Take any market or industry, and go through the web looking at a collection of company web sites.
You’ll almost always find a wide spectrum of efforts -- while some companies will put a lot of value into their web footprints, others will not.
This online investment is a big part of what separates the most successful companies from competitors that tend to lose out in terms of market share. It's not just that these other successful companies are spending more money -- it's that they understand the power of online content.
Stocks, Generic and Syndicated Content
At too many companies, management teams just don't want to make the financial investment in original, personalized web content -- or they don't want to make the effort of engaging with contractors. So they have an easy out -- a web-design vendor might offer stock or syndicated content that's previously been written, and sits in a digital hopper. Companies can simply choose the pieces that they want for their blogs and newsletters.
Some of this takes the form of syndicated content -- the idea is kind of like syndication in the newspaper world. The company will have the same column, written by the same professional, that’s highlighted on some other company's website.
The Real Dangers of Generic Content
Although this might seem easy and appealing at first glance, it's a really bad way to go. There are several reasons for this.
First, in an age where we value organic marketing, generic content is one of the best ways to turn people off. Someone who clicks into a website and sees that it has the exact same content as another company's site immediately understands that nobody put time and effort into crafting a message showcasing the company's value. They’ll often assume that it’s because the company really doesn't have much value at all – or has some bad management.
With syndicated content, there's another issue -- where newspaper syndication is made to appear professional, a lot of syndicated web content is written with a personalized narrative approach -- it's written to look like it's original. So when you see it pop up somewhere else, it just looks like it was copied and pasted.
There is one more excellent reason to avoid the generic content track -- it's called Google.
As Google is streamlining and tweaking its algorithms for search ranking, it's putting emphasis on both quality and originality of content. The reason is it duplicate content puts off Google and it has hard time spotting the original source unless such content are coded properly to say the source (e.g. canonical tagging). And in most of the cases, it does not rank any of the sites involved and even can penalize them. It is rather wise to avoid such penalty and rather invest a reasonable amount in creating original content.
WebSubstance knows how to help companies invest in quality and originality. Along with all sorts of other accessories like photography, branding, designs and more, WebSubstance people understand why companies need well-written, original content on their sites. And the ROI from content marketing is huge.
So next time, you come across a generic content solution, think twice.