38 experts share the worst advice in content marketing

This is the graduation season, the time of year when advice abounds. But let's be honest, any advice given to new graduates, new employees or even seasoned professionals is worth the trouble.

We asked the experts at Content Marketing World 2019 to share the worst content marketing tips they received or heard. They had a lot to say. The thoughts they share form a do-it-yourself guide that covers everything from strategy to SEO to quantity and quality.

Do it simply

Something is better than nothing. This belief is detrimental to businesses. As soon as you hear yourself say "it'll be okay" or "just say this is sent", you have problems. Post something mean, that it's an email, a social publication or a blog will just deter people from wanting to read your content in a cycle depreciation. – Andrew Pickering and Peter Gartland, founders, Andrew and Pete

Do not Write It

You do not need to create a content marketing strategy. Our President (Vice President of Business Development) has this in mind. He / she tells us who to target and what to write. – Achinta Mitra, President of Tiecas Inc.

Bad advice #contentmarketing: We do not need strategy. Our exec tells us what to do. @Achintamitra #CMWorld Click to Tweet

Make up as you go along

Get started and solve the problem as you go. I can not think of another strategic business discipline where people are so comfortable with a simple approach. This is the fastest way to spend money without return – and a great way to discourage your marketing staff too. – Sarah Mitchell, Founder, Typeset

Give them a taste first

"Let's just test it." "We're looking for an appetite." "We just have to prove it works. Let's just leave something there. "I dread phrases like these. Unless the brand has a clear reason to create content, it will not stick, no matter how much glue you use. – Ahava Leibtag, President of the Aha Media Group

Unless the brand has a clear reason for creating content, it will not stick, says @ahaval. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

Create it now

Create content before getting enough information about the buyers' wishes. – George Stenitzer, Founder and Content Manager, Crystal Clear Communications

Writing and Distributing the First

My pet peeve is when people are told to start with their tactics and their channels. How to know how and where before to know who and what? – Michael Weiss, Vice President, Creative Circle

Bad advice #contentmarketing: start with tactics and channels. @mikepweiss #CMWorld Click to Tweet

Opt for clicks

Getting the click is enough. The content should result in a specific behavior change after the click. This is the real goal. – Tamsen Webster, Founder and Chief Strategist of Messages, Find the Red Thread

Sell, sell, sell

Nothing brings me more than open, sales-oriented advertising that positions itself as content marketing. I know that sales are often the end goal, but content marketing has to be as unobtrusive and as sweet as possible if there is an attempt to sell. – Amanda Changuris, Marketing Manager of Social Networks, AAA – The Automobile Club Group

#Content marketing must use a light touch and a sweet sell, if there is an attempt to sell at all. @AmandaChanguris Click to Tweet

Fill the funnel

When you reduce content marketing to only workers through the sales funnel, you lose a great opportunity to build a real relationship. Marketers who think that content is a revenue issue do not work one day in the shoes of their customers. It is a question of helping first, then the sale will take place. – Carla Johnson, speaker, author, storyteller

Choose only the queue on demand

Content marketing is simply a matter of demand generation. It's of course fantastic for that. But limiting content to this swim lane, is missing a huge opportunity: content for branding, positioning and the audience. Of course, pour some great content into the revenue machine. But save a budget for great things: Celebrate your beliefs. Demonstrate your values. Walk your speech. – Doug Kessler, co-founder of Velocity Partners

Do not think of selling

Content marketing is not about selling. Oh yes that's it. It's about selling useful ideas that naturally lead people to look for ways to solve their problems with what your product is gaining in value (business results) that was not achievable before. – Ardath Albee, General Manager and B2B Marketing Strategist, Marketing Interactions Inc.

