Reader beware: if you are interested in writing compelling content that enchants readers, entices clicks and builds loyal audiences, then I strongly encourage you to click away while you still can. This is the only piece of good advice you’ll find on this page.
That is unless, of course, you are a horrible, evil content creator that is only interested in writing content so terribly awful that it causes physical discomfort and emotional distress to readers.
If this accurately describes your content intentions, then consider everything on this page to be great advice.
Tip #1: Don’t Write When An Idea Is Fresh
Good writers live by the mantra of striking while the iron is hot. Ideas are best and clearest when they first hit. Some writers even keep a notebook handy at all times, just to jot the earliest forms of their thoughts down.
But, inspiration can hit at any time and usually when its most inconvenient.
(Courtesy of The Oatmeal)
Always ignore it. Go back to whatever you were doing before this intrusive inspiration hit you. You’ll definitely remember the idea later, sort of. Probably not, though.
Tip #2: Never Utilize A Posting Schedule
Remember the childhood bliss of Saturday morning cartoons? You knew that every Saturday morning, no matter the weather or the time of the year, there would be a weekend morning filled with sugary cereal and your favorite cartoons. It was something we looked forward to all week.
The routine and schedule of the affair made it all the more exciting. You knew when and where and it never failed to disappoint (until Soul Train came on around noon and the nirvana was over).
Good content creators know that this type of schedule and routine is really valuable. Audiences become accustomed to the schedule and when to expect your next article to release.
In bad content world, however, you never want to utilize this type of posting schedule.
Tip #3: Never Outline Your Content
Creating an outline for your content, before putting pen to paper, or fingertips to keys, will guarantee a number of key qualities that good content creators look for.
For example, each idea will flow logically into the next and draw the reader through the entire piece. And, every section will have an appropriate length, number of sources, images, links and all the other garbage that great content creators concern themselves with.
Outlining also saves time. It’s the skeleton to your piece that can be quickly filled in to deliver a fully flushed out article post. But, saving time is never a concern for a bad content creator.
Who cares about a posting schedule or a deadline when you’re a member of the Bad Content Gang?
Tip #4: Write On Broad Subjects
When it comes time to pick topics for your articles, always shoot for broad subjects. This will cast a big net to draw in as many viewers to your bad content as possible. That almost feels like a piece for good content creators, right?
Broad content topics are typically overdone. If you Google “What is SEO?” there are 333,000,000 results. This is perfect for bad content writers that want to bore readers with the same information they’ve seen reproduced, well, 333 million times. And chances are no one will even see it.
Great content writers know that one of the primary goals of producing blog articles is establishing yourself as an expert and a thought-leader. This requires detailed, niche articles with narrow topics that readers haven’t been exposed to before, which showcase a detail knowledge of the subject, not just a broad understanding.
But, why be unique when you can just be like every other content creator? Standing out is so overrated.
Tip #5: Less Structure The Better
The dream of bad content is one, long, continuous block of text. No white space, no images, no headings, no sections or any other objects that would create any semblance of page structure. But, a lot of members of the Bad Content Gang have some standards (or at least their content managers do). They have to be sly in their dubious efforts to create bad content.
This means writing exceptionally long paragraphs, in even longer sections, that are void of images or other objects that would break up the long blocks of text that we love so much. Take it back to grade school, where the teacher would ask you to fill the page as much as possible.
Tip #6: Always Write For Search Engines, Not Readers
Every piece of content you create needs to be overloaded with keywords. It’s all about SEO and ranking for as many SERPs as possible, never the user experience or readability.
Audiences should absolutely be aware when you’re intentionally including a keyword and totally distracted by it. Not only will this make your content really displeasing to read, but it will also demonstrate to readers that you’re in this for the rankings, not to provide value or solve their problems.
Tip #7: Write With As Much Uncertainty As Possible
Declarative sentences and speaking with any amount of certainty will have readers thinking that you’re authoritative and knowledgeable in the subject matter. Avoid these with all costs! You want the reader to think that you know about as much as they do on the topic.
You never want them to think that they are gaining any new, valuable or actionable information from the content.
Liberally use verbal hedge words and phrases, such as:
- “I feel like…”
- “…to some extent”
- “I’m not certain, but…”
- “I think…”
- “Is it possible that…?”
These will give your content a tone that lacks complete confidence. Readers will immediately understand that you’re basically guessing. This will also deter any other sites from relying on you as an influencer or linking to your content as a credible source.
Tip #8: Only Rely On Old Statistics
The latest statistics are always the most desirable. They have the most relevance, power and accuracy, which means they are the most effective at quantifying and justifying a content creator’s stance. All things we want to avoid in bad content.
Readers want to see the latest numbers because they want to know the current status of the subject matter, not the place that it was in five years ago. But, new statistics aren’t always easy to find. Besides, who cares about the audience’s interests anyways?
As a member of the Bad Content Gang, you don’t need to stress about scouring sources to find the latest figures. Dust off those stats from 2012 and go.
Tip #9: Forget About Authoritative Sources
In the same light as only using old statistics, you also want to have absolutely no regard for the authority or accuracy of the sites you’re linking to. Better yet, don’t link at all.
Readers don’t actually need to know where you’re getting the information from.
If you absolutely have to link to other sites, ensure that they are low-quality and only get in the way of the reader’s experience. Your sources should add absolutely zero additional value to the content.
Tip #10: Leave Readers At A Dead End
If readers manage to get to the end of your content (in which case, you really need these tips), you want to leave them with nowhere to go. The road should just simply end.
The last thing you want is for the reader to find other, relevant places on your site to go, such as:
- Links to other, related articles
- Signups for additional resources, such as newsletters, ebooks, case studies, etc.
- A question or thought-provoking signoff that encourages comments and discussions to take place afterwards
- Another call-to-action prompt
Ideally, you want your customer to disengage the moment that they reach the end of the article. So, give them nowhere else to go but back.
Tip #11: Ignore The Audience At All Costs
The audience is going to want to tell you things after they consume your content. They are going to want to ask question. They may even want to deify or demonize you for your writing.
First, disable their ability to do any of these things by removing your comment section. Remember, your readers should be left at a complete dead end.
However, if powers higher than yourself require the existence of such a comment section, then simply do your best to ignore it. Audiences want responses to their comments, concerns and questions, but they don’t actually need those replies.
Tip #12: Ignore Your Data Too
Audiences don’t have to write comments to leave you clues about their attitudes and feelings towards your writing. There’s a lot of insight that can be gained from basic content metrics.
For example, articles that see the highest number of reads and shares may signal to a content creator that this topic is something your audiences are interested in. Or, it could be a result of posting on a different schedule.
Great content creators spend a lot of time looking at data and trying to understand these insights and how they can be applied to write better, more engaging pieces in the future.
This entirely conflicts with the goals of the Bad Content Gang. Disregarding these pesky insights and data is imperative.
If you’ve managed to reach the end of this article, then you truly must have enjoyed a few laughs. We sure hope so. These are all tips that any good content writer should literally do the opposite of and take note of what to avoid.
If they have any interest in making their audiences utterly and completely unengaged, these tips will help continue writing terrible content that is borderline unreadable. For those, welcome to the Bad Content Gang.