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7 Ways to Spot Bad Content

7/18/23

Content Creation

When you have to reread a post 12 times before giving up trying to understand it, you know you’ve got some bad content on your hands. 

But bad content is more than just writing — it also lies in the strategy. 

If you feel like you’re giving it your all, but still find it hard to build a connection with your audience and eventually generate leads, it may be because your strategy falls short. 

So let’s take a look at what makes a piece of content “bad,” and how you can fix it.

Content that’s off-brand

Branding is a lot more than just your visuals. Message and voice are too

You can’t brand yourself as a biz that presents information like your down-to-earth, soft-spoken BFF one day, then turn around and drop some punchy, tell-it-like-it-is phrases the next. I mean…you literally can, I’m not the boss of you. But like my mom always says, “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.”

This also goes for the topics you talk about. As a business owner, you have to remember that your audience doesn’t want to hear about every single topic you want to talk about. Even if it fits with your niche or industry.

Side note from Jess: This is actually a problem we’ve seen crop up with clients who use copy templates. Nothing wrong with templates themselves — they can make your processes go faster if they’re structured for your biz. But copy templates created by someone else often sound like someone else…and not your brand. They’re not worth the shortcut that they promise.

You may love the idea of talking about how you use YouTube as a graphic designer, but your audience doesn’t care. You may want to show them how you brainstorm your content plans, but they’re more interested in how to write the copy itself. 

Does your audience define your brand? No, but they do influence it. So tune in and listen to what they’re asking for (aka…what they’re responding to and engaging with). 

Content that doesn’t support your content pillars

Every business has a handful of topics they talk about — and these topics all fall into different places along the sales funnel. 

Want to boost brand awareness and bring new people into the mix? Share a how-to. Want to nurture a relationship with the people who already know about you? Take it a step further with a webinar or training. Ready to make a sale? Pitch those offers!

But make sure you have balance to all these pillars.

If you only ever share baseline knowledge meant to target cold leads, you’re going to have a lot of people listening but not necessarily buying. If you pitch those offers too much, then you’ll probably give your audience the ick by being too salesy. 

People buy when they’re ready to trust. If content only focuses on closing the deal, you don’t have a way to build it. Be mindful of your audience, and what each phase of the sales funnel looks like for them. Then, create content pillars that support and nurture people down that funnel, start to finish. 

Other times when content is bad

The first two points I covered are some of the most common issues when we see “bad content.” However, there are a few more instances, like:

  • Jumping on trends that are off-brand: There’s nothing wrong with trying a trend to see if it fits your brand and your people. But don’t hop on every bandwagon to grab followers and leads. Your audience will be able to see the disconnect. (And the desperation.) 
  • Talking just to talk: Unless you have value to provide and can back up what you say, then don’t talk about it — you’re likely to come across as inauthentic to your audience. A fun fluff piece every so often is fine. Publishing content for the sake of it is not.
  • Copy that sounds too salesy: This is different from being too salesy (aka, only ever talking about your offers). Sounding too salesy means inserting promos where they don’t necessarily belong. Going off on a tangent to tell people about your course that doesn’t have anything to do with what you’re talking about. Just let the content flow and insert promotions where it feels natural. 
  • Content that’s too optimized: Yes, there is such a thing as too many keywords. Don’t add so many that it makes your copy sound awkward and robotic. Like I said above, let it flow naturally and add them where it makes sense. 

Bad content can be fixed

If you’ve committed one of these content sins, fret not. Bad content is fixable! 

Pinpoint those spots in your content strategy and content creation that need improvement, and then make some changes. Maybe you have to redefine your brand voice or get clear on your content pillars. Maybe you have to be honest with yourself about which platforms or trends are working for you and which need to be cut.

And if you wanna create better content for your biz but don’t know where to start, we got you. Learn more about working with us here!

Ashton Hoot, Lead Copywriter + Dedicated Swiftie
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