15 Digital Content Mistakes That Can Hurt Your Brand

Just as content can help your brand, it can also hurt it.

Publishing false content can take many forms, but the end result is similar. At worst, it can seriously damage your brand. At best, your content will be ignored.

I’ve rounded up most of the biggest doubts when it comes to content that does more harm than good, so you can avoid them and only create content that actually helps your brand.

1. Too much advertising content

Ever stuck in a conversation with a mass brawler? Yawn.

People who keep talking about how great they are quickly become boring – for brands too. After all, your relationship with your customers should be about them, not about you. If you ignore their needs, they will assume you have nothing for them and go elsewhere.

The 80/20 rules have been cited as effective social media content ratio . Focus 80% of your posts on informing and entertaining your followers, while only 20% should be about your business. Similarly, the five-three-two rule speaks for every 23 personifications of your brand.

But are these rules still true? In general, yes. While rates can vary, always put your audience first when choosing what to publish.

Always put your audience first when choosing what to publish, says @IrwinHau via @CMIContent. #ContentMarketing Click to post a Tweet TIP: Not sure if your brand is dominating the conversation? Review your posts for the past month and determine how many are related to what’s important to your brand and how much to what’s important to your audience. (Some may refer to both.) If the number for your brand is higher than for your audience, you’re talking too much about the brand.

2. Email flooding

Let’s look at two statistics about eye-opening ability this : 76% of customers expect a consistent brand interaction regardless of department. However, only 54% said it appeared that the sales, service and marketing teams were kept private and did not share information.

That disconnect usually shows up in the customer’s inbox. For example, a promotional email is sent. Within minutes, a newsletter will show up in the inbox, then two hours with a request for a response from customer service.

That disjointed distribution can frustrate your audience with the disparate numbers and connections in your brand’s communications. They have the ability cancel registration from all your brand emails – even ones where they have found some value.

Work on silos to coordinate your email reach with your audience. If that’s not possible, update your “unsubscribe” form to give them a choice about what they want to receive (and not receive.)

Work on silos to coordinate #email outreach with your audience so you don’t flood them, says @IrwinHau via @CMIContent. #ContentMarketing Click to Tweet


3 . Content is too negative

Doomscrolling is one thing, but it shouldn’t be something your brand relies on. In spite of negative content shared than positive content, the publisher of that negative content is not necessarily rated higher.

I don’t see talking about customer pain points the same as negative content. If you come up with a solution, that’s good marketing. But if you start and end on a negative note, your brand is just a loser.

RELATED CONTENT TO BE HAND-VIEWED: Discover the secret to successful content creation

4. Talk about controversial topics

Since the 1800s, some form of saying, “ Never discuss politics or religion in a polite company , “was circled around. And the same is true for brands when speaking to their audience.

Only include highly polarizing and emotional themes if they are part of your brand mission and business approach. If so, do so with consideration and research.

5. Bad Text and Design

If your words are not grammatically correct, your message will not sound right and may not even be understood. The same goes for your poor content design. Good writing and design have the power to build your brand personality, weave stories, and inspire.

6. Inconsistent voice

Along with bad copy and bad design, content seems to have Personality crisis Another big change.

# Content seems @IrwinHau via @CMIContent said, having a personality crisis is another big turning point. #ContentMarketing Click to Tweet One minute, your brand posts a cat meme related to your topic. The next post is a passage of deep thought. You end up with a bewildered audience that doesn’t know what your brand voice is.

Always keep the brand voice and style when you create and publish content.

RELATED CONTENT TO BE HAND-VIEWED: 5 steps to find your brand voice

7. Boring subject lines

Sixty-four percent say they decide to open an email based on subject lines, according to a 2021 Survey of Variance . And still, subject lines like “read to me” or “check this out” are a dozen. While they can directly invite someone to open the email, they’re not actually talking to the recipient. They also don’t help the reader understand what they might get if they open it.

