4 Symptoms of Zombie Content

Confession: I love zombie movies. I’m aware that zombie movies lack complexity and character depth (though AMC’s “The Walking Dead” is rapidly eroding this stereotype). I’m also aware the CDC’s Zombie Apocalypse Preparedness campaign sucked all “art-house” cred from the genre. Still, I allow myself the guilty pleasure of watching films about frantic humans fighting off herds of animated corpses.

Most people associate zombie fascination with an unhealthy fixation on violence. I disagree; I believe zombies grant us a glimpse of our deepest fear: death—not the romantic death associated with afterlife—but real, raw, rotting death.

Needless to say, these are not adjectives you want associated with your brand’s content. Yet that is exactly what I see on a lot of company blogs. Take a look at your blog content. If it suffers from any of the following characteristics, then you’re hosting zombie content.

Obsession with Consumption

The most well known characteristic of a zombie is its unsavory obsession with eating human flesh. Similarly, zombie content is recognized by an unhealthy obsession with gobbling up keyword rankings. After the Google Panda update, one would think this sort of content would be an anomaly; but it’s not. I still get calls from people asking for “SEO content” and “SEO press releases.” While SEO is certainly a benefit of a well executed content strategy, if it’s your main goal, you’re doing it wrong—you’re acting like a content zombie.

Lifeless and Rotting

A zombie’s complexion and flesh are noticeably lifeless and rotten. Zombie content is also lifeless. It lacks emotional triggers. It lacks substance. It fails to evoke any desire for human sharing. Just as a zombie is nothing more than an animated corpse, zombie content is nothing more than words rotting on a page. Want to breath life into your content? We just published a string of articles about sharable content; read carefully and apply.

Lack of Foresight

Everyone knows that zombies lack foresight. A zombie can only focus on the flesh within its immediate field of perception. If left alone, a “classic” zombie will loop endlessly in circles. If your content wanders aimlessly and lacks structure, then it lacks direction and foresight. The number one reason for this lack of direction is failure to outline. Take a cue from Michael Purdy, outline your purpose before writing.

Herd Mentality

Another zombie characteristic is instinctual submission to the herd. The Internet is stacked with herd-mentality blogs. It’s easy to recognize this type of content because it reads and looks like most everything else you read this month. It lacks thought leadership and originality. While it’s nearly impossible to give birth to completely original concepts every single time you blog, it is certainly possible to give a new spin on a known idea. It is not the repetition of an idea that should be avoided—human learning requires repetition. Rather, it is the lack of diverse presentation that must be avoided.

Conclusion

While confronting our mortality may be a thrilling cinematic experience, a corporate blog is no place to explore these limits. Hosting zombie content is a sure way to destroy any hope of return traffic and conversions. What other characteristics do classic zombies share with zombie content?

About the author

Dave Snyder

Dave began his career online as a well respected Internet Marketing Consultant. He has spoken around the world on the topics of search marketing and social media, and has consulted for some of the worlds largest companies on the topics. He has also been an educator and writer in past careers.

Dave’s passion shifted from a purely marketing focus as he worked with more and more entrepreneurs to build profitable companies, to the creation, construction, and management of startups. This passion was the inspiration behind SteelCast.