The Difference Between Good & Bad Content

February 13, 2019

Much of the content targeted toward marketers is not good. This post offers a short checklist you can use to verify if your content is valuable.

Every company with a website feels the pressure to blog. Today, strong content can be the mark of a successful business. 

Most experts agree that content is king and inbound marketing is the future. 

The problem is, experts encourage a lot of people to write content that’s just not good.

Most people recognize bad content when they see it. It’s boring. It’s uninspired. It shares nothing of value. Worst of all, it’s really just thinly-veiled self-promotion.

Let’s break down what separates good content from bad. Use this checklist to evaluate your own marketing content: 

1. Is Your Content Actionable?

Good marketing content offers something to the reader. It isn’t just well-researched or funny or inspiring. It provides an actual, tangible benefit. Readers come away with a game plan that can be implemented into their own business strategy. 

Bad marketing content offers nothing valuable to the reader. It might provide facts or data but has no explanation of how to use the given information. 

2. Is Your Content New?

Good marketing content, at the very least, puts a new spin on an old topic. Better yet, it serves up fresh ideas or information.

Bad marketing content explains the same common themes that many articles have already said. It does not offer any new advice and lacks value. 

3. Does Your Content Take a Stand?

Good marketing content tackles ideas that could have more than one answer. It doesn’t try to appeal to every different reader or situation. Instead, great writing defends a thesis, like the one in this screenshot from our blog:

Example of Devetry Blog

On the other hand, bad marketing content offers platitudes to every possible reader. It tries to hedge the argument so as not create any dissent among readers. 

4. Does Your Content Stand Alone?

Good marketing content doesn’t rely on promotional content to have value. Your article or post should be useful to anyone who finds it.  

Bad marketing content tries to cram its company’s credentials down the reader’s throat. The marketer seems to brag about how much experience s/he has on the subject, instead of just presenting valuable information.

5. Is Your Content Evergreen?

Good marketing content has something to say that could be true in 1, 10, or 100 years. It doesn’t solely apply to a passing fad or trend.

Bad marketing content tries to latch on to “today’s big thing” to make itself relevant, but overall, it simply becomes worthless filler in a blog backlog.

6. Does Your Content Speak to a Target Audience?

Good marketing content knows who its audience is and uses language, terminology, and style to connect with them.

Bad marketing content either doesn’t know who it’s written for or tries to appeal to the largest possible audience.

7. Is the Length Appropriate?

Good marketing content is focused and concise. It’s long when it needs to be (when the topic demands it), but it’s only ever as long as it has to be to explain the message. 

Bad marketing content pads the facts and advice with unnecessary or repetitive information. Make sure your writing is clear and to the point. 

Content Checklist

I made this checklist so writers can quickly determine whether or not the content they’ve created qualifies as “good marketing content.” Make your own checklist at Checkli.

Evaluating Your Marketing Content

For many people, what separates good from bad marketing content can sometimes seem like a mystery. The success of one post compared to the poor performance of another is often chalked up to luck or timing. 

Although these factors may play some role, if you take a closer look at the most successful marketing content, you’ll find that it matches most points on this checklist. Use this checklist to make your own marketing content better and before long, you’ll have a marketing engine that generates qualified leads and/or revenue for your business. If you are still unsure how to launch an effective content marketing campaign, hire an experienced content marketing company to help you begin. 

About the Author

Scott Beckman HeadshotScott Beckman is the Digital Marketing Director for Devetry, a custom software development company in Denver, CO. He holds a Master's degree in marketing from the University of Colorado at Denver and, as an avid growth hacker and lead generation specialist, he has experience with SEO, web design, email, social, advertising, and marketing automation.