Are We Drowning in Crappy Content?

Posted on August 19th 2014

Are We Drowning in Crappy Content?

The ocean is enormous. It’s made up of five separate bodies of water, but there is really only one ocean broken up over the planet. In fact, as of 2013, it takes up approximately 71 percent of the Earth. It’s pretty amazing too because it houses about 99 percent of the biosphere and is home to some of the grandest geological features on the planet. But it’s also made of saltwater, something that isn’t all that awesome for humans dying of thirst. I don’t know about you, but if I were stranded in the middle of the ocean dying of thirst, I’d look out across all that water and say, “Well, this is downright crappy!”

If the Internet were the ocean and you were dying of thirst for quality content, you’d find yourself in the same predicament because we are literally drowning in crappy content! Yes, it looks like the web is flooding with content, but instead of, “Oh no! Too much content!” going on, there’s actually a dire lack of quality and an overabundance of non-quality content. It’s like searching for a fresh water oasis (quality content) in the middle of mile after mile and gallon after gallon of never ending saltwater (low quality, crappy content).

“Dollar Days” Have Produced More Saltwater vs. Freshwater Content

We wrote a piece on LinkedIn that received over 300 views in a few days called, The Dollar Days of Online Content Are Gone. The response from the professional community has been intense, and the comments we received validate our belief: we’re drowning in crappy content.

Years ago, it was commonplace for Webmasters to hire the cheapest writers on the Internet (and perhaps the planet) to “write,” and we use this term loosely, their content. The process was simple:

  1. Locate the writer who would accept pennies on the dollar pay averaging $1.25 to $2.00 USD per page, article, or blog.
  2. Send said writer a list of keywords to cram into the content.
  3. Receive said content and publish.

I so badly want to sing the Sesame Street song that says, “One of these things is not like the other. One of these things just doesn’t belong.” But to tell you the truth, NONE of these things belong.

Webmasters and business owners have been so driven by profit margins that they’re gung-ho about skimping on the fundamental staple, the ultimate moneymaking tool that sits so ready at their fingertips: content. Now, it’s understandable that business budgets aren’t what they used to be. After all, economics and the economy affect every last one of us. But the fact that a talented, professional writer (not one these non-English speaking yahoos with zero educational background, no relevant experience, and a complete lack of understanding of even the basics of English grammar) is considered a waste of money is absurd, not to mention more than a little insulting.

I apologize for being so blunt, but the Great Quality Content Depression and subsequent flood of crappy content is a direct result of the hiring of underqualified and often completely UNqualified fakers wielding the title of Writer. As a result, the rest of us are trying to turn the tide on misinformation, a terrible reputation, and a world that scoffs at the idea of writing being a legitimate, demanding profession!

The ‘Anybody Can Be A Writer’ Idea

So you think you can be a writer, do you? It’s easy, right? I mean, everybody writes. We all went to school. We all wrote essays and papers. We all know how to spell and write complete sentences. Writing is easy! It doesn’t take skill, talent, or technique. Hell, it doesn’t even take a lot of time.

If you were lying on the floor dying of a heart attack, what’s the one thing in this world you would want above everything else? Think hard. You would want a paramedic. Why? Because they are highly trained and skilled responders, capable of keeping their cool and doing whatever it will take to keep you alive while rushing you to a medical facility. Why would you want to be rushed to a medical facility? Because there are dozens of trained professionals there who can and will do everything possible to save your life. Thanks to their training, chances are they’ll succeed.

  • Did you know that a well-researched, properly written, engaging, and emotionally moving piece of content sometimes takes hours to write—even for the professional writer who writes 5 days a week, 8 hours per day?
  • Did you know that while some people wrote essays and papers in school that barely squeaked by with a passing grade, others wrote A+ papers that actually moved the teacher and left a lasting impression—one that 10 years later the teacher remembers like yesterday?
  • Did you know that there’s more to writing than spelling and complete sentences? Can you spot misuse and errors involving subject-verb agreement, clauses and phrases, pronouns, prepositions, ellipses, and confused words? Can you confidently explain what any or all of those terms truly mean in practical working fashion?
  • Did you know that storytelling is the art of using the written word to craft mental pictures, tickle the five senses, and connect with readers on such an intimate level that each reader believes the content was written just for them?

Anyone can be a writer? Writing is easy? It doesn’t take skill, talent, or technique? If all of this is true, then you don’t need a paramedic or even a heart surgeon. Anybody will do!

You see the point. Writing is no less demanding than any other profession, and writers are not entitled to mere pennies on the dollar for high quality work. Crappy content, that’s what you pay a couple of bucks for. Quality content comes with a price because it’s quality—just like YOUR quality product or service. You get what you pay for.

How to Levitate Above an Ocean of Crappy Content

Thanks to the dollar days of content, the Internet is crawling with downright scary bad content. When is the last time you took a good, long, hard look at your content? Are you part of the saltwater infested ocean, or do you stand out as engaging, compelling, and fresh-water?

Business 101: In order to succeed you must stand out as different. Something has to be unique. How can you levitate out of the Crappy Content Ocean and make it to the Quality Content Clouds where you will be seen both near and far? Get yourself an Industry Copywriter.

