5 Signs of Rookie Content

Traffic from wireless and mobile devices will rise to 66% in 2019, by this time 80% of global Internet consumption will be video content, according to research by Cisco. Content is saturating the web, meaning that unless you know where to look, you have to sift through a lot of drivel to find quality content.

Here are 5 signs of rookie content - avoid it as a consumer or be mindful of it as a content creator:

1. Multiple key messages

This is a common issue that crops up in content production. A typical scenario: a marketing manager uses all powers of persuasion to get a video brief over the line from above, and then pleads for the accompanying budget. With initial approvals complete they then feel they must cram in as many key messages as possible into the one piece of content “to make the most of it,” after all you never know when they’ll be allowed another opportunity.

With so much content being squeezed in, the ninety-second video brief initially discussed suddenly becomes four-minutes. Many messages do not equal a greater product offering. One clear message will more likely stay front of mind for the viewer and initiate reaction, i.e. a decision to buy. Too many messages become diluted, meaning less impact for the viewer and reduced chance of engagement.

2. Choosing the wrong story-teller

We all know that good content is based on story-telling. But what if the person telling the story is not the person for the job? Too often we come across an article written by someone who has little to no impact on the audience, or a video featuring an interview with someone who is not relatable to the target audience.

I had a job where the client had to write web copy for a very controversial project that affected the public. Surprisingly the writer had not even seen the subject that the copy was written about, so how they can produce truthful content? Similarly, I’ve had executives insist on being interviewed for testimonial-type videos about a product or service their company offers. This may be effective in outlining the functionality or practical nature of the product, but to create emotional engagement a customer testimonial would be far more effective. This is backed up by research revealing that nearly all (94%) shoppers consult reviews during their browsing and buying journey, and 86% believe reviews are an essential part of the decision-making process. Consumers trust other consumers over company executives, because they are more relatable.

3. Confused narrative

If making a video, always use a producer for interviewing, they know the brief, they know what content they need to get from the interview and they’re working out how it’s going to fit together while the interview takes place. They also have the skills to coach, guide and direct the interview to get the best from the person talking. Often if the job is left to someone from the company the interview can lack focus. Understandably the interviewer is usually more pre-occupied with including essential keywords rather than creating a well-balanced, well delivered piece for camera. Language may become too corporate and lack focus on the needs of the audience. This is why it is important to have an external body conducting the interview.

4. No purpose

Content for the sake of content is worthless and a waste of time and resources. Bad content can actually cause a negative outcome, whether it dissuades a potential buyer or leaves a bad impression on the company. Unfortunately, with the rise in content creation comes the need for many to get on the band wagon even though they have no purpose for content. This scenario will often come hand in hand with a tight deadline. They want a video as their competitor has one but they don’t know what to say. It means that content is not seen as a priority, more of an after-thought. Content needs a clear objective, a target audience and the resources to create quality. Without a purpose it will not communicate to anyone. All content needs the ‘what, ‘where’, ‘who’:

  • What’s the purpose of the content?
  • Who am I talking to?
  • Where will it be distributed, i.e. social media channels, hosted on a website, delivered via eDM (where do my audience engage with content)?

5. Trying to please multiple influential parties

Company sponsors, Chief executives, potential clients – they’re all audiences that marketers often try to impress through content creation. This may be through product placement, long credits or incorporating cheesy corporate taglines. It’s often a box-ticking exercise to keep the powers that be happy. But does the real target audience (i.e. the reason for the content) care who you’re trying to impress, unless it’s them? A good interview can be easily ruined by the inclusion of company blurb. Unfortunately, some believe they have to get their scripted word-for-word company line included for fear of not upholding brand values. In actual fact it just de-values the content by not communicating with the audience.

Pleasing the bosses often becomes more important than the audience that they want to engage.

But to meet objectives and have successful ROI, content should always tie in with the briefs objectives, reflect the brand and communicate with the audience in the most effective way.

There are heaps of articles about content predictions for 2016. Although no one can predict the future it is almost certain that content creation is here to stay and not just another buzzword. Let’s hope the year welcomes better content and squeezes out the bad.

‘Happy face balls’ by Jason Hargrove on Flikr
‘Have a holly jolly Christmas tree worm’ by Laszlo Ilyes on Flikr (Feature Image)