What is good content and why is it so hard to create it?

What is good content and why is it so hard to create it?

So you’ve decided to set out on your content marketing journey—or maybe you’re years in. Your goal is to create good content that generates value for your business. What could go wrong? 

A lot, it turns out. According to research shared by content measurement platform Knotch, “58% of all content is either completely neutral or negatively affecting brand outcomes.”

This staggering stat points not to bad intentions, but to the difficulty of creating genuinely good content. The internet is saturated with clickbait, copycat SEO articles, and material that was poorly (or not at all) edited and fact-checked. And it’s only going to get worse as AI-generated content floods the internet. 

Does this mean content marketing is becoming an exercise in futility? We say: absolutely not. It just means that brands need to get out of the mediocre content trap and strive for a higher level of editorial excellence. 

What is good content? 

Good content does the following:

  • It shares something of meaningful value to a reader
  • It communicates with an authentic perspective and distinctive voice
  • It’s enjoyable to read
  • It sticks in a reader’s mind

If your content does each of these things, it will earn positive sentiment from the reader—and that’s positive sentiment for your brand.  

Now, let’s talk about mediocre content. Mediocre content:

  • Doesn’t add meaningful value to a reader—it either doesn’t communicate clearly (think: poorly written or overly generic), or it repeats what’s already been said by others
  • Lacks authenticity and/or expertise
  • Doesn’t have a voice 
  • Is forgettable 
  • Creates frustration rather than fulfillment for a reader (think: spammy UX or unintuitive flow of information)

If your content does any of the above, it will result in neutral or negative sentiment from the reader.

What does it take to create good content? 

Creating good content starts with answering these three deceptively simple questions:

  1. What do I have to share?
  2. How will this benefit a reader?
  3. How can I best communicate my ideas? 

Good content requires, first and foremost, that you have something to say. Ask yourself: What’s unique about the brand’s perspective? What topic areas does the brand have authority to speak on? What data or stories do we have to share? 

Once you know what you want to share, you need to honestly assess if that material will benefit your audience. Remember: You’re not creating content for your sake—you’re creating it for a reader. What value will your reader get from your content that they can’t get anywhere else? If you can answer this question clearly, you’re on the path to creating something good. 

Finally, there’s the challenge of how you will communicate your ideas and material to readers. In a saturated digital environment, clarity and memorableness are key attributes to strive for. And they’re what separate great from middling success. 

What does great success look like? Consider Lenny Rachitsky’s newsletter: It consistently delivers valuable, actionable insights to readers, and unpacks information in an organized, linear fashion. There’s no fluff—every sentence communicates something of utility.

For another example, take the quarterly longform essays Spencer Glendon, the founder of Probable Futures (a Moonlight client), authors. Each takes themes that feel familiar and places them in the unfamiliar context of climate change—and does so in an engaging, conversational style that holds readers’ attention, often for more than 5000 words

Good content is at the intersection of the idea you have to share, benefit for the reader, and how you can best communicate your ideas.

The core challenge when creating content like this is getting an organization or stakeholder’s most impactful ideas down on paper—especially if they live in the heads of leaders who either are not comfortable writing or don’t have time to write—and to do so in a way that a reader will remember long after they’ve clicked away. 

How do you bring good content to life? 

At this point, you might be thinking: wow, I really need to hire a copywriter. But creating good content requires more than a single resource. To do it right, what you need is a team and a process. And to run a good process, you need a reasonable amount of time. 

Team & budget

At a bare minimum, your team needs three functions: a strategist, a writer, and an editor. 

A strategist is essential to guiding your content roadmap in a direction that best reinforces your brand identity and will bring value to your business. If they have the requisite experience and mindset, a writer or editor can also play the role of strategist. 

Operationally, you need two seasoned pros: a writer and an editor. Even the world’s best writers don’t create content in a vacuum—they work with editors, who act as sounding boards, gut checks, and critical eyes. While stakeholders in the company will likely review and edit material (and hopefully catch typos!), they shouldn’t be substitutes for professional editors. 

There’s no single answer to how much a team can produce—it depends on the level of complexity and nature of the content. Often, internal teams are best at producing content that requires product knowledge—because, of course, they know the product best. But for top of funnel or leadership content, an agency can often help you unlock both higher scale and greater quality. 

Process & time

All media companies have an established process for moving work from idea to reality. They may even dedicate entire teams to creating (and improving) processes and ensuring everything is going through the proper protocol. And for good reason. With many moving pieces in a portfolio of content, repeatable practices are essential for good outcomes. In our view, a good process includes structured topic ideation, creation of detailed writer briefs, and multiple rounds of editing before a piece of content can move towards production and QA. 

We also emphasize the importance of stakeholder participation in the process. Even with dedicated content creation resources, those with the IP still need to allocate time for participation. 

Once the first waves of content are created, the process doesn’t stop. Success requires ongoing creative effort. If it feels like you’re running out of things to say, it might be time to reinvent your content initiative. 

Now what? 

Sound like a lot of work? That’s because it is a lot of work! 

Creating good content starts with securing the right talent and expertise, which could mean hiring a content team or onboarding an agency. While we are partial to the agency route, the choice ultimately comes down to the specifics of your business. Whichever path you take, we’re rooting for you to create genuinely good content—and we can’t wait to read it.

Moonlight Editorial is made up of seasoned content creators and multi-faceted storytellers who have seen it all. Have a brand problem that you need help solving? We’d love to chat. No hard sell on our services—just a conversation with someone interested in pointing you in the right direction. 


Drop us a line.

Everyone’s content needs are different. We’d love to get to know yours.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.