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Mirage content is content that looks good on the surface, but upon a deeper investigation, you realize it's high-level fluff. It lacks any bit of originality.

Sadly, it's a majority of the blog content out there right now.

We've identified two reasons companies are creating mirage content:

1. The author of a post doesn't have enough real experience to write on the topic they're writing about.

2. There's a lack of specificity on the topic the author is writing about. If you're currently creating mirage content, then you're losing potential customers (and likely not generating traffic, comments, or any excitement from your blog).

In this post, we show you an example of mirage content vs. a good piece of content, and we show you how to start creating high-quality content at scale. That way, you can start generating more leads for your business.

  • SS

    Susan Su

    about 2 years ago #

    Only problem is that mirage content is so much easier to make than the real stuff. Important to keep in mind to account for *true* cost of content marketing -- it's expensive upfront, not a "we'll 'just' get a freelancer" type of growth effort.

  • ND

    Nate Desmond

    about 2 years ago #

    Mirage content is the fake news of content marketing.

    Some great points, two thoughts jump out:
    1. Time seems to play a large role - if we tell our writers to spend 2 hours per article, we will have lower quality work. Dean-level content requires 8-20 hours per article (or I'm just really slow).
    2. I would argue that prior experience isn't *always* necessary - for me at least, learning is half the reward of blogging. Though this probably depends on your goals for the blog.

    • BH

      Benji Hyam

      about 2 years ago #

      Nate, great points.

      On the first point, I always negotiate per article fees because I find that paying writers hourly creates misalignment. With the hourly model, it's a time-based model instead of performance based model. I always want to incentivize people to do their best work. It takes me about the same amount of time per article.

      You're right - it isn't always necessary. Some people are good at researching and arguing a point (but I'd say most people aren't). There are always exceptions to the rule but I would say that most of the time people with deeper expertise are going to be better writing about it.

      There's also a 3rd piece to this which we didn't cover but I'll add to here - which is that sometimes mirage content can be content that's well written but completely misses the target audience. On the surface, it looks like it would fit the audience that a company is going after, but once user research is done, you realize that article wouldn't attract the right buyer. This is an even bigger problem than content being poorly written because the company thinks they're writing great content but after learning about their audience's pain points they realize they're attracting the wrong segment or writing content that's uninteresting to their buyers. Therefore, it's mirage in the sense that it looks good but doesn't add value to their core buyer.

  • TH

    Tyler Hakes

    about 2 years ago #

    People are always looking for results from lazy, cheap content and half-ass strategy.

    This is one of the reasons our industry (content marketing/SEO) gets chided by the outside world. Too many snake oil salesmen offering amazing results with little or no effort. Content mills offering amazing growth with a bunch of fluff and junk. Quality matters. Period.

    Great article. I appreciate when people call out the hivemind for oversimplifying and underdelivering.

    • BH

      Benji Hyam

      about 2 years ago #

      Great points. I think we can do away with lazy, cheap content if company leadership holds marketers accountable for leads instead of # of visitors, emails collected and other vanity metrics.

      I think it'll force people to start marketing the right way and therefore mirage content will stop being created because it doesn't work to generate quality leads.

      • FS

        Freyja Spaven

        about 2 years ago #

        I think a huge problem is lack of focus or direction and maybe even education towards content and strategy

        A lot of business owners actually hiring content writers in house are doing it on a per hour/volume approach with a kpi goal but not actually stopping and asking why or how but writing a white noise of content just to meet some quota

        Drives me fricking insane

  • DS

    Danavir Sarria

    about 2 years ago #

    Love it!

  • NA

    Nabeel Azeez

    about 2 years ago #

    Based on this post I was able to advise a friend who's implementing inbound marketing at his agency re: content creation.

    They asked for feedback on a blog post that was mirage content.

    I noticed the problem and pointed it out, comparing it to an earlier post of theirs that was much more noteworthy.

    I believe they took my feedback on board.

    Conservatively, your post probably saved him 40-50 man hours per month on content creation.

  • BH

    Benji Hyam

    about 2 years ago #

    Also, we created this video that explains the concept in more depth https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6646YKa_2U

  • NA

    Nabeel Azeez

    about 2 years ago #

    I also have a bone to pick with some of the "zomg only epic content iz allowed" advocates and "how to create a 5k word data-backed Harvard citationized blog post in under 3 hours every day" blog posts.

    People like Neil Patel have a full-time researcher, data scientist, designer, editor etc. on staff. They can throw a ton of money at creating the best content.

    How do the little guys compete?

    • BH

      Benji Hyam

      about 2 years ago #

      Be more specific. Go at deeper pain points instead of trying to create the most epic guide on a massive subject.

      • FS

        Freyja Spaven

        about 2 years ago #

        Also @nabeel4reel really make sure it aligns with the audience

        High end, citated content is great for attracting the industry influencers and traffic and being an authority in your subject

        But you always have to ask who the content is for in that moment?
        The customer?
        Or the influencer?
        Whats the end goal?
        I'm still a fan of long form content simply because if I want to help someone with something thats relevant and can help later make a sale, I don't want to either:
        Write about it again because I gave the help already
        Have them go elsewhere because I missed something

        Its very easy to knock out a 3-5k post on a simple subject if you are walking the audience through the content with great explanation and context

        It can often take me up to 3 days to write a killer post but thats the thing
        It should in theory continue to make more leads per day on its own, then if I wrote 15 posts at 3 hours each
        Don't worry about the time it takes (Within reason)
        Worry about the end quality
        The magic is often in the edits!

    • NA

      Nabeel Azeez

      about 2 years ago #

      @ampmycontent (can't reply to your post directly for some reason)

      I agree. My target audience is small agencies. So I'm trying to focus on content that will help them do business better.

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