Most Content is Ignored

Gavin Duff3rd July 2024 - Gavin Duff

Most Content is Ignored

Most content is not good.

Most content is not read by anybody.

Most of your audience is not ready to buy. That’s just a fact. But most of them are open to content that’s actually engaging.

Brands spend a lot of money on producing generic content with the hope that theirs will be loved. Scratch that, I should say in the belief that theirs will be loved. And mostly, it’s not.

Firstly, I want to talk about that old movie misquoteIf you build it, they will come.”

I’ve seen it used in content strategy conversations. As if throwing sh*t at the wall is a good strategy…

Despite its inspirational tone, this phrase is very misleading when applied to content creation and business strategy in general. It implies that simply creating something is enough to attract an audience, overlooking the complexities of research, marketing, distribution, and audience engagement.

Successful content requires more than just creation; it needs effective research, promotion and strategic outreach.

Additionally, this phrase assumes that your audience will automatically find and appreciate your content, ignoring the necessity of understanding and targeting specific audience needs and preferences.

Building content without audience insight can lead to missed opportunities and wasted resources. It also suggests a passive approach to growth, relying on the hope that audiences will come on their own.


In reality, active efforts in SEO, social media marketing, networking, and audience engagement are crucial to driving traffic and building a loyal audience. Don’t ignore them.

In today’s world, there is an overwhelming amount of content available. Simply creating good content is not enough; it must stand out among competitors (and even non-competitors who are competing for eyeballs with similar content).

This requires continuous innovation, differentiation, and strategic positioning. Success in content strategy also involves measuring performance and adapting based on feedback and analytics. “If you build it, they will come” ignores the need for iterative improvements and responsiveness to audience behaviour.

While the phrase may inspire initial creation, which is fine in a way, a more comprehensive approach is necessary for sustained success in content strategy. Building valuable content is just the beginning; attracting, engaging, and retaining an audience requires ongoing effort and strategic planning.

Below are some of my principles for creating a more engaged content strategy. Bring them to your next brainstorming session, and see the difference they can make.

When you introduce these to your team, the conversation should change. Instead of focusing on what the competition is doing, or what you think you should do, you’ll find your team thinking creatively and strategically.

These principles encourage fresh ideas and new perspectives that align with your brand’s values. They help guide your team to create content that not only stands out but also truly resonates with your audience.

The result?

A more cohesive, inspired, and effective content strategy. So, take these on board with your team and watch as new ideas begin to flow.

Remember, I won’t provide specific examples because I want you to take these principles and apply them in a way that is unique to your brand. Examples would defeat the purpose. Innovate, don’t imitate – it’s all explained below!

Principle 1: If It Doesn’t Add Value, Don’t Publish It; If It’s Not Authentic, Don’t Say It

Value and authenticity are the bedrock of effective content. Content that doesn’t provide value to your audience is a wasted effort. Always ask yourself: What does this piece of content offer my audience? Is it solving a problem, providing new insights, or entertaining them? Similarly, authenticity in content means being true to your brand’s voice and values. Authentic content resonates more because it is real and relatable.

Principle 2: Innovate, Don’t Imitate

The best response to a competitor’s content is to innovate, not imitate. While it’s important to be aware of what your competitors are doing, copying their strategies won’t make you stand out. Instead, focus on what makes your brand unique and leverage that to create innovative content that sets you apart.

Principle 3: Embrace the Fear of Failure

If you fear failure, you will likely never create anything worthy of going viral. Great content often comes from taking risks and pushing boundaries. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try new things. Some of the most successful content pieces are those that took a leap of faith.

Principle 4: You Have Power Over Your Content Strategy

You control your content strategy, not the market. While market trends and audience preferences are important, they should not dictate your entire strategy. Stay true to your brand’s vision and values, and you will find success.

Principle 5: Define Your Message First

First, define the message you want to convey; then create the content to reflect it. Clarity in your message ensures that your content is focused and effective. Without a clear message, your content can become scattered and lose its impact.

Principle 6: Be the Master of Your Content

No brand is authentic if it is not the master of its content. This means having control over the creation, distribution, and management of your content. Consistency and coherence in your content reflect a well-managed and authentic brand.

Principle 7: Create Relatable Content

Create content that lets your audience see themselves in your narrative. To connect is to be authentic. When your audience can relate to your content on a personal level, it fosters a deeper connection and loyalty to your brand.

Principle 8: Quality Shapes Your Brand

Your brand becomes shaped by the quality of its content. High-quality content reflects a high-quality brand. Invest time and resources into creating content that is well-researched, well-written, and visually appealing.

Principle 9: Focus on Valuable Content

Eliminate your distractions; focus solely on creating valuable content. Distractions can dilute your content’s effectiveness. Stay focused on creating content that serves your audience’s needs and interests.

Principle 10: Show, Don’t Over-Explain

Don’t over-explain your brand values. Show them through your content. Actions speak louder than words. Demonstrate your values through the stories you tell and the way you engage with your audience.

Principle 11: Consistency Builds Trust

Consistent content builds trust that quick fixes cannot. Regularly publishing high-quality content helps build trust and reliability with your audience. Quick fixes may offer short-term gains, but consistency fosters long-term relationships.

Principle 12: Publishing Is an Act of Bravery

Sometimes even publishing is an act of bravery. Just go for it and be open to feedback, good or bad. Putting your content out there can be daunting, but it’s necessary for growth. Be prepared to receive and learn from feedback.

Principle 13: Experiment with Content

No brand is more stagnant than one that never experiments with content. Innovation requires experimentation. Don’t be afraid to try new formats, topics, or styles to see what resonates best with your audience.

Principle 14: Control Your Narrative

The most influential brands have control over their narrative. Be proactive in shaping your brand’s story and how it is perceived by your audience. Don’t let others define your narrative for you.

Principle 15: Embrace Controversy

Don’t be afraid of controversy. Embrace it. Controversial topics can spark conversation and engagement. If handled thoughtfully, they can also position your brand as bold and fearless.

Principle 16: Publish Unpopular Opinions

Unpopular opinions make you more human. Not everyone will agree with you, and that’s okay. Sharing diverse viewpoints shows that your brand values authenticity and open dialogue.

Principle 17: Understand Your Audience

Those who do not understand their audience cannot create compelling content. Deep knowledge of your audience’s preferences, pain points, and interests is crucial for creating resonating content.

Above all, there is one question to ask yourself…

Why Are You Not Demanding the Best Content for Your Audience?

This question should guide your entire content strategy. Always strive to deliver the best possible content for your audience. When you demand the best, you push your brand towards excellence and set a high standard for your content.

Creating content that resonates with your audience and builds your brand is no small feat. It requires a strategic approach, a clear understanding of your brand’s voice, and a commitment to authenticity.

Incorporate these principles into your content strategy, and watch as your content becomes more impactful, engaging, and authentic.

Remember, the goal is to connect with your audience in meaningful ways, and these principles provide a solid foundation for achieving that.

“If you build it, then why should they come?”

Now, go forth and create original content. Or, get in touch with us and we can help.

Gavin Duff
Gavin Duff

For two decades, Gavin has defined effective digital marketing strategy, SEO, PPC, display, content, e-commerce, data analytics, conversion rate optimisation, and social media direction for businesses multinationally and across all sectors. He is also a known conference speaker, lecturer for Trinity College Dublin, podcast guest, media source, guest blogger and many other things in the area of digital marketing. He also holds a Dip. in Cyberpsychology, as well as AI and Machine Learning, and is a member of the Psychological Society of Ireland.

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