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Content Wars: Quantity vs Quality

Quality Content Planning

The explosion in content marketing is not reflected in increasing information quality or value.

Content for the sake of it seems to be taking over the Internet, often driven by the head-banging, derivative mantra of “content is king”. Except it isn’t.

People, and the web at large (and ergo Google) craves high quality unique content that educates, inflames and debates subjects. We don’t need another article on the “the 10 best things you never knew your iPhone could do”.

Quite why click bait is still around is not really a mystery. It’s fab at getting clicks but nothing more. So, it’s mostly useful for those whose business model revolves around digital advertising – but, oddly, seems to have caught on everywhere.

The digital landfill site is filling up quickly, and both users and the search engines are taking steps to actively ignore crap content – consigning millions of third-rate man-hours of writing to the trash forever.

Everyone is a content king?

Not all content is created equal, and not all content creators are authors. Great content includes curated and shared external stuff – it certainly shouldn’t be just be 4-600, SEO-optimised, word articles.

Content naturally includes sound, video, imagery, guides, quotes, opinion, one-liners, animated GIFS … the list is endless. Not everyone can write original and engaging articles, so then don’t make them – seek engagement via other mediums. Or not at all.

No-one wants content for the sake of it – and just because you think Google says you must create lots of content (they don’t) it is not a reason to publish drivel under the banner of your finely honed brand. Google actually seek originality and quality.

A new breed of content writers

Since 2012, the dramatic rise in demand for “content” has seen every man and his dog become experts. Even seasoned digital marketers who shied away from any writing seem to have suddenly become expert authors.

I expect the “content marketing bubble” to burst as folks realise that quantity of content makes no difference to search engine ranking (it really doesn’t, I promise you). When this happens, these “authors” will go back to their day jobs in sales and marketing, technical and operational roles and finance.

Old dogs learning new tricks.

You might blame the old SEO companies, they have taken beating from Google in recent times, but they haven’t died – often they’ve moved on from spamming web-site pages to creating drivel and calling it news-worthy content. And you’d likely be correct.

The re-invention of searchengine spamming as content spamming will go full circle – no-one really cares for the content, even Google couldn’t give a toss. As its largely about stuffing articles with keywords, subjects, phrases and other old-school techniques it will soon be outlawed, or left to die in the dark, unread corners of the web.

And that’s a good thing – the general quality of the writing, grammar, spelling, planning and construction is woeful and the the quality of the subject matter painfully thin.

So what should you write about?

If you’re a company with strong values; you should write about your organisation, uniques, approaches, culture, thinking and your people. This is your value proposition, and avoid random ultra-thin content – it reflects poorly on your organisation.

Additionally, if you are a company that focuses on technical excellence then you should further write blue-sky, innovation and try to lead with authority.

And, avoid derivative articles that re-package existing ideas and concepts unless you are adding substantial value, insight or operational efficiency. Happy writing //MD