If you follow popular marketing blogs, you’ve read a lot of content about, well, content.
You’ve seen tons of top digital marketing experts extolling the virtues of content marketing.
You’ve seen case studies that show how this approach can work wonders for all kinds of businesses.
“Content is king” was repeated so much over the last two or three years, that it’s already long since worn itself out and rolled over from “pithy” to “trite.”
But what you don’t see a lot of, is content about when content marketing doesn’t work.
After all, most of the content on the web about digital marketing has some kind of underlying commercial intent.
In a roundabout way, someone is trying to sell you something.
And talking about failures? Well, it makes since why someone would be a little hesitant to do that.
But in a recent blog post from Moz, Kerry Jones of marketing agency Fractl explains a few past content and link building efforts that actually didn’t work out.
Based on her experiences, she’s pinpointed a few key mistakes that Fractl has made in the past.
Here are some of her biggest lessons learned.
Be realistic about newsjacking.
Newsjacking content needs to go live within 24 to 48 hours of the news event to be timely. Can you really produce something in time to newsjack?
We’ve found newsjacking is hard to pull off in an agency setting since you have to account for production timelines and getting client feedback and approval. In-house brands have a more feasible shot at newsjacking if they don’t have to worry about a long internal approval process.
Watch out for shiny new tools and content formats.
Just because you are using cool, new technology doesn’t automatically make the content interesting. We’ve gotten caught up in the “cool factor” of the format or method only to end up with boring (but pretty) content.
Avoid super niche topics.
You greatly increase your risk of no return when you go super niche. The more you drill down a topic, the smaller your potential audience becomes (and potential sites that will link become fewer, too).
There are a ton of people interested in music, there are fewer people interested in rap music, there are even fewer people interested in folk rap music, and finally, there are so few people interested in ’90s folk rap. Creating content around ’90s folk rap will probably yield few to no links.
Don’t make content on a topic you can’t be credible in.
When we produced a hard-hitting project about murder in the U.S. for a gambling client, the publishers we pitched didn’t take it seriously because the client wasn’t an authority on the subject.
From that point on, we stuck to creating more light-hearted content around gambling, partying, and entertainment, which is highly relevant to our client and goes over extremely well with publishers.
It’s OK to create content that is tangentially related to your brand (we do this very often), but the connection between the content topic and your industry should be obvious.
Don’t leave publishers wondering, why is this company making this content?”
You can find more informative case studies about failed content marketing efforts over at Moz.