As a business owner and/or webmaster, you face a tricky challenge. How do you create a strong online presence, reach your target audience, AND appease the great Google gods? It’s a tall order. You might have tried keyword stuffing, but we all know that thanks to Google’s array of algorithms, those days are gone with the wind. Maybe you use redirects and link building tactics. Are you—perhaps without full knowledge—using black hat SEO techniques? Such techniques only inundate the web with more crap content. STOP!

Google’s goal is focused and singular. They are creating the best possible experience for the user, whether they are mobile or in front of a desktop. Who is the user? The user is every person on the planet who pulls up Google and googles. They want legitimate, relevant, well-crafted results. And they’re only going to see you if your voice is stronger than everybody else. The best way to achieve this is through quality content.

Quality content isn’t just landing pages and website content. It’s sharable content, from blogs and PRs to Tweets and G+’s. It’s media for the busy audience like videos and podcasts. It’s SlideShares and social media re-shares. It’s all those words from big to small, and the word and character counts that have to encompass it all.

Don’t throw you money away by being a cheapskate and hiring the “writers” still trapped in the dollar days! If you think that will save you money, just wait until the content has to be rewritten by a professional because it’s riddled with errors and shunned by Google.

Industry Copywriters – Your Best Investment

Industry copywriters are experts. They are specialists with proven, tangible experience in YOUR industry. They are the combination of an industry expert and a skilled, talented writer with up-to-date copywriting knowledge. The benefits of hiring a professional copywriter far outweigh the woes of not.

Sure, you can hire that so-called writer who’s coming to you live from the cheap pricing of a third world country, but why would you put yourself through that headache? When it comes to the business of online presence and search engine rankings, here are some words to live by: Quality over quantity and return over initial cost.

Writing ain’t easy, folks! It takes a professional to know when to fudge the rules versus when to hold fast to them. And it takes an industry expert to craft copy that appeases the almighty Google whilst drawing in your ideal clients and supporting conversion. Will you continue to drift in the saltwater or levitate above as a sparkling, freshwater oasis?

The post Are We Drowning in Crappy Content? appeared first on Express Writers.

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Julia McCoy

CEO, Express Writers

Julia McCoy is the manager/CEO of Express Writers, http://expresswriters.com. Since launching in May 2011, Express Writers has served over 2,000 clients and provided quality content for all industries, from tax lawyers to appliance repair contractors. Julia has 10 years of experience writing, a track record of academic achievements in writing, and is located in Springfield, Missouri. 

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Comments

hugocrispim
Posted on August 19th 2014 at 3:30PM

Wow, this was written by a very angry and frustrated "writer"; it jumps off the page. Not the best way to get people to listen, though. Inspire and show (not tell) the point – as opposed to the good old fashioned, "shove down one's throat" technique. 

Not doubting the author's expertise of course, as all the right dots and commas are definitely in place. Particularly enjoyed how the author cleverly hinted at what quite possibly is her favourite movie of all times, "Gone with the Wind". I like it too. 

But if I had one criticism to make to this piece of fresh-water content that would most certainly be the unfunded remark that 3rd world countries are incapable of breeding good writers. After all, many world-renowned doctors travel to these countries to meet other doctors and learn how to perform extremely difficult procedures, in extreme conditions, using limited resources; for example.

maginleym
Posted on August 22nd 2014 at 12:36AM

A young man who is my son, who just turned 17 today, said to me, "I'm not sure everyone should have a megaphone." 

The issue is that the internet is a giant sandbox of creativity. Saying Google is trying to create the best end-user experience is inaccurate, Google is looking to create profits, and has created a reality in the sandbox where everyone who has access is trying to get a leg up on the competition. Unfortunately, once there was bidding on keywords, we all have to play that game no matter what the size of the budget. 

For a business, I recommend sourcing relevant industry and trade journal articles, monographs and giving honest, authentic, well -considered, personal and unique critiques, reviews, assessments and reflections as to how and why something is relevant in today's world.

If there is any lack of available source material, my next recommendation is to visit the most professional and least expensive curator of the ages, your local  library. The local librarian is well equipped to provide professional, and academic authoritative material rather than being limited to what is served up as "content" at the equivalent of the local supermarket check-out line.

In conclusion, the issue is that the internet is a commercial environment trying to be supported by advertising, and therefore we are still connected to the most base aspects of human nature and interest. This is why we see "content" in the first place, and have reduced the need of writing to the level of utility like so much sawdust used to soak up what falls on the floor in butcher shops, brothels and bars.

BrianNewmark1
Posted on September 5th 2014 at 8:03PM

The reality is since SEO is dead, people are turning to content marketing (my expertise), to drive awareness and traffic.  As we all know, few of the articles are ever really read, who has time to read it all. Certainly no one with a large client base can keep up with it.  I know I am not alone in using Taboola, OutBrain, nRelate and a whole host of other strategies to actually drive traffic.  In the end we are all cramming Google full of so much content that the good stuff has a hard time finding a single digit page.  There has to be a better way.