Rant: Content-farmed tips make for worthless reading

April 5, 2011 by Dave Haynes

(Rant alert)

The system of tubes is polluted with crappy human or machine-generated articles about anything under the sun. Far too many of the things that pop up on Google Alerts for this sector are just content farm produce that is about as useful as weeds. It’s spam like too many emails we all get.

What bugs me is when people see crap and blithely pass it along, using social tools like Twitter. One of the big values of Twitter is having a network of trusted people, some I have never net, who read things and post the links – the idea being, “Hey Dave, you may want to read this, as well.”

Most of that time, it’s terrific and I appreciate the pointer. But not all the time.

I mention this because I find it irritating when this stuff gets put in front of me, but I also worry other people – much newer to the industry – will look at it and think, “This is coming from someone who should know, therefore I’ll read it and take it on board.”

With that, I give you, Ten Ways Digital Signage Could Benefit Your Business, from the Ezine farm.

There is a myriad or reasons why people invest in digital screens from increasing brand awareness, to boosting sales to just making the company look good. Here are some of the most popular reasons why businesses buy LCD enclosures and move into the world of digital signage.

10. Modernity – Digital signage is a modern and attractive method of advertising and raising awareness that can help a business stand out from the crowd.

Me: Brilliant

9. Keeping up with the Jones’ – If your competitors have it then you probably should also.

Me: Doubly brilliant

8. Can be used to create additional revenue by charging advertisers to display their advertisements on your digital screens.

Me: Yes, and that model has worked SO well for so many small businesses.

7. Can manipulate customers’ preferences, especially at point of sale where the viewer waiting in line is captive.

Me: As can anything that says 20% off, or Buy Now!!!

6. Instant content – no need to wait for the printers, a push of a button and new content can be uploaded instantly.

Me: Wow!

5. Content can be scheduled – to coincide with different times of the day. As an example, restaurants can display lunch menus until 1pm then swap for dinner advertisements in the afternoon.

Me: Holy crap! Really???

4. Entertainment – when store lines or sales attendants are busy digital signage can keep customers entertained and prevent the impatient ones leaving to find a less busy store.

Me: Prove it.

3. Can create attract people into the store especially if the content is lively and eye-catching.

Me: Yes, we’ve all seen screens in windows vacuuming people off the street and into shops. It’s actually dangerous.

2. Digital screens are flexible enabling use as advertisement, TV broadcasting, information or anything you see fit.

Me: Awesome (though those flexible OLED screens are pretty spanking expensive, I think)

1. Digital signage can help drive sales; marketing managers can experiment with new content without having to spend large sums on marketing

Me: Because content production is free!!!

Depending on perspective, this industry is anything from 10-20 years old now. It’s old enough that nobody should be referencing Dick and Jane articles as worthwhile reads. Way, way, way too much of the material being produced and spread around is little more than “Five great ways ..” or “Eight tips to build …”

It’s not all crap, but it’s rarely very good and even more rarely free of subtle or clumsy promotion. You may have noticed the origins of the Ten Ways epic is a company that peddles LCD enclosures.

There IS absolutely some terrific content and advice being generated out there. Dodge this crap and spend your time reading Bill Gerba, Ken Goldberg, David Weinfeld, Mike Cearley and a handful of others (DailyDOOH is more news, less advice), and pay attention to some (probably) under-appreciated stuff like the terrific case studies/papers the DSE people do on the winners of the Apex and DSE content awards.

And read the Digital Content Circle archive (and contribute).


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