Create compelling subject lines and personalize them whenever possible.

#8. The same content on all platforms

A lot of brands cross-distribute the same content across all of their social media channels. But that viable time-saving technique can have a negative impact because the platforms are not interchangeable.

Each social platform has a distinct style, tone, and format. They also appeal to different demographics. LinkedIn Professional, text-heavy and formal. Instagram heavy on pictures and images, while Twitter great for small sized information and images.

As you create content, think about your platform and your audience on that platform and tailor your content accordingly. If you don’t, it will feel out of place and your audience won’t respond easily.

Think about your platform and audience and tailor your #content accordingly, @IrwinHau said via @CMIContent. #Social media Click to Tweet

9. Content is not recognized

Using someone else’s content and turning it into your own is not a good idea. The same is true when incorporating images, quotes, videos, survey results, and not properly attribution.

If you wish to republish or cite substantial content, obtain permission and credit accordingly. If you do not receive consent, find an alternative source. If you use information from others the source in your content, cite and link to the original source.

10. Content stuffed with hash tags

Locational hashtags: They help people find your content and join the conversation. But add too much, and you look a little desperate. Too many hashtags can also make content hard to read and reduce the impact of the most relevant tags.

Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per post, but it is recommended to use only three to five for best results . While Twitter allows as many hashtags to match it as 280 characters, it recommends no more than two is the best way. That’s another reason to tailor your content to each platform, not to automatically cross-publish.

11. User-generated content has not been rated yet

When you share user-generated content indiscriminately, you can get in trouble. It may include inaccurate claims, images or content that are not theirs to share, or come from someone who openly doesn’t align with your brand’s voice and mission.

To minimize the risk, make sure your brand does a bit of research before they share content on your channels. Review the creator’s profile, double-check any facts cited in the content, etc.

12. Writing doesn’t reflect your sound nce

You can create content about themes relevant to your audience, but you won’t reach your target audience if you don’t write to that audience.

For example, writing about a topic for the general public to understand would not be appropriate if your target audience is already familiar with the topic. As you create, ask: Is this content relevant to my audience? Will they find value in the information? What reading level should I be targeting?

13. Outdated or baseless documentation

You publish factual content, but what if the truth changes over time? What if newly learned information makes your old content obsolete? When in doubt? Remove potentially outdated content. Erase Page. Or, if the page has a good search ranking, page update to reflect the most accurate or recent information.

Old or new, avoid claiming something is true unless you have proof. Otherwise, you could face legal trouble or at least your audience will find your content less trustworthy.

14. Non-Eating Content

Misleading your content to get Google search rankings is not a good omen. Gone are the days of keyword stuffing and publishing content just hoping to rank higher. Google focuses on content that their users find valuable.

That’s why Google has adopted EAT principles – expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. Although you can update about Latest SEO rules, tips and tricks the most important thing to keep in mind when searching, your brand and your audience is EAT content.

15. Catching up on trends that aren’t on the brand

Hoping for viral content can be a great way to generate traffic. However, if what you’re posting doesn’t align with your brand with the rest of your content, it will confuse your audience and create little brand equity.

If you’re unsure about whether something aligns with your company’s brand, get a second opinion from a non-marketer in the organization. They will have both external and internal perspectives, so they can point out inconsistencies or confusion between departments.

Help your brand

We all wish this came true, but everyone has seen examples of each of the types of bad content mentioned above at least once in their internet life. Now that you know what types of content harm your brand, make sure you avoid these common mistakes when creating sections for your own company blog or social media page.

Want more content marketing tips, insights, and examples? Ordered to email business days or weekly from CMI.

Cover photo by Joseph Kalinowski / Content Marketing Institute


By Nguyen Manh Cuong

Nguyen Manh Cuong is the author and founder of the nguyendiep blog. With over 14 years of experience in Online Marketing, he now runs a number of successful websites, and occasionally shares his experience & knowledge on this blog.

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