Content marketing can devastate your business if you don't use it right. Even large, international brands have discovered this after making some incredible mistakes that, thanks to the internet, can never be fully undone. Here are three of the most important lessons a business owner can learn from some of the worst content marketing failures of all time.

Stay up to Date with the Latest Trends

Some of the worst content marketing failures of all time come about because companies don't stay in step with the times. DiGiorno make a devastating mistake when it attempted to tag some of its posts with the hashtag #WhyIStayed. While the hashtag is certainly appropriate for a company that wants to encourage people to stay home and eat pizza, it was already being used by those who wanted to explain why victims of domestic violence tend to stay with their abusers. Kenneth Cole made a similar mistake when it joked that the political uproar in Egypt was the direct result of the people wanting the company's new Spring Collection.

Staying abreast of the news and social media happenings isn't a waste of time. It could save your company a great deal of embarrassment.

Know What Your Clients Want (or Don't Want)

It is amazing how many businesses create content based on assumptions about what their clients want. Coca-Cola infamously did this when it created New Coke, only to discover that its customers didn't actually want a new product. Apple made this mistake several years ago when it automatically beamed free music onto its customers' devices without asking their customers if they wanted that music in the first place.

However, the mistake is also commonly made with content and not just products. For example, the city of Adelaide in Australia made the mistake of creating a new branding campaign without asking its citizens what they thought about it. Naturally, it would be impossible to please every single citizen of a large city; however, as Adelaide discovered, it is possible to anger the vast majority of them with a campaign they absolutely hate.

Never Assume You Can Stand Still

Carrefour has more than 12,000 stores in more than thirty countries; however, the odds are pretty high that many people around the world haven't heard of the company. The simple reason for this is that while other, similar stores launched content marketing campaigns and engaged in other forms of online advertising, Carrefour opted to rest on its laurels and rely solely on traditional forms of marketing. As a result, it quickly lost a great deal of value as customers pretty much forgot that it still existed.

Other Important Lessons to Take Note Of

  • Violence should never be used lightly, as Ogilvy India recently discovered. Joking about bucket lists is also a bad idea, especially if your company doesn't have a great track record for safety.
  • Make sure your photos match the content. Levi's made a classic mistake along these lines when it put out an ad stating that “hotness comes in all shapes and sizes” but then showcased an image featuring only slim women.
  • Don't offer what you can't give. Timothy's Coffee did this by offering coupons and free samples without stating that the offer was only until supplies ran out.

The Single Best Way to Avoid the Worst Content Marketing Failures

If you have been a business owner for any length of time, chances are you have discovered that it is impossible to be perfect. You will at some point make mistakes, offend customers and/or business partners and lose money. However, there is one good way to avoid the worst content marketing failures outlined above and that is to get professional help when creating content for your website.

Had the companies above gotten professional assistance instead of relying on their own judgment, chances are their content would have been in step with the times. A good content marketing firm would have recommended surveying clients in order to find out what they want and don't want. Content marketing companies also know that you can never stand still in the business world. Either you keep moving forward with your content marketing or you fall behind the competition.

If you need help with creating and promoting great content, look no further than Brandgy. The company offers content marketing plans in various price points to make it easy for you to pick the plan that best suits your needs and budget. What is more, all plans include not only appealing content but also promotional social media posts and appropriate images. Get in touch at your convenience to discover which services will enable you to reach your target audience in the best possible manner.