Why Mediocre Content is Costing You Business (And What to Do About It)

July 11, 2012 •

Everywhere I turn these days, content marketing is a hot discussion topic.  While we’ve been preaching the benefits of content marketing for a number of years, agencies and brands alike are scrambling to turn themselves into content-producing machines.  Content marketing done right can be one of the most effective forms of marketing, but all too often companies are kicking out content that is mediocre at best, and it’s costing them business.

Content Marketing Spend is Increasing

According to research from The Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs, the growing confidence in content marketing effectiveness is one of the factors driving content marketing budget increases.  Their research shows 60% of respondents plan to increase content marketing budgets over the next 12 months, up from 51% in last year’s study.

60% of respondents plan to increase content marketing budgets over the next 12 months, up from 51% in last year’s study.

With these increased budgets comes increased opportunity, but also increased expectations.  The rush to get on the next hot thing more often than not then leads to a “get it done now” or “ready, fire, aim” approach, rather than a well-planned, well-executed strategic approach to content marketing.  Without the proper plan in place, it’s awfully difficult to hit the target (remember – we fired before we aimed!), and the outcome is likely to be mediocre—at best—content, and mediocre—at best—results.

Mediocrity – The Enemy of Greatness 

Let’s imagine for a minute that you are able to secure a meeting with the key decision makers at your ideal prospect company.  The prospect is interested in what you have to offer, will have all the right people in the room, and will be fully engaged to hear how your approach leads to success.  I would imagine that you would properly prepare, bring your “A-Team” to the meeting, and do everything you can to put your best foot forward to secure the business.  You would be foolish not to, and doing your company a huge disservice if you did anything but, right?

Those same prospects have the opportunity to find you and engage with the content you create on a 24-7-365 basis (no waiting to schedule the meeting!) and all too often companies aren’t putting their best foot forward.  Instead, companies are rushing to produce a bunch of blog content.  Companies have the crank a post out in an hour or less mentality and, in general, settling for less than stellar content that will likely less than impress their prospects.  Mike talked about some of the details in his post Why You Need Better Content, Not Just More Content—it’s the equivalent of walking into that dream sales meeting completely unprepared and falling flat on your face.

What to Do About It

Creating high quality engaging content doesn’t happen in just a snap – if it were that easy then everyone would already be doing it.  Instead, it takes some effort.  The good news, though, is that everyone else isn’t already doing it – so there is tremendous opportunity to get ahead of your competition.

To start:

  1. Take the time to develop the proper plan.  Even if you have already started in the “ready, fire, aim” model, don’t be afraid to circle back and develop a proper plan.  You wouldn’t build a house without a blueprint, so don’t neglect your plan.
  2. Make sure that you have the right resources on board (and don’t be afraid to ask for help).  Content marketing requires a variety of resources including strategists, subject matter experts, writers, editors, designers, and project managers.  Think of casting your team like a film, and if you don’t have an internal resource don’t be afraid to outsource pieces of the effort and assemble your content marketing dream team.  A great cast is critical to moving away from mediocre content.  Would Bull Durham have been the same movie if Anthony Michael Hall (studio’s first choice) had played the role of Crash Davis over Kevin Costner? Or if Tom Selleck had played the role of Indiana Jones over Harrison Ford?  Probably not.
  3. Monitor what works and adjust accordingly.  The best plans incorporate tracking, analysis and adjustment to enhance what’s working – and to drop what’s not.  Understand the results you want to get from your content marketing efforts, monitor those, and adjust accordingly.

Need Help Getting Away from Mediocre Content? 

Let’s kill the mediocre content.  Get both easy to digest quick tips and more detailed approaches from Right Source and other industry experts in our free content marketing eBook: How to Grow Your Business with Content Marketing.

Learn even more about creating a successful content marketing approach in the webcast:  What if You Build It and They Still Don’t Come?

And of course, feel free to drop a comment below or contact me directly with your questions or challenges.


About the Author

As Right Source’s chief marketing technology officer, Will Davis oversees the intersection of marketing strategy, consulting, execution and technology for our clients. He focuses first on business objectives and then on helping clients leverage marketing and technology to deliver against those objectives. A recognized leader in content marketing, Will has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland, College Park in government and politics and broad experience developing marketing strategies that help organizations reach milestones and grow. You can find Will on Twitter and Google+, connect with him on LinkedIn, or read his other posts.

  • Ben Ballard

    Will, great article, and a very important point.  Most people prepare for face to face meetings, but don’t think about improving their web content once it’s “done”.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for coming by and commenting Ben – I hope that everything is going well.  It’s amazing how much effort people will put into preparation in one area and so little in another.  I hope that you keep coming by to read (and comment)!

  • Hi Will, Since FB and TW all of a sudden everybody is a copywriter. Luckily we’re more and more starting to realize content-creation is a proper skill and should be taken seriously. We all know the examples of brands ‘just not getting it’ and putting mediocre (or worse) content online, which they normally would never publish in ‘traditional’ media. But I think you’re overdoing it if you’re trying to prepare, moderate and upgrade everything you publish; this leads to overpolished tweets,  

  • It’s important to be consistent with your blogging, but it’s better to have a few good posts go live a week than one every day, if the quality isn’t as good.  Quality is always more important than quantity.  

    • Anonymous

       Absolutely agree Nick – I’ll take quality over sheer volume any time.  Thanks for sharing your comment!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for commenting here Patrick, I really appreciate it.  I agree that people can sometimes over-think and over-polish – particularly as it relates to social media content – and lose authenticity altogether.  What I’m suggesting isn’t that, but rather to think about each piece of content as a representation of you, rather than just rushing to check a box on completing creating it.

    Build really good content that answers the questions and needs of your buyers – that’s the approach.

    Thanks Again!

  • andre Ibuspro

    Right. Quality over quantity is what matters especially now that Google Penguin goes live. It’s time to think of something new,fresh and creative.

We’re always looking for exceptional, new Right Source talent. See Career Options