We post an overwhelming amount of content online every day. Each month, people read over 23 billion blog posts on WordPress.
Certainly, that’s not enough, so we also upload 18,000 hours of video to YouTube every minute!
For brands to be seen and heard, they often resort to releasing content intended to grab people’s attention. There’s a reason brands still release controversial content: It gets people talking. Content marketers want to create binge-worthy experiences that keep their audience engaged and coming back for more, yet many fall into the trap of releasing content that comes back to haunt them.
With such high competition, there is little to gain by playing it safe, but there is always great risk involved with publishing this type of content. If you want to avoid an image-damaging fiasco, there are several key practices your marketing team must consider before they release a potentially controversial piece of content.
1. View the Message from All Angles
The first step your team must take is to assess your audience and anticipate their reactions. This requires your marketing team to take a good, hard look at the target audience and beyond.
One factor that sets successful marketing teams apart is that they conduct in-depth audience research on a regular basis to ensure they understand who they are marketing to. Missing the mark on your audience’s reaction can completely negate any positive messaging intended by your brand.
Take Pepsi’s infamous commercial with Kendall Jenner as an example. They wanted to show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement but ended up offending their audience simply because they failed to look at the message from various angles. This simple audience oversight caused quite a stir that could have been avoided if the marketing team had thoroughly reviewed the message from the standpoint of various audience segments. Now, the ad is the butt of all kinds of jokes and memes across the web.
Sure, it’s nearly impossible to create content without offending someone these days. Make sure your team takes the time to break down each message and the potential ripple effect. They need to be overly critical in identifying any red flags that could spark backlash.
2. Back Claims With Credible Data
If your business is going to make claims of any sort, they must be verifiable and accurate. Rattling off numbers and statistics without citing the source is a surefire way to eliminate any credibility. Audiences nowadays are quite skeptical of brand messaging.
According to a McCann survey, 42 percent of Americans find businesses untrustworthy, since so many make huge claims that they cannot back up. Considering the obviously fraudulent claims that many advertisers make, it is not surprising that so…