Being in the web design and marketing industry for decades provides you a unique insight into the mistakes that can be made – whether you’ve made them yourself or seen others do it. Despite the fact that learning from your own mistakes is often the most effective way to prevent making them in the future, learning from the mistakes of others is far less painful.
Let’s look at some of the common content marketing mistakes that even experts have made.
1. Too Many Marketing Pivots
Marketing is a world that moves quickly – and sometimes, that can get marketers into trouble. Whether it’s a compulsive need to rebrand the product at such a dizzying speed that the logo is hard to recognize without the brand name or constant voice, tone, and brand pivots, doing too much can turn off your already-loyal customers and fail to attract new ones.
An example: the Pepsi logo has changed drastically over the years, while Coca-Cola has mostly remained the same. (Except for its wild teenage years from 1890-1891, but we all have a bit of a rebellious streak sometimes, don’t we?)
2. Overpromising (and Underdelivering)
Giving away products, coaching opportunities, etc. is great. When people swoop it up and show they’re interested, it’s wonderful. Unless, of course, you run out. You know what they say: hell hath no fury like a customer underdelivered to… or something like that.
From Peloton to Taco Bell, it seems that no brands are immune from overpromising. Many of these companies found that their well-intended promotions led to a decrease in customer satisfaction and necessitated a lot of extra PR for damage control.
3. Being Inconsistent with Content
SEO and posting on social media are two of the most effective ways to increase organic traffic to your website – but knowing that and practicing what you preach are not synonymous. Marketing experts are sometimes the most guilty of creating inconsistent content for themselves… usually because they’re so busy doing it for their own boss (and clients) that they’re too tired to do it for themselves.
SEO takes at least four months to work, but expect it to take six months and you’ll be pleasantly surprised if you start seeing results in four. If you’re not posting consistently, it’ll probably take even longer. Don’t forget – consistent content keeps you top-of-mind!
4. Losing Sight of Your Brand
Reality check: your brand is more than what you say or think it is. Your brand lives in the minds of your customers. If you lose sight of your brand (or suddenly decide it’s not what it’s always been), be prepared to alienate your loyal customers.
The most prominent (recent) example of losing sight of your brand started with a marketing VP with a misguided plan to appeal to a client base that’s drastically different from their previous client base.
Sometimes, you won’t resonate with your client base anymore. You grow and so do they – and you may grow apart. But if that’s the case, you should rebrand and remarket yourself as an entirely different brand so it’s clear that you’re going a different direction.
5. Not Staying on the Cutting Edge
Similar to content consistency woes, marketers are sometimes guilty of not staying on the cutting edge. It’s easy to get so bogged down with marketing tasks that you don’t take time to learn the latest marketing news, hone and refine your skills, focus on other ways to generate leads, update your web design, or improve your customer funnel.
It’s vital to focus on these things, though, because they are a direct reflection of your abilities as a content marketer. It’s the marketing version of a hair stylist whose hair is always a mess, or a roofer whose own roof is in disrepair. Your own assets are an indication of the effort you’ll put into your client work.
6. Content Marketing Gone Wrong
There are horror stories about people who tried to use trending hashtags (either without an awareness of their meaning or an utter insensitivity), only to receive backlash from clients. Of course, there are plenty of email marketing fails as well, and those weren’t received any better!
7. Misunderstanding Cultural Differences
There are some things you don’t do in certain circumstances. You don’t tug on Superman’s cape, you don’t spit in the wind. You don’t pull the mask off the Lone Ranger, and you don’t mess around with Jim.
Here are a few more culture-oriented things to add to the list:
- You don’t use images of Native Americans with purple body paint because of its association with animals and death.
- You don’t use red as a negative color in Asian cultures – it’s considered lucky in most Eastern countries.
- You don’t show an image (or create a graphic) of vertical chopsticks in a bowl in Asian countries, as that is also associated with death.
- You don’t make a cluttered app in the West, and you don’t make a simple app in the East.
Not only that, but it’s also important to be aware of the language of current affairs and create content in the appropriate language. Here are some examples of current conversations around marketing and branding gone wrong:
- Bud Light received backlash after working with an influencer who is trans, which many previous Bud Light drinkers felt was not in line with the brand. It cost the company millions in sales.
- M&M’s found themselves in the middle of a cultural conversation about gender after replacing some of their spokescandies shoes. They replaced the green M&M’s heels with flats and the brown M&M’s stilettos with a shorter heel, sparking an uproar online about whether they were trying to make these M&M’s appear androgynous when they previously appeared as feminine.
Outsource Your Marketing to an Expert!
Content marketing isn’t easy – that’s why most companies have full marketing teams full of specialists to carry the burden of managing the marketing efforts for multiple accounts. Most small-to-medium sized businesses can’t afford to hire a full-time team, so what do you do?
Thankfully, that’s what we’re here for. At Matcha Design, we have decades of marketing experience and are happy to take care of your content marketing needs. Contact us today to learn more!