Easy access to information means brands strive to fill our timelines with content that piques our interest to get those valuable clicks, but it should be killer, not filler.
Okay, what will happen next won't shock you. Nor will you see someone's reply or actions "slay". You might find out what sort of animal you are or what country you should be from, but then what?
How many times have you been on a Buzzfeed listicle and thought; "ooh, I wonder what this other article is about" or "well, that's 10 minutes I'm never getting back". The answer is never to the former and always to the latter.
Most articles out there are filler. The Huffington Post, The Daily Mail and The Independent are worst.
1. Social media filler
They follow various celebrities social media accounts, Chrissy Teigen is prime target for this. When Chrissy uses her unique style of wit, barb and candor, this is built into a entire story and published. This is baffling, as Chrissy has quite a large following and all her profiles are public.
Why people choose to read an article about what she said and not follow her is beyond me.
This is really lazy journalism and adds absolutely no value.
Now, she recently posted about breastfeeding and her "mom-bod". If you were to build an article about this, using scientific data and insight about body positivity or the stigma attached to breastfeeding, you've got yourself an article that will appeal to lots of people, not just celebrity hunters. And you've add value by enforcing a message triggered by someone in the public eye.
A bit like real journalism.
But celebrity reporting has always been trash, so I don't know why we expect anything different. It's just when you promote your article based on being shocked or someone slaying a critic, I expect to be shocked or have the warm feeling of admiration. Not left feeling cold, thinking "that's hardly slaying, it's just a response".
2. Psudo-science filler
These are the articles that proport to tell you about how you're living your life all wrong or how new evidence has found that should start doing this.
It's all bollocks, of course.
Instead of scientific analysis by doctors or experts in the field of something important, like health or the universe, it's normally a pop-psychologist telling your relationship will fail because your boyfriend doesn't talk to you during a football match. Or that you've been sleeping all wrong. Or why you should stop eating avocados. Or that millenials aren't getting shit-faced.
You get the drift.
I'm mainly opposed to this because it's nonsense and again, adds no value. The fact that it's judgemental and telling people how to live in one article and "slamming" shamers in the next.
3. Promotional content filler
You read an article about how the penguins are dying out because of climate change. It's heart-wrenching and you feel guilty for buying that Pret chai latte and not taking in your reusable cup, as it was a spontaneous decision.
Then you get to the bit where it's Canon advertising their paper efficient printers because they care.
All of sudden you feel like you've fallen for the "can I quickly use your toilet" patter of a door-to-door salesman.
4. Socially conscious filler
And while on the subject of penguins, you get a lot of filler - particularly from brands - about how they're being socially conscious. The cringe-fest of Kendall Jenner's Pepsi ad is case and point. But also Ariel are preaching about household safety, like having cleaning fluid in the house is a new thing.
Sometimes brands can change culture for the good with well-placed, category relevant campaigns. For example, I'm plotting to do something around mental health, the audience I target is 99% macho-male environments. Even this needs thinking, as does an oil company have permission to play in this area? Would anything I say have integrity?
5. Non-stop filler
A lot of brands publish endless articles to plug SEO holes. And they also feel the need to share all the knowledge they have and anything related to that knowledge.
To continually publish content without an acceptance criteria means your website will rival BBC News in size. And also, if you keep pumping stuff out there, the message gets dilute.
You might want to build a knowledge base to help your customers, but be very careful what and how you distribute this information.
And more importantly, don't make it boring. Even though the topic might be, doesn't mean you should forget tone of voice or creativity. Making something boring more accessible and interesting is what copywriters live for.