By John Doe December 11 2017

What Is Generic Content Writing? And Why Is It Bad?

Generic content writing is a term that’s thrown around a lot these days but what is generic content writing and what makes it so bad?

Generic content is unspecific content.  It uses a blanket approach rather than drilling down to say what it means or wants to sell. Sales can be incorporated into generic content, but they won’t resonate with the reader as well as something more specific might as it is too broad.

It is thought that attracting a bigger audience is the best way to promote a company or product, however, if the subject is too broad readers will not take the key messages to heart and the content will not achieve what it set out to do.

This type of content does not have the impact that more specific content has, and the information is nothing a reader wouldn’t have seen before. Therefore, there is no real hook to keep a reader interested in the article they have glanced at. They do not want to keep reading the same old content, they are sick of it and they will soon move on to something else.

There are many ways that generic content differs from a more direct piece and this is not always a good thing.

Headline

Content needs to stand out from the crowd if it is to be read enthusiastically and the words acted on. A headline such as ‘How to get more dates,’ might attract the attention of the reader but if it then says exactly the same thing they have read a dozen times before they won’t hang around long enough to click through to the new dating site that is being advertised.

Instead ‘How to use online dating successfully,’ would resonate with people who are looking for love online rather than readers who simply want to hang out in bars and chat to people.  The second headline might not attract as many people but the ones it does attract will be interested in the content and pay attention. They will be more willing to move on to the next stage. Quality can often have much better results than quantity.

Main Body of the Content

It would be good if you could hire content writers who came up with new and original ideas all the time, however, with all the information that is on the internet these days total originality has become almost impossible to achieve. It has become more important for a content writer to find a new angle and say things differently than what has been said before.  This makes the writing seem fresh and original, even if the subject matter is not.

Although content writing need not come up with new ideas or headlines, in fact it can be quite useful for a reader to see all the information they need together in one piece of content rather than having to trawl through the internet looking for different pieces of information. Great content is often focused on this.

Content should be displayed in a way the reader might not have seen before to keep their attention. Content that is humorous will help to keep the interest of the reader and stop them falling asleep over the piece.  An alternative viewpoint or making the content more emotive will also keep a reader engaged in the content.

Having an opinion matters more now in content than it has ever done because the reader wants to find something to relate to, or even disagree with.  A strong voice stands out much more than a weak one and it is this which will make the reader finish the article and consider what is being said.  It is this that leads internet advertising being successful as it encourages the reader takes an action, they may not have thought about before. For example, buying a new product.

Keywords

Content iscritical to google ranking.  Companies want to make sure that their products stay on the right side of search engine ranking and this encourages them to fill their websites with as much SEO content as possible in the mistaken belief that this will get their company to the top of the rankings.  Nothing could possibly go wrong, could it?

Unfortunately for these companies’ things could go very wrong.  Firstly, readers are more sophisticated than they may have been in the past.  Generic website content does not stand out enough to keep their attention and they will be straight off to a competitor’s website if they feel the content speaks to them personally.

Generic content tends to fit SEO words in where it can.  This leads to grammatical errors in the content, for example, the use of a plural for a word that should be singular or a sentence that does not quite fit together properly.  Nothing is likely to turn a reader off quicker than spotting massive errors. For companies, therefore, generic content is a bad fit and should be avoided at all costs.

Search engines have got wise to the ways of generic content writing and often dislike the way it is written. They may not want to put this content at the top.  These days just having content stuffed with SEO words may not be enough for a company to get to the top of the list.

The closing paragraphs

Generic content can often fizzle out towards the end.  It can leave a reader into a feeling of nothingness.  They certainly aren’t going to be persuaded by the argument of the content writer and may not have even wanted to read the piece to the end.  A well-aimed piece, on the other hand, can galvanize a reader into action.  They may decide to buy a product or agree with a certain argument.  Either way, they would have learned something interesting.  This could lead to the reader encouraging others to read the content building a buzz around the point the content writer was trying to make.  Surely, this is the reason the writer put pen to paper in the first place.