Content is king. Hail the king! Long live the king! Except … content isn’t king. Let me explain.

Yes, content curation is an effective, maybe the most effective, strategy to bring prospects to the top of the lead generation funnel. Without content, sites end up languishing on page three of a Google search. Therefore, content is a critical need, right?

Not all Content is Good 

Bad content not only doesn’t help, it hurts your marketing efforts. When consumers open your content to disappointment they don’t follow through browsing your website. Their journey is over. Content that disappoints the consumer is bad content. Bad content includes:

Poorly written content

Content creation isn’t texting; grammar and sentence structure matter. It’s not okay to publish poorly written copy. Don’t get me wrong writers make mistakes. You will publish posts that contain errors. Earlier to day I read an article online form a local newspaper that contained “an vicinity.” I didn’t think less of the journalist because they put out thousands of words a day and they try there best. I have a problem when the writer doesn’t try. When I see a post with improper grammar, misspelled words, and unclear thoughts throughout the post I leave and I think less of the organization. If you want to improve your writing, if you care what you publish there are many sources, my book How to Stay Ahead of Your Business Blog Forever covers the basics.

Unappealing typography

We all know that Comic Sans in’t funny, but any font that’s difficult to read or detracts from the content is a problem. Posts with cumbersome layouts, articles that don’t use subheads or bullet points, and blogs that don’t share images are not inviting to readers. When you click a link to a post and find a page of uninterrupted words what do you do? Do you read it? I don’t. I move on. Online content shouldn’t look like a page in a book. It should be pleasing to the eye, invite the reader and in, and then hold them with great content.

Improper formatting

This includes content that doesn’t fit all devices from mobile to full screens. Responsive design is key to your content looking good regardless of the size or type of screen. “Put simply, responsive is fluid and adapts to the size of the screen no matter what the target device. Responsive uses CSS media queries to change styles based on the target device such as display type, width, height etc., and only one of these is necessary for the site to adapt to different screens.” — UXpin

False Promises

Click bait, when the title doesn’t match the content, may get you visitors but they will not stay, and they certainly will not interact with you. When an organization sinks to click bait tactics, whether online or through the US Postal System they often do their brand more harm than good. It’s not the number if visitors you bring to your site that matters it’s the number of visitors you connect with and convert.

Usefulness is King

Useless content isn’t king, and content isn’t the only way to be useful. Want an example or two? Sit or Squat from Charmin Bathroom Tissue isn’t content but for a mom who needs an accessible and clean bathroom and needs it immediately, it certainly is useful. Moms and others appreciate and remember Charmin for this. Want more? The 101 Most Useful Websites.

“Gearing up to create your next piece of marketing content? If you want it to stand out from the rest of the noise on the internet, you have to be focused on producing something both delightful and engaging.

That said, there’s some planning to be done before you jump right in. What’s the purpose of this piece? Where can you fit in credible data and examples?Who’s gonna edit it once you’ve written — and rewritten — your draft? How do you plan to spread the word about it so, you know, people actually read it? You need a strategy.” — Hubspot: How to Create Useful Content: 12 Steps to Follow Every Time [Infographic]

Usefulness isn’t Limited to the Internet

Collateral Material

If usefulness is king what else is useful? Not long ago while attending a conference I observed nearly every attendee referring to their printed conference schedule. This brochure outlined all of the presentations. People didn’t go online they went on-table. Why Brochures are still a Valuable Marketing Tool. It’s because they’re useful.

At the same conference a speak pronounced collateral material as DEA. He listed reasons why print marketing material were no longer a productive marketing method. At the end of his talk during a question & answer session I raised my hand and asked if I could ask the audience a question. The speak said of course. I asked thew attendees to hold up their printed schedule if that’s what the used to track sessions. More than 200 people raised their brochures. The printed piece was useful.

Promotional Products 

According to PPAI (Promotional Product Association International)Recall of the advertiser and message behind the first promotional item recalled are very high… 88% recalled the advertiser from a promotional product received in the past 12 months…The main reason for keeping a promotional product is usefulness.Sharing useful branded promotional products is effective marketing.

Usefulness is King, and that Includes Useful Content

We support content marketing and believe it’s one of the most effective ways to connect with consumers B2B or B2C. Content marketing, video, blogs, images, case studies, and eBooks have introduced us to more than 300,000 visitors. And although we may not always succeed, our content strives to be useful. Is yours? What do you do to be useful?

If you enjoyed this post you might also appreciate, 8 Steps to Improved Writing.