We’ve all heard it a million times: content is king! But not just any content; it has to be remarkable. Low quality content will send you careening into irrelevancy faster than a VH1 reality show, but does anyone know why? Why exactly does low quality content kill your inbound marketing, and how does it do it? Let’s break it down to the five major ways (and these are major, guys) crappy content will wreck your inbound marketing. If you’re trying to make the case to a colleague, boss, or client for why they need to invest resources into the generation of remarkable content, this is the post to show them.
1.) If your content sucks, no one will link to it.
Inbound links are your inbound marketing moneymaker. The more links you have from high authority websites, the more traffic and better listing positions you’ll generate. But an authority site has a reputation to uphold, and they’re not going to link to you (heck, they probably won’t even find you) if your content isn’t worthwhile. If you want your website to appear in search engines and get found by hundreds of thousands of people, you need awesome inbound links…and lots of ’em. That will never happen with crappy content.
2.) If your content sucks, no one will share it.
Just like no website wants to send their readers to a hoopty blog post, no one wants to share it with their friends, family, and colleagues on social media networks. Companies have a reputation to uphold, and we each have our own personal brand to uphold, too. People tweet and post content that they think their network connections will enjoy, and (duh) people don’t enjoy bad content.
And why does this destroy your marketing? Because people sharing your content is how you get found! It’s how you get your whitepaper downloaded by 100 people instead of 10. It’s how your awesome video goes viral. It’s how search engines know you have something worthwhile to say, because everyone is talking about it, and by extension you must belong on page one of the search engine results! Don’t ruin your chance at more traffic, greater reach, and top listing positions with bad content.
3.) If your content sucks, a panda will eat you.
Google Panda, that is. Panda is a Google’s algorithm update originating in 2011, which is now integrated into the core algorithm. Its purpose is to crack down on sites that appear to have spammy, poor quality content. If your content is incredibly keyword dense, you’re scraping content from other domains, your website has disruptive and irrelevant ads, or you’re using content farms to create content, you will be penalized by Google’s algorithm, and you won’t show up in top listing positions. If you’re on the fence about whether your content is considered low quality, ask yourself these questions that Google shared as a guide to determining how your good website content is.
4.) If your content sucks, your reputation tanks.
People buy from people they trust. You are super knowledgeable, have an amazing product or service, and a stellar company! But if your content makes you appear as if you don’t know what you’re talking about, you’re only interested in self-promotion, or you’re just plain sketchy, you’ll lose potential customers. And remember one more sad truth in life: good news travels fast, but bad news travels faster. One reader who arrived at a website full of keyword spammy and self-promotional content will be sure to mention it next time your name comes up in conversation.
5.) If your content sucks, people leave your site. Forever.
That’s right. They leave, and they don’t come back. People are busy, have high expectations, and tend to know what they’re looking for. If you can’t pass someone’s blink test, they’ll click away from your site. If you pass their blink test only to assault them with pop-up ads and a blog post from a content farm, they’ll click away from your site and remember never to come back.
So what do I do if my content sucks?
Cut back on the quantity of content you’re putting out there, and focus on the quality. A quality piece of content starts with a great topic that is informational and helpful. If you can’t come up with any topics that fit that criteria, go to your prospects and customers. What questions do you get asked over and over again? What are their pain points? Start writing these down, and use them as the genesis for blog content, videos, emails, tweets, ebooks: the whole shebang. You don’t have to be Hemingway to write quality content. You just need to put yourself in your audiences’ shoes, and make sure that helping and informing always remains your #1 priority.
What other ramifications can you think of that come from publishing low quality content? How high of a priority have you placed quality content creation on your inbound marketing to-do list?
Corey Wainwright is an inbound marketing nut who loves the process of creating, publishing, distributing, and tracking content. She helped many SMBs and enterprise organizations through that process in the past, and now she’s doing it for HubSpot. She also enjoys SEO, email marketing, editing, social media, and experimenting with new and cool software and tools.