Stop Creating Sh***y Content

As marketers or business owners, we’ve all heard it over the past decade: cold calling is dead, inbound marketing is the new way, everyone should blog! But isn’t there a limit? With this not-so-new movement, we’ve reached the tipping point where the internet is now congested with terrible, sometimes pointless content for the sake of content.

This is my official outcry: Please stop.

At INBOUND 16, HubSpot’s annual inbound marketing conference, I sat in the audience of 10,000 marketers and small business owners nodding their heads enthusiastically to the prospect of creating a blog to bring in more warm leads. And yes, as a marketer this is a great tactic, but as I looked around the room I wondered how many of these people would go home and blog for the sake of blogging? My guess was, a vast majority.

This isn’t HubSpot’s fault, there is a surplus of case studies out there that show the success of a content strategy, enough to make the mouth of any CEO water, but oftentimes I’ve found that the word “content” is emphasized, while “strategy” is forgotten.

This leads to today’s problem: there is too much bad content out there. In most of my conversations with other professionals, I’ve found that a common complaint is that LinkedIn is a necessary evil, with most posted and promoted content being bad. That they’re sick of every article being labeled “Top 15 [whatever]” or “Growth Hacking Tricks!” or “[Insert Clickbait Title Here].”

So what can we do?

Strategize. I’m not saying everyone should back away from their keyboards all at once, but I am strongly recommending that strategy be the first step in your content. Start with persona research, if you are a gardening tool manufacturer, don’t write a generic post about why gardening is fun. Your audience already knows this, which is why they are your audience. Rather, survey your current and target market to see what they care about specifically, and create content that speaks to that.

Stay original. If something out there exists already, don’t have your post be a watered-down version, either curate that awesome content, or think of something original to say. Keep it conversational, make it sparkle. Rushing to push content out the door because you read somewhere that blogging twice a week is important will not give you the results of those mouthwatering increase-your-leads-by-500% case study results. In this scenario, one really great piece of content every two weeks will yield more than two “meh” posts a week. Which brings me back to researching your specific audience. If you’ve heard that most audiences may want to read two posts a week, realize that it doesn’t translate to your audience wants to read two posts a week. The best way to find out is to test your posting success, and simply ask your current leads. You already have your audience, why not utilize them?

If need be, hire someone to do it for you. The freelance base is growing and becoming more affordable and more accessible. I should know. I’m in that pool. If you don’t have the time or expertise to create your own content the right way, hire someone to help. Whether it’s someone full time or a freelancer, your company will benefit from their expertise.