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The 3 Hallmarks of Bad Content

Much has been written about what makes content good. But, what if there were a way to recognize the hallmarks of bad content, so you could plan for better content?

Besides the obvious, like high bounce rates and lack of conversions on the page, how can you tell when you really need a heavy-duty rewrite of your content?

3 Signs Your Content is Tired

When we evaluate content for rewrites, we look for these three things:

  1. Frankenstein content: We’re all familiar with content that has been pulled from so many places—a brochure here, a microsite over there. It no longer reads as a cohesive piece, but instead sounds like something out of a fantasy land where they speak in non-sequiturs and magical spells.
    How to avoid: Editing may not be the answer for your content. You may need to dig in and rewrite whole sections, plotting information flow and developing content architectures to ensure pages are consistent.
  2. Where does this belong?: Have you ever read a web page and thought, “This is in the wrong place.” It’s almost as if the writer(s) were not sure what to do with that piece of information, but they were sure it belonged somewhere. To the reader, it’s obvious that something is awry because those two odd paragraphs stick out like adults chaperoning a teenage pool party. #awkward, as my 12-year-old would say.
    How to avoid: Create strong information architectures and content roadmaps by plotting your personas, identity pillars and messaging points. Think through your different target audiences and what content they need to know to move to the next phase of the buying cycle.
  3. Flabby content: This is my personal favorite. Here’s what it sounds like, “We are the best brand for you. Our professionals are the best at what they do, and then we use a lot of really fancy words that don’t mean anything to prove that point without backing it up with any facts.”
    How to avoid: You cannot be the best unless you have solid facts or independent qualifications to back up your brand’s superiority. And maybe your brand isn’t superior. That’s okay—find the things that DO differentiate you in the marketplace and talk about those things. For the right audience, those points will convince them to convert.

What do you think? What are the signs of bad content to you? Please email Ahava your examples.

About Ahava Leibtag

Ahava Leibtag, MA

Ahava R. Leibtag has more than 15 years of experience in writing, messaging and marketing. She is a well-recognized content expert and writes thought leadership about content strategy and content marketing. Ahava is the President and owner of Aha Media Group, a content strategy and content marketing consultancy founded in October 2005. She... More >