Bad advice #contentmarketing: There is no question of selling, says @ ardath421. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

Treat the content as ads

Content marketing can be measured in the same way as advertising. This can be measured, but not in the same way as advertising. Just as you do not measure sprints and marathons in the same way, you have to consider that content marketing is a long game that has a more lasting effect. – A. Lee Judge, co-founder and director of marketing, Content Monsta

Show the perfection

I've already heard someone say that every piece of content that a brand has to broadcast should be perfect, like an advertisement. Know what people like to ignore? – Adam Ritchie, Director, Adam Ritchie Brand Management

Think of marketing first

Think of content marketing as marketing rather than content. It's always good at first if you want to do something that will resonate. In a race to stand out from the crowd, marketers are often told to adopt specific storytelling tactics before developing the story. This will lead to weak executions. Determine the story first, then develop the best way to tell it. – Annie Granatstein, head of WP BrandStudio, The Washington Post

Determine the story first, then develop the best way to tell this story, says @anniegranat. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

Follow the crowd

General statements about the strategy, topics, format, duration, etc. that all marketers should follow. The fact that some people – or even many of them – are successful with account-based marketing, video, or (insert a hot trend) does not mean that it suits your professional challenge, your audience, etc. – Carmen Hill, Executive Director Strategist and Writer, CHILL Content

Do like the other monkey

Pursue a strategy or tactic because another brand had been successful. Do you know what they say about mutual funds? "Past performance does not prejudge future results." Be different. And determine what works from these different things. – Dennis Shiao, Consultant, Dennis Shiao Consulting

Bad advice #contentmarketing: pursue a strategy because it worked for another brand, says @dshiao. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

Stay in the comfort zone

"If it's not broken, do not fix it" may be good advice, but if you follow it for too long, it may mean that you are creating addictive, boring content. Sometimes you need to step out of your comfort zone and break the mold of your content to refresh the connection of your audience. – Erika Heald, Marketing Consultant, Erika Heald Consulting

Do what the data say

To have a blind mentality of "data is everything". Is it even the right data? Ask better questions to make sure what you are watching is meaningful. And let's find the big human stories IN the data. They are here and it is our job to tell them creatively. Customers never shared an excellent video marketing with the header "Hey man, check this fascinating data on the emotional level!". You are in the storytelling business – the data is only part of the way we get there. – Kathy Klotz-Guest, Founder, Keeping the Human Body

Take the easiest route

Focus on the "fruit at hand" first. Everyone can tackle easy things. If you want to position yourself or your business as an opinion leader, you need to stream content that helps your customers solve problems that no one else can help them solve. It is not easy. It is not a fruit at hand. – Courtney Cox Wakefield, Group Leader, Digital Marketing, Child Health

Bad advice #contentmarketing: focus on the fruits at your fingertips, says @courtewakefield. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

Take it

Focus on the content that can be roasted. For a long time, these tips have resulted in a deadly form of reductionism that has prevented many content marketers from mastering the long form, which has implications for mastering the relationship of integration between short form content and long and to understand impact content. – Carlos Abler, Head of Content Marketing Strategy, 3M

Choose a format

Concentrate all your energy on a form of content (mainly video). Dedicating energy to different forms of content keeps your content up-to-date and across multiple platforms that different audiences can find you. – Jason Schemmel, Twitch Streamer and Digital Marketing Specialist, GSDChat

Creating Content in Motion

More video. Basically, it's the suggestion to make a tactic because it's a trend without a planning strategy around the content. The first tactical council is short-sighted. Planning a content strategy tailored to business goals, customer journey and buyer contacts will produce content that is much more likely to increase engagement and revenue. And yes, video can be part of the content strategy. – Pamela Muldoon, content and campaign strategist, Pedowitz Group

The first tactical council is short-sighted. You need to plan the strategy around the content, says @pamelamuldoon. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

Optimizing for SEO

Spend a lot of time writing blogs optimized for SEO. If you write good content relevant to your brand and your news, you will naturally start to rank higher in Google search. – Griffin Thall, CEO and co-founder of PuraVida Bracelets

If you write a good # content, you will naturally start to rank higher in Google Search. @puravidabrac #CMWorld Click to Tweet


You must target x number of keywords per page. – Wil Reynolds, founder of Seer Interactive

Basic Keywords on Available Data Sources

Tips I often hear about research by subject / keyword. The troubling advice involves relying on data sources that use paid advertising data, inaccurate organic search volume metrics, and highly outdated / sampled static databases to guide content and editorial decisions. Starting with wrong metrics leads to inappropriate expectations and undifferentiated content. – Jeff Coyle, Co-founder and Director of Products, MarketMuse

