Snark

Poking the Panda: Why Your Awful Content Will Doom Us All

By February 1, 2016Snark
It may seem obvious, but step one in avoiding crap content is caring – caring about who you reader is and what you’ve given them to read.

Content might be king, but there are a lot of pretenders to the throne these days. Brands know they need content to tell their story to the masses.

The great news is that brands realize they have to put significant resources into creating content. Unfortunately, a lot of that content is pure, unadulterated crap. And if your brand’s content isn’t at a minimum adulterated crap, it’s creating a problem for the entire content marketing apparatus.

It’s actually kind of incredible every brand on Earth didn’t learn a lesson when the Google Panda update in 2011 filtered weak content out of its search engine. If brands continue to spew out garbage content over the coming months and years, it’s not hard to see the Powers That Be having to crack down even harder.

One thing a brand can do to stem the tide of weak content is to stop sucking so much at producing content. Can your consultant or whoever produces your content if they ever say, “Well, it’s hard to say exactly what ‘good content’ means.”

That’s nonsense.

The definition of good content is so simple cavemen did it in Paleolithic France. Good content is compelling, it provides value and it leads to conversions. Just like an architect handing blueprints to a contractor before a home is sold to its new owner, those three things build on one another. If your brand’s content is not built on this principle, its content is just adding to the clutter.

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The point is it’s not enough to just publish a blog, produce a video, et al and then just shoot it out into the ether and hope for the best. Dig as deep as possible into your content’s analytics. Look way beyond your content’s reach. Find out how long people are actually staying on each page. Focus in on how many people actually sit through your videos from beginning to end.

Most of all, listen to that little voice in your head, not the one that belongs to the schmuck you’re paying to tell you it’s tough to clearly define what is and isn’t good content.

If people are tuning in and it leads to brand growth, your content is working. If you’re getting any other results, go back to the drawing board. People love to throw around the Einstein quote, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.” Einstein was wrong. That’s the definition of being a moron.

Don’t be a moron. Don’t keep publishing the same dreck and expect it to get different results. Always be recalibrating until you get it right. Otherwise, a giant Panda is inevitably going to take a Google-sized dump on the entire content marketing industry. And it’s gonna stink for all of us.

Author Mason Lerner

Mason Lerner is a writer and artist living in Austin, TX. He has covered the content marketing and advertising industries for several years. He served as the business editor at the Killeen Daily Herald as well as contributing a small business column to the Houston Chronicle for several years. His work has also appeared in ESPN the Magazine, the Jewish Forward and the Associated Press.

More posts by Mason Lerner

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