Are there any commercials that stick in your mind even though you can’t remember what the commercial was actually advertising? That’s a good example of a backfire. It doesn’t help much to create memorable content if the memory isn’t going to connect to your business.
Another factor in content backfires is when the intended response doesn’t happen. A video that was supposed to be funny offends, or something gets automatically published at a time of disaster and makes your business look clueless. Why does this stuff happen?
If you are using a content calendar, use it right. Content calendars are great ways to see the big picture of your planned content and make sure it integrates with your brand. It’s a good idea to have a style guide to all content, ensuring that any contributors are going to represent your business accurately.
The content calendar lays out the planned topics being covered. The content style guide defines the way your business wants to communicate the message. The way that message is communicated is part of your brand, whether you planned it or not.
Many businesses start to produce content in silos, isolated from other parts of the business and kind of random-looking from the outside. This happens because either there’s no content plan, or there’s poor participation in the plan. The scattered content being produced doesn’t have a consistent message, and it backfires.
Poor participation in content style backfires because it distracts or is not an accurate representation of your business. If one type of message is couched in casual slang and another is sophisticated industry jargon, which one is going to give a good idea of what your business offers? Will a casual-slang type visit your sophisticated industry-jargon site and feel like you lied?
Good planning and a unified approach to content will give a better chance of avoiding content that backfires. You can’t always prevent it from happening, but you can stay on top of what is going on so the damage is limited.