Do not worry about keywords

SEO keywords do not matter. (This tip) stems from Google's technological breakthroughs with RankBrain, its machine learning algorithm. Google examines ideas and concepts on a page, not necessarily keywords. The reality is that keywords always count. If you do not have a relevant phrase on a website (which is not too competitive), you can not rank. – Mike Murray, President, Online Marketing Coach

Bad advice on #contentmarketing: SEA keywords do not matter, says @mikeonlinecoach. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

Doing everything

There is an omnipresent mentality that you have to be present on all channels and offer all types of tools. Not all companies will benefit from a podcast or a presence on Snapchat. Not all industries will appreciate e-books or SMS. Content marketing needs to match the needs and behaviors of your specific audience and potential customers. – Zontee Hou, Co-Director of the Council, Convince and Convert

Go wide

Post as much content as possible in as many different channels as possible. This is a recipe for disaster. – Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute

Bad advice #contentmarketing: Publish as much content as possible on as many channels as possible. @JoePulizzi #CMWorld Click to Tweet

Build it and they will come

Similar to the movie Field of Dreams, I asked someone to tell a friend that if you create good content, customers will come. This is just not true nowadays. You must be hyper focused on the distribution to the right people at the right time. – John Hall, co-founder of Calendar.com

Get more eyes

"It's all about eyeballs." More is not better. And this is not because someone clicked on your blog that this one is interested or qualified. Focus on the content for the right prospects, at the right time of their buying journey (even if this journey is just beginning). – Matt Heinz, President of Heinz Marketing Inc.

Decrease the amount of content displayed

Create less content. Do not create less, be more deliberate. – Christoph Trappe, Content Manager, Stamats Business Media

Bad advice #contentmarketing: create less content, says @ctrappe. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

Acting as a journalist

Content marketers often hear that they should think like journalists. We should not take these indications for cash. This is the heart of the matter for me: journalism is objective. Marketing is not. The ultimate goal of marketing is to create a change. Having an agenda is part of our skills. – Katie Martell, Communications Consultant, Boston Content

Hire Great Writers

Just hire someone who can write well. Content creators are not interchangeable and "excellent writing" does not automatically mean great content. Instead, associate your writers and their skills with the channels on which you publish. – Anna Hrach, Strategist, Convince and Convert

Bad Counseling #contentmarketing: Just hire someone who knows how to write well, says @Annabananahrach. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

Achieve the victory wins

Perception is reality. At a previous employer, I was discussing creating authentic content for our audience – suburban moms with 2.3 kids and SUVs. I said that to create authentic content for moms with young children, it should be written by moms with young children – and not by those who were currently writing it (students without children, old men, etc.). The reaction of a leader in Suite C was: "Perception is a reality. If the reader sees it as genuine, then it is authentic. – Scott Spjut, Assistant Vice President, Social and Digital Content, Fifth Third Bank

Make it legendary

Create epic content. Epic can generate viral sales, but sales are useful. And it's so much easier to be useful than epic. – Tom Martin, President of Converse Digital

Obtaining a Third Party

Podcasts for trademarks should be managed by third parties that use professional organizations to assemble their content. This is the worst advice I've seen. Podcasting is a personal medium – and you have a chance to really connect with your customers. It is best if someone in your company is the voice of your company. – Rob Walch, Vice President, Podcaster Relations, Libsyn

#P podcasting is a personal support and a great way to communicate with your customers, says @ podcast411. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

Hire a trainee

You can outsource content marketing to a student. – Ruth Carter, Genius of Evil, Carter Law Firm

Publish regularly

Consistency is everything. Consistency is very important, but it is only effective if the content is of high quality. Otherwise, you are constantly annoying your audience. – Michaela Alexis, lecturer, trainer and co-author of Think Video

Wrong # warning-marketing-content: Consistency is everything, says @mickalexis. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

What is the worst advice you have heard?

You have heard many of the mantras detailed above. Which irritates you the most? Are some of them really good tips? Do you have a worse piece of advice to share? Share in the comments.

Discover the expert advice of these experts and other experts during their presentations at Content Marketing World from September 2 to 6 in Cleveland, Ohio. Register and use the code CMIBLOG100 to save $ 100.

Cover image of Joseph Kalinowski / Content Marketing Institute

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