“Holy crap, this article sucks. Somebody got paid for this? I could do better! Right?”
Every single time this internal dialogue happens, you should jump for joy.
Hear me out.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come across a piece of content and reveled in how dull or dry it was.
Now, I’m not tooting my own horn here. I’m sure you can dig through my previous work and find some cliched, cringe-worthy crap.
Yet that doesn’t change the fact that there are hordes of writers out there making bank right now even though they lack knowledge of the craft because, well, they can.
These people aren’t traditional writers. They don’t know what “voice” is. They think “syntax” is the name of a metal band.
Not fair, right? Meanwhile, you’re sitting there with your dogeared copy of The Elements of Style thinking “how the hell do they get away with it?”
Maybe they’re on good terms with an editor (hint: “connections”).
Perhaps their niche is hungry for any new content, regardless of quality.
But that doesn’t matter, really.
Why? Because they put themselves out there. They’re published and you’re not.
Harsh truth: in the worlds of content writing and marketing, being proactive will always trump traditional “skill.”
And sure, it’s frustrating. It’s like your intelligence is being mocked and your ability to make it as a writer is being called into question.
So ask yourself: what are you going to do about it?
Every Poor Piece of Content Represents an Opportunity
First of all, relax.
Next time you see an article in your space that sucks eggs or puts you to sleep, don’t get mad.
Look at such content as an opportunity to rise above the status quo and get noticed yourself.
Reach out to an editor or two. Send some cold email pitches.
Start blogging your own pieces to show off your skills. Medium. LinkedIn. Go.
Let your niche know that you’re out there. Until you do, you’re only holding yourself back (hint: “I’m not published” is not an excuse).
If Nothing Else, Crappy Content is a Confidence Booster
Mastering the craft isn’t enough to guarantee your success as a content writer.
It pains me to say that, too.
Honestly, you can be a sub-par writer and still come up with half-way decent marketing content that gets shared around.
So if you know that you’ve got the chops, use that as fuel for your future pieces.
Love literature? Awesome. Have an English degree? Neat, me too.
Consider yourself to be a “good” writer? Prove it.
Show readers that you’ve got the creative spark to set yourself apart from the fluff that’s out there.
Keyword: show. Don’t tell.
Mediocre Content is Everywhere. Change That.
To say that the content writing space is overcrowded would be a massive understatement.
However, almost every client I work with has expressed a similar sentiment: finding “good” writers is nearly impossible these days.
As a result, many editors have no choice but to settle for “meh” because they either haven’t found the proper writer for their team or have accepted defeat and feel that such a writer simply doesn’t exist.
Again, mediocre writing represents a window of opportunity.
Is this much more than a pseudo-motivational call to arms for content writers?
But the heart of the matter is this: the marketing world needs great writers.
Perhaps the best way to eliminate the spread of cheapskate content is for writers to come out of the woodwork, pitch fresh ideas and fight the good fight against fluff.
Image Courtesy of Nikita Kozin from The Noun Project.