When to say 'no' to content

Mediocre content harms your business more than no content

Content isn’t always the answer. It’s not the golden nugget we hope it is. Neither is social. For both goes, do it well or not at all.

High-quality content is crazy expensive; the ballpark for the first year is € 30k to € 45k, and for every next year, a minimum of €15 a year. Costs for team, tech, and distribution are not included – all the budget details are below. 

It depends on your business model and case if it’s worth investing. And ‘no’ to content is a fully acceptable and valid answer.


Why it matters

Cutting the cr*p and corners, mediocre content harms your business more than no content.

As said, do it well or don’t do it all. Nobody gets excited by sub-par AI-generated content that’s published once in a while. It’s bad for your customers, bad for your SEO, and, in the end, bad for your business.

My ‘no’ might surprise you as I’m a content advocate. Below I’ll explain why it’s better to say ‘no’ than going for neither fish nor fowl, ending up stuck in the middle and at the bottom of SEO.


Decision-making factors

  1. Budget
  2. Business case



  • Sweet and short .com
  • Claim your socials
  • Get reviews and recommendations


1. Budget ballparks

Content is expensive. Content that claims leadership has a long lifetime and ranks well in SEO even more. For now, I’ll focus on production costs, the team and technology you need, or the distribution are not included. 

The numbers below are ballparks for smaller B2C and B2B brands. The ballpark is what I think is worth to produce content. If it’s more, reconsider if you have a solid business case to make such investments.  Depending on your own digital maturity, what you already have, and in-house expertise, it can be less.


First year € 30k to € 45k

  • Content strategy: € 7,5 to € 10k
  • Three or four hero content items: € 2,5 to €3k each, € 10k
  • Help content, about € 1,5k to € 2k each, you need around 10 items, € 20k
  • Video: are you sure it’s worth it? It starts around € 5k per video
  • Miscellaneous costs ~10%: € 5k


Second year and after € 15k to  € 20k

  • Two hero items: € 5k
  • Six additional help content items: € 12k
  • Miscellaneous costs ~10%: 3k


Do it well, or not at all

All can be done cheaper or by AI, you’ll notice. So will your audience. And SEO.

Make sure you have the budgets allocated above for year one, two, and three. It takes time before you see an effect, and stopping after one year because you don’t see results is stupid. If that’s your case, I recommend not to start at all.


2. Business case

If the budget is worth investing in, it all depends on your business model, the industry you’re in, your competitors, and your business case. How do you get your leads? How do you sell? And what is your margin on your products to play around with for content production?

Now you know the ballpark numbers for the first few years, divide that over your margins. Are you going to make that much more sales to make the investment accountable? Or is the potential loss in sales that high if you don’t opt for content?

It all depends, and you have to make your calculations for at least three years as content is a long-term investment.

From my own experience, I know I get my new clients through word of mouth and recommendations by former clients or peers in the industry. I use my content to claim my leadership and as a backbone for my clients, with more information, knowledge, and experience available at their convenience. If I were not a content strategist and producer myself, I would not invest heavily in content and stick to the bare minimum.


What about AI for efficiency and saving on budgets?

AI and ChatGPT are not the magic answer to your content problem. Typing in a prompt, copy-paste-polish the output, and publishing that as content of your own will not move your needle.

People recognize AI-generated content, and so does Google. 

Don’t get me wrong, AI is great. As a wingman. Super for research, ideation, and to help you write more and better. Not to do the work for you. 

So, AI is not the answer to your budget problem.


Alternative: Sweet and simple .com

You don’t need an extensive .com with layers of content. If you choose not to go for content, undress your .com and stick to the minimum. Logo, clear one-liner with why you do what you do and your passion for that, your contact details, and some reviews and recommendations.

You can even add some light little humor. E.g., For a local coffee company ‘we’re too busy brewing to create an awesome website and content. Drop by anytime at our shop for a coffee and more info.’

Better to have a sweet and simple .com than an outdated one filled with mediocre content. 


sweet short website and social


The example above is Aim, my favorite luxury fashion shop in Maastricht. Their .com has just three words and two links: contact, name, and Instagram. Nailing it and fully in line with their brand identity: high-end, quiet luxury. They did this on purpose not only for maintenance, also because online shopping is not really in line with their vision of customer experience and how they want to serve their customers. 


Alternative: social

What you need to do is to claim your socials. Then, you can do two things: use it or hide it. What you choose depends on your industry and your own social savviness.

If you use it and don’t really have the time or energy for it, stick to the everlasting basic information in your profile, such as the logo and description. And keep your feed empty.

If you decide to post, post frequently in your feed and stories. Don’t overcomplicate, and keep relevance and temporariness in mind when you create your social content. For this setup, it’s better to post social content in and about ‘the now’ than about your brand, your why, etcetera.

If you hide it, at least you have your name claimed, and you prevent your audiences from seeing an outdated social profile. Maybe that’s even worse than an outdated website.


Must have: reviews and recommendations

Whatever you do, if you say ‘no’ to extensive and expensive content, at least get your reviews and recommendations in. You can ask your customers or clients to write a review. Up to you to decide if you do this via email, platforms as Trustpilot, Google reviews, or on social.

It’s key that you update these reviews and recommendations a few times a year. Nothing as bad as expired recommendations from a few years ago.

And you can (re) use the reviews and recommendations on your sweet and short .com or socials.

Note: You can anonymize these reviews and recommendations; GDPR and privacy are a thing and an excellent excuse not to reveal the full name of the client or customer.


nuud review


The Nuud example above is to show the power of reviews and recommendations. Nuud is a start-up and an absolutely inspirational content example by the book, for .com and social. Give them a follow for inspiration and aspiration without smelly transpiration. 



It’s fully acceptable not to do content. Do it well, or don’t do it all if there’s no solid business case. There are some alternatives; what’s the best solution depends on your industry, your brand, your business model, and yourself.

Again. Content is expensive. There is no such thing as cheap content, not fully AI-generated content as an alternative.


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