5 Surefire Ways to Screw Up Your Content Marketing

Or how to make your content marketing smell like yesterday's fish.


by Peter Coish & Dave Robson

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So, maybe you don’t like writing killer content. Maybe you want to write terrible content. Well, here are five ways to screw up that carefully planned content marketing program.


We know, this is obvious. We all know that good content marketing looks like regular content—interesting, informative, entertaining. But it’s a mistake to mask the fact your content is sponsored – it’s a deception that rarely works.  So please say so up front – your readers will appreciate the honesty.

Don’t Copy Edit

Think copy editing is expensive? Well, how much would you pay to avoid this?  (BTW, just for fun we left a typo in this piece.)

Pretend to Be Genuine

Look, your average adult understands this equation: company X’s money (or free stuff) + blogger/”influencer” = blogger/”influencer” saying nice things about company X.  And there’s nothing wrong with that – there’s a legion of bloggers/”influencers” out there making a living doing just that. What is wrong—or more correctly, dumb—is when bloggers pretend to be satisfied customers of company X and just have to tell you about this great new product they’ve “found” (here’s a hilariously bad example of what we mean). Everyone sees through that angle. And not only does it discredit your brand, it gives content marketing (and blogger/”influencers”) a bad name.

Latch on to Viral Trends Too Late

Last July, some guy raised tens of thousands of dollars on Kickstarter for a potato salad. This hilarious piece of satire entertained the Internet for a couple of weeks. Then, in August, a bunch of companies tried to ride a wave of potato salad popularity with sponsored content in the form of recipes, parties at restaurants, and other crap nobody cared about because viral trends just don’t last that long.

Always Be Closing

In Glengarry Glenn Ross, Alec Baldwin’s character implored his team of sad sack salesmen to “always be closing”.  But unlike the Florida real estate game, that’s exactly the wrong thing to do in your content marketing.  If you insist on tarting ads up as content, don’t expect to get your audience engaged in it.  Think about it: when was the last time your shared an ad for a company? Right. So why do you think someone will share yours?  The best content sells over the long run. By providing timely, relevant, entertaining or useful content, you get the reader involved in your brand.  And just like good brand advertising, that will pay dividends over the long run.