5 Ways Badly Written Content Holds Marketing Back
It’s happened to all of us. You’re scrolling through your Twitter feed and come across a catchy headline. It’s timely, relevant, and seems like it will bring you to an article that offers some value. But instead all you get is badly written content.
Luckily, you can hit the back button immediately and move on with your life. But for the brand publishing that badly written content, the impact runs much deeper than a high bounce rate on one post.
What Badly Written Content Means for Marketers
There’s a whole spectrum of badly written content floating around the internet. There’s just so much information published every second of every day—we’re bound to get a mix of quality levels.
If we’re talking about the impact of badly written content on your marketing strategy, we need to narrow the focus.
Some content is just so badly written that it’s not worth thinking about. These are the websites that force you to click through dozens of slides to capture more ad revenue. Or, the spam networks that monetize by flooding pages with banner ads. Unsurprisingly, these kinds of content wouldn’t drive results for your business.
But content isn’t badly written just because it’s not worthy of a Pulitzer Prize. From a marketing perspective, the difference between a blog post with a few comma splices and one that looks more like a New Yorker article probably isn’t that significant.
Here are a few characteristics of marketing content that can be considered badly written:
- It’s just a massive block of text—no headers, images, or lists to make things more readable.
- It targets the wrong audience and doesn’t align with their needs.
- Its structure makes it difficult to follow the key points and takeaways.
- It doesn’t tell a story that engages readers from start to finish.
- It makes claims that are inaccurate or otherwise unexplained.
These characteristics lead to content that is badly written in a subtle way. It’s not like grammatical errors make the text unreadable. The readers just don’t come away with any value.
And over time, that will hold your marketing back in a variety of ways.
5 Problems Badly Written Content Causes for Marketing
If only there were a simple test to tell you if you were suffering from badly written content.
Unfortunately, many brands spend so much time and money investing in middle of the road blog posts that just don’t deliver results.
Here are 5 problems that you might experience if your content checks off some of the “badly written” boxes.
1. You Attract the Wrong Audience
There’s a reason why traffic and social shares are seen as vanity metrics. Seeing spikes on those stats alone doesn’t necessarily mean your marketing campaign is working.
When the problems with your content are subtle, it could take months to realize that it’s actually not working. All that traffic doesn’t mean much if you aren’t building an audience, generating leads, converting customers, or increasing customer loyalty.
Well written content doesn’t just drive traffic—it attracts the right audience for your business.
2. You Can’t Crack the SEO Code
One thing that you have to remember is that the standards for high-quality content are constantly changing. What was well-written a decade ago may fall short today.
This is abundantly clear from an SEO perspective. We’ve come a long way from the days of keyword stuffing that once defined SEO best practices.
And yet, there are still plenty of content creators hanging onto that basic principle hoping to get results. Keyword stuffing and a misguided focus on search engines can lead to badly written content.
The brands that see organic traffic grow are the ones who can balance writing for humans with search optimization.
3. Your Audience Thinks You’re Too Salesy
There’s a common misconception in the world of content marketing. It’s a blanket statement that says you shouldn’t mention your products. Why? Because it will come across as salesy.
But content marketing isn’t about publishing content for content’s sake. It’s supposed to serve a business goal that ultimately leads to greater long-term revenue/profitability. How can you do that if you avoid product references at all costs?
Referencing your products doesn’t automatically make your content salesy. Rather, you come across as salesy when you suffer from badly written content.
Well written content can weave product references into a story naturally. That means focusing on the reader instead of your brand. Badly written content pushes features first. Well written content always speaks to the reader’s pain points and offers helpful solutions.
4. You Fall Behind Your Competitors
Your audience and customers have never been more informed. They’re inundated with content 24/7. Consuming industry-related content has become part of just about every job as people feel a constant need for education.
That’s good and bad news. The good news is that your audience and customers crave content. All you have to do is satisfy that need.
The bad news is that expectations are higher than ever. People have so many sources for information and they can spot poorly thought out content a mile away. Cutting through that noise gets harder and harder every day.
And the real problem is that people don’t just filter out badly written content—they remember it as they compare you to competitors.
When you build a reputation as a brand that publishes badly written content, people will turn to your competitors instead. Then, you aren’t just missing out on traffic and leads. You’re creating a long-term deficit for your business to make up.
Not every piece of content will take off. But there’s value in proving that you can consistently put out well written pieces.
5. You Come Across as Unoriginal
Every content marketer under the sun seems to want to become a thought leader. And why wouldn’t they? Thought leaders publish content that gets attention. They have large audiences to amplify their messages. And they attract customers to their brands.
There’s just one problem—if everyone is a thought leader, what does the term even mean?
Not everyone can be a thought leader. Badly written content makes it clear to readers that you’re trying to be one.
Too often, brands publish content in the hopes of becoming thought leaders when in reality they’re repeating information. They’re unoriginal. And when you’re unoriginal, you aren’t leading thoughts in your industry.
Well written content has an opinion. It clearly lays out your beliefs about a certain topic and actively persuades readers to think the same way. Don’t set out to be a thought leader. Set out to write content that people trust enough to follow.
The Never-Ending Cycle of Content Creation
Badly written content isn’t an all-or-nothing topic.
We’re all guilty of checking off a few of the badly written boxes now and then. The never-ending process of content development makes it inevitable that at least some of your pieces won’t be home runs.
Fortunately, your content creation track record doesn’t have to be flawless. And better yet, you don’t have to go at this alone.
Turning content creation into a team effort will help you spot signs of badly written pieces before they go out to your audience. That way, you can build trust with readers and work toward your metrics of success.
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