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Content Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

Content Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

Everyone makes mistakes.  Unfortunately, if your chosen profession involves content marketing, potentially hundreds of thousands, even millions, of people will see those mistakes.

When a campaign is poorly designed, lacks attention to detail in a particular area, or is just plain bad for one reason or another, there will usually be some level of damage to a company’s brand.

If you’re ready to look at some famous content marketing meltdowns and learn how to avoid making mistakes in the future, then keep it right here for the next 8 minutes.

What Exactly is Content Marketing?

Before we get into how not to fail at content marketing, let’s first look at what it is.  Here are some content marketing quick hits:

  • Focuses on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content
  • Targets a  specific audience and their needs
  • Builds trust and relationships with the audience
  • Utilizes various content formats, such as blogs, videos, social media posts, and podcasts
  • Is not solely focused on making sales, but rather building brand awareness and loyalty
  • Emphasizes the importance of measuring and analyzing the performance of content
  • Is a long-term strategy that requires consistent effort and investment

Examples of Epic Content Marketing Failures

Here are a few big time mistakes by a few big time names.  

McDonald’s #McDstories Campaign

This campaign was launched in 2012 with the aim of promoting the brand by encouraging customers to share positive stories about their experiences at McDonald's on Twitter. However, due to a lack of control over what customers shared and a subsequent lack of engagement by the McDonald’s social media team, the campaign quickly backfired and resulted in a flood of negative comments and stories about the fast-food chain.

mcdonalds tweet

Home Depot’s #HDHacks Campaign

This campaign was launched in 2016 with the aim of encouraging customers to share creative and innovative uses of Home Depot products on social media, but was criticized for encouraging unsafe DIY projects and promoting the misuse of tools.

The campaign failed to generate much engagement from customers, with few people sharing their own "hacks" using Home Depot products.  Instead, the hashtag #HDHacks was quickly hijacked by social media users who shared negative stories and experiences about Home Depot.

In addition, the campaign was launched at a time when there was increased scrutiny on the home improvement industry, particularly around the safety and quality of products.

Protein World’s “Are You Beach Body Ready?” Campaign

This campaign was launched in 2015 with the aim of promoting Protein World’s weight loss products. However, it sparked controversy and backlash, with many people accusing the company of body shaming and promoting unrealistic beauty standards.  

The result?  Many of the public billboards were vandalized with messages of disapproval and the company’s brand was damaged.

beach body poster

Common Content Marketing Mistakes

Here are some common content marketing mistakes.  If you’re doing these things, stop.  Like, now.

Not Having a Clear Strategy

When you’re flying blind, you're usually going to crash.  

Without a clear content marketing strategy, you may miss out on valuable opportunities to engage with your target audience, build brand awareness, track and measure the effectiveness of your content, and drive conversions.  It will also be difficult to ensure that your messaging is consistent across all channels and platforms. 

Ignoring SEO

Without optimizing your content for relevant keywords, you may not appear in the top search results.  This can result in low engagement and conversion rates, making it harder to justify the investment in content marketing.  

Translation:  when you choose to ignore SEO, you're essentially saying, “I don’t want anyone to see my content.” 

Focusing too Much on Selling

At the heart of content marketing are the twin ideas of creating value and fostering relationships.  If you focus too much on selling your product or service, you may turn off your audience and decrease their engagement with your brand. 

In addition, focusing too much on selling can actually result in missed opportunities.  By providing helpful and informative content, you can educate your audience about the benefits of your products or services, which can increase their likelihood of making a purchase.  However, if you focus too much on selling, you may miss out on opportunities to upsell or cross-sell to your existing customers.

Ignoring your Target Audience

Always dance with the person you brought.

If you're not creating content that speaks directly to your audience's pain points, interests, and needs, they're unlikely to engage with your brand. This can lead to decreased brand awareness and missed opportunities for conversions.

If you're not sure who you're creating content for, you may end up creating content that doesn't align with your business goals or audience's needs. 

Result = Wasted time, effort, and resources that could be better spent on content that drives results.

Not Promoting Your Content

There are few things more mind-boggling than spending tons of time and money on content….and then not telling anyone about it.

Not promoting your content can limit its reach and visibility. Even if you create high-quality content, it won't do much good if no one sees it. 

When you promote your content, it helps drive traffic, which can result in higher engagement rates such as likes, shares, comments, and click-throughs. This engagement not only boosts your content's visibility but also signals to search engines that your content is relevant and valuable to your audience.

Neglecting Analytics

With the amount of tools available today, no one has to guess if their content efforts are working.  For some reason, though, people still do.

When you neglect analytics, you won't have the data needed to optimize your content strategy and you miss important trends, patterns, and opportunities for improvement that could help you achieve better results.

Also, neglecting analytics can result in wasted resources. Without analytics data, you may continue to create and distribute content that doesn't resonate with your audience, wasting time and effort in the process.

Creating Low Quality Content

AI can make it easy to fall into the trap of quantity over quality.  Please resist this urge.

When your content isn't valuable, informative, or interesting, your audience is less likely to engage with it. This can result in decreased likes, shares, comments, and click-throughs, which can harm your brand's visibility and reputation.

Your content plays a critical role in driving conversions such as leads, sales, or sign-ups, and if it’s low quality, your audience may be less likely to take the desired action. 

Focusing too Much on Short Term Results

Content marketing is a long-term strategy that requires consistent effort over time to achieve meaningful results. Focusing too much on short-term results can result in neglecting important aspects of your strategy such as audience research, content planning, and long-term relationship building.

The key is to have realistic expectations and realize that content marketing takes time to produce meaningful results.  Expecting immediate, through-the-roof numbers can result in frustration, disappointment, and a lack of motivation to continue producing high-quality content over the long term. 

Failing to Experiment

If you want a high ceiling for your content marketing strategy, you have to be willing to get out of your comfort zone and experiment.

Why?  Experimentation allows you to innovate and stay ahead of the curve. By trying new ideas, you may discover new tactics or formats that resonate with your audience and set your brand apart from competitors within your industry.

Also, with new trends and technologies constantly emerging, a failure to experiment may leave your company behind and unable to adapt to new changes.

Summing It Up

Content marketing works.

If you do it right.  

There have been plenty of examples in recent history of how not to do it, but that doesn’t have to be you (or your company)!

Some simple things to keep in mind:

  • Have a clear game plan
  • Make sure you’re telling people about your content in the most optimal ways possible
  • Don’t  just sell
  • Know your target audience, and then aim to solve their problems
  • Producing a lot of content is good; producing a lot of  quality content is wayyyy better
  • Remember that content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint
  • Dare to suck (i.e. try new approaches)

Want to learn what the future of growth marketing looks like?

If you’re not using a full-funnel inbound strategy, you’re doing it wrong

Schematic - Switch Box

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