When content marketing goes wrong

It has been dubbed the year of content marketing. Wherever you look, brands are slowly developing their own media empires, complete with social media followings to rival anyone with the last name Kardashian.

Many brands have been wildly successful in executing content marketing campaigns; think Red Bull and Mitre 10’s effort on the Channel Nine series, The Block. However, the risk remains that bombarding customers with inconsistent or non-engaging content, simply for the sake of maintaining a social media presence, can do more harm than good.

According to strategy consultant Sam Tucker, LinkedIn offers prime examples of companies producing too much content. “There are some companies, I won’t name names, that are posting the same content in multiple groups up to three or four times a day,” he says. “It’s just a saturation of information and you think, this is becoming annoying, and you switch off.”

Bombarding social media with content is a surefire way to put consumers off completely, leading customers to the dreaded ‘un-follow’ or ‘de-friend’ of the brand.

The Content Marketing Institute has found that LinkedIn and Facebook are the two most used social media platforms used in Australia to distribute marketing content – which leaves a lot of room for the platforms to be misused, and that can become detrimental to a company’s brand.

And it’s not just the frequency of posts that can let companies down; it’s no surprise that the content has to be strong, too.

Finding the balance between producing content that consumers want and trying to get your message out there is proving to be tough for some businesses.

As Samantha Smith, managing director of Pinnacle Communications explains, “one of the biggest mistakes being made when it comes to content marketing is creating content that you want your audience to read, but not considering if they necessarily want or need to read it.”

“Just because you have a new press release ready to go doesn’t mean that your customers want to spend ten minutes of their day reading a blog on it and on you!”

A lack of consistency in maintaining what now seems to be an endless variety of social media options is another common misstep when creating content for a brand.

“It’s common for businesses to create a content marketing strategy across a wide range of channels and then struggle to be able to support it and/or quit a few months in,” Smith says.

So what separates the good content marketing from the bad?

According to Smith, “a successful campaign tends to result in informative, engaging, and highly sharable content.  And to get this outcome you need to have a clear understanding of your current and target audience’s likes, expectations and their appetite for engagement.”

London-based B2B marketing agency Velocity are also concerned about thoughtless content marketing campaigns and have put together a slideshow outlining the pitfalls and consequences, entitled simply, ‘Crap. The Content Marketing Deluge.’

The advice from Velocity is simple: “the content deluge is approaching, raise your game, build great brand content or prepare to get soaked.”

Rebecca Hagan
BY Rebecca Hagan ON 8 May 2013