Is ‘bad’ content the same as ‘no’ content? Or does it manage to find some tiny air pocket and squeeze its way into our timelines and eventually, stay alive?

We decided to find out.

A recent report by IBM suggests that we currently create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day. Which means that roughly 90% of the current data in the world was created in the last two years alone. Content in its various forms: blogs, articles, videos or social media posts clog the web. If the challenges of the past were about ‘seeking and finding’ information, the challenge we face today is about sifting through ‘all the information’ to reach what matters.
In a world centered around content (creation and consumption), if this doesn’t prompt us into action, there isn’t much that will.

The Content Experiment

Good content is preceded by great research. Quite obviously, that’s where we started for this post as well. Over a period of two weeks, we attempted to look for content- across topics, from various industries. The idea was to find ‘bad’ content (the very fact that content discovery tools use algorithms that are built to fetch ‘good’ content meant that we were fighting a losing battle). But we still kept at it.

Searches run for topics as varied as “influencer marketing + IoT” to “finding the perfect burger” lead to content with thousands (or at least hundreds) of views. It didn’t always lead to content created by content mavericks or established brands, many a times the results that popped up were written by smaller, fairly ‘unknown’ authors from across the globe.

But guess what we didn’t find- a single piece of content with shoddy views/ engagement. And that’s what set in the first realisation:

Bad content isn’t just easily forgotten, it refuses to even make an appearance.

Bad content isn’t just easily forgotten, it refuses to even make an appearance.

But what really is ‘bad content’?

The subjective answer to this question could lead to a hundred different suppositions. But an objective, unbiased answer would be that bad content is content that is ‘unintelligent’ and fails to solve a pertinent problem for a specific target audience.

‘Unintelligent’ Content

A logical way to sift through the barrage of content to reach some real conclusions about ‘what to create’ comes from looking closely at that content itself. Content intelligence is all about analyzing gigabytes of content data to translate them into concrete findings.

      • Which platforms are better suited for my content genre?
      • What narrative structures & content lengths resonate best with the audience?
      • What is the sentiment around my topic?
      • Which influencers will be in a better position to take my message to my audience?

We published a post a few months back where we analyzed the top 5000 well performing pieces of content on LinkedIn Pulse to gauge what works best on the platform. While there were some key insights that came out of it (you can read the entire post here), the major points were that long form content worked best on the platform and that how-to’s and interviews were the ideal article types that clicked.

Here’s an example of a post on LinkedIn Pulse that hasn’t performed well despite having a very interesting and relevant theme. As expected, it doesn’t follow the prescribed guidelines of what works well on the platform. While this can’t be assumed entirely as the cause of failure, it does contribute to it.

LinkedIn bad post example

Making relevant content makes content relevant

Simply put, here’s the thing:

If your blog posts aren’t getting visits, if your newsletters aren’t getting opened or if your videos aren’t getting views, go back to the drawing board and ask yourself two basic questions:

      • Does my content target the problems my audience faces?
      • Am I peddling my own solution under the guise of ‘content’?

If you answer in affirmative for the the first question, then the problem you have is smaller than the second one. All you need to do is to use data and identify the missing gaps in your communication and work on them (We can help!). This could mean changing your style of writing, trying out different platforms (there is a world outside Facebook, Twitter and Google+) or even identifying an inconspicuous gap that neither you or your competition noticed.

If however, you’re nodding (grudgingly even) in agreement to the second question- you’re in need of an intervention. As Joe Pulizzi, Content Marketing ‘God’ mentioned in his recent post– ask yourself, “Is the content you are creating and distributing for your customers any different than anything else out there?”

Creating different content isn’t always about laboriously constructed pieces of content. What it does mean, however, is creating content that targets a problem, fulfills a need and answers a question. Scour your networks to find conversations where you can add value, participate in forums and discussions surrounding your topics of interest and start with the ‘simple’.

Ironically, bad content is all around us but never really gets discovered. On the other hand, good content has a way of breaking through clutter and finding its audience irrespective of the brand’s size. So the next time you’re starting out a new idea, ask yourself this question-

If you’re investing time, effort and money in creating content, why not take it a step further and only make content that counts?

 

Epictions monitors your owned and earned content to empower you with content intelligence that adequately represents you and your audience so you’re equipped with the kind of information that helps create more targeted content.  Request a demo here or talk to us to find out how we can help your brand.