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  • Writer's pictureSophie Everett

The 7 deadly sins of annoying content

Updated: Oct 14, 2020

We've all had those moments when yet another piece of content lands on our timeline or in our inbox and makes us groan. Sometimes we even put ourselves through the pain of looking for this stuff on purpose. It's time to vent... here are the 7 deadly sins of annoying content – does your pet hate make the list?

Rockstar about to smash guitar

1. The clickbait headline that doesn't deliver

We know that our favourite Z-list celebrity really won't look that shocking in spite of the promise of the headline, but... what if...? Too late!!! You've clicked – and not only are you not shocked, not even a little bit, but you now have to deal with the double shame of giving in to temptation and feeling slightly disappointed that your celeb of choice still has all their digits / a functioning head and looks no worse than fairly average in beachwear. Devastated.

2. The social poll that only two people have completed

You're not really that bothered about cats or dogs, but it'd be interesting to find out which one everyone else thinks is better, wouldn't it? And it'll only take a second to get to the big reveal, where's the harm in that? But one click later and you're left feeling slightly duped by the fact you're only the second person to vote. What kind of sample size is that? Grrrrr...

3. The never-ending download

That ebook on how to increase your marketing leads by a zillion per cent sounds amazing, doesn't it? Or it did 20 minutes ago. But now you've parted with some extremely personal yet somehow essential information (including your waist measurement and the predicted GCSE results of your firstborn), and you're still waiting patiently for a double opt-in email. You've checked your spam folder and under your bag and it's nowhere to be seen. Looks like you'll have to go into that team meeting this afternoon with a cuppa rather than the Holy Grail of Marketing – again.

4. The one-page wonder

You were promised a comprehensive guide that was going to help you structure your strategy for the next five years – but this downloadable ebook only has 10 bullet points and a picture of a cat on it. You feel sad and a little used – it's almost as bad as online dating, which gets you thinking about that time you put in a formal complaint to POF. And you don't have any chocolate on you.

5. The long read you don't have time for

You really wanted to find out about that change management theory, but did it warrant that many words? This piece of educational long-form content was supposed to be a seven-minute read, but you're beginning to suspect that the somewhat ambitious estimate is based on the reading speed of Deep Blue. You've already been interrupted three times, one of which was your boss, and now you look like a complete slacker. You've gone down a rabbit hole with a backlink to Harvard Business Review and you're not sure how to find your way out. Walk away slow reader, walk away.

6. The one with twins in it

You know the one. It usually pops up when you're using a free SEO tool. What is that about? They used to be kids and now they're grown up and look completely different (surprising)? Definitely not clicking, nobody needs to know what Mal and Ware look like now.

7. The report that makes all other content look pants

You were only looking for a bit of inspiration for your next ebook, and now you wish you hadn't. Because this bad boy was compiled by a cast of thousands (probably), and costed the equivalent of your entire year's marketing budget. In fact, it'll probably come out in hardback, it's that good. Solid data, a survey commissioned from the world's biggest market research company, a sample size of 50,000 global respondents and all the daily newspapers covered it – and included a backlink to the download. You made the fatal mistake of sharing it with the leadership team, and they want theirs "like that, but better."

So that's the worst of the worst – but don't get too despondent, there's plenty of room to create great original content. Check out which content works best here.

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