ll email them… nup, not that either… hmmm I guess I could just wait next to their car until they come back.
BAD CONTENT SIN #9 – WALK THE LINE, DON’T CROSS IT
Feel free to be a bit cheeky, risk is often worth the reward. But then again sometimes take a long hard look at yourself in the mirror, and ask “Is this risky or inciting criminal activity?” Bloomingdales we’re looking at you …
*Gotta love a good Simpsons quote