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The Blog - Where Business Collides with Human Nature

Bad Content vs Good Content

In order to understand bad content vs good content, we need to consider the context.  An inbound marketing pro will tell you that relevance may be the most important piece but even relevance on its own is not enough.  The context of course is related to audience, education, experience, culture, difficulty to create and as Seth Godin will say "how remarkable is it?".  Thus, just as beauty, quality is based on the eyes of the beholder.

"Excellent job!" today does may not look so impressive six months down the road. 

1+1=2 Theory:

If you create content so simple and common that anyone who has even the most basic educaton already has awareness of it, you are neither helpful nor impressive."

Some refer to this as: "Bad Content"  If you continue to create and share 1+1=2, you create a reputation.  (No one will share or link and they will avoid your website.)

Let's peek into the life of Ellen Henderson who was so gracious to share her experience with creating content with her drawings.

Here is Ellen Henderson's first try at drawing a dog when she was six years old:

Now as an adult she shares a doodle drawing:

Realizing her "bad picture" dilemna, she worked on the next with much more care:

As a six year old, we cheer and celebrate over the first photo.  It is awesome.  

As an adult, we do not expect Ellen to be an artist and her drawing is recognizable as a dog. We get it.  It is functional and certainly could show six year olds how to draw.  It does not add value to the world.  What is interesting is her story and the fact that she challenged herself.  The drawings were basic and un-impressive but her character and willingness to trust is impressive.

And then there is Picasso who drew a picture of a dog.

Photo by Pete Smith

If you did not know it was Picasso, would it be anything special? 

When you look at someone's drawing who is more skilled, it doesn't take an expert to say it is of better quality:


And in fact, Bob Davies takes you through the step by step process of drawing a dog.  He actually starts here:


Let's talk about blog content:

It is time to write a blog article and every trainer, consultant, coach marketer says: "Write quality content."  Many decide not to offer any content for fear they come off as a six year old.  Maybe what you have is self evident, common and unhelpful.

If you are hoping to gain the reputation of highly educated people who are executives in Fortune 500 company, then yes...  you must have your ducks in a row and connect at THEIR level.  They will not have patience for stating the obvious.

If on the other hand your potential buyers have less of an education, then you might get away with stating the obvious, repeating what can be found on any other website.  Remember though, as they click through the Internet, it only takes a few clicks for the visitor to see that you offer the same lame content that can be found anywhere.

As an example, stay away from "If you are a business owner then you probably want to achieve better success."  This shows that someone is using words and letters but stating the obvious without any real point is not helpful.

Here is an example taken from a guest blog article proposal:  "Though lap tops are quite portable thanks to their light weight design, the reason they have this lightweight design is because they don't have as much power."  More than "lap tops" should be "laptops", this appears to be written by someone not yet ready to write.

This is why Google is at war with Internet marketers.  Fluff.  We are all guilty of adding fluff to the Internet.  Since we don't have something of value to post, lets post anything. 

How to overcome the bad content quality issue?

  • Only experts who know a topic well should be writing the content.
  • Writers unfamiliar need to do serious research is done before creating the content.
  • Do-it-yourselfers: Take writing courses to understand grammar, spelling and copywriting. Humans are visiting and making judgement as to whether they should share or buy.
  • Understand the reader/audience better than you know yourself.
  • Hiring someone is a great idea.  You get what you pay for.  2 cents a word will get you words and letters on a page with little or no importance.  You can begin to find better quality at about 10 cents a word.

Do you need a Readiblity Level Test Tool?  Find one at:  This will help you connect better with your readers.  Newspapers and magazines are written between the 9th and 10th grade level.  

Here is Matt Cutts in a video talking about content quality and what to watch for:

He notes in the video: "People can tell you if you put time into your content."  Content that was once good enough is now to be avoided.

Here is my take:  Someone comes to a website with two objectives:

  1. To learn something special they did not learn before.
  2. To buy a product or service to help them change the game for their business.

If the information provided on the website or blog is "common" to either of these types of visitors, they should click away.  If the best you have is 1+1=2, while the rest of the world is doing algebra, then it is time to rethink what you offer.

Humans are getting tired of what they find on the Internet.  Stop and listen to what people talk about in meetings, restaurants and coffee shops. What once was "did you see this latest website" now includes "there is so much junk, its not worth the time."

I know a few writers.  Let me know here if you need help.

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Topics: Business Blogging Write a Book Inbound Marketing Content Marketing Outsourcing