Looking to attract new brand audiences? Steer clear of these major missteps.

When it comes to brand publishing, it takes the right mix of instinct, analytics, and compelling content to attract new consumers to your brand — and keep them coming back for more.

And while we spend a lot of time discussing what you should do to make your brand’s content the best it can be, there are a few behaviors you should steer clear of. We’ve compiled the 7 major no-nos for brands playing the content game.

deadly sins

1. Pride


You know your brand is great. But nobody likes that friend who insists on discussing his own accomplishments ad nauseam — so take it easy on the self-promotion. That means talking about things other than your brand. If your focus is too narrow (ahem, narcissistic), you’ll alienate a sizeable audience that might otherwise be interested in your product.

Another form of pride? Trusting your gut over data. If something you love just isn’t working, you know what they say: kill your darlings.

How to atone: If you want an audience, you need to connect with readers. That process starts by listening to their interests and crafting content according to those preferences.

2. Envy


Competition is healthy, but hating on a competitor only makes your brand look bad.
If you’re always chasing a competitor, you’ll always be behind.

How to atone: Understand YOUR audience and create content they want! Talk to them. Research them. Find out what they like best about your brand, test different content types and formats, and see what works.

3. Gluttony


There is absolutely a time and place for long-form content. But don’t add word count for the sake of taking up more of your readers’ time. Be respectful of your reader and avoid adding extra words, tangents, and anecdotes that aren’t pertinent to the topic at hand.

How to atone: Edit, edit, edit! Edit yourself. Write without bullshit.

4. Lust


Sex sells. Or does it? Avoid overly sexualized or sexist images and language, and don’t go for the easy, gratuitously sexy interpretation. Half of your customers (or more) might be women!

How to atone: Be sensitive to the background and experiences of all of your customers. Even if the moral high ground doesn’t appeal to you (concerning), remember that women have major buying power, and your brand would do well not to alienate 52% of the population.

5. Anger


We all need a healthy vent session once in awhile. But isn’t there already enough anger in the world today? It’s true that a venomous tirade might entice readers to click and comment, but it certainly isn’t the basis for a healthy, long-term relationship with your readership.

How to atone: If your goal is increased sales, try to attract readers with a positive message that will in turn be associated with positive brand impressions. Be helpful, friendly, and save the rant for happy hour with your friends.

6. Greed


Greed comes in the form of overly-promotional content. Don’t create blatantly sales-y content with the intent of fooling people into reading (hello, clickbait!) and coercing them into the sales funnel. Give your readers some credit — no one is fooled!

How to atone: Dial down the heavy-handed pitch and lay off the sensationalized language that too often accompanies it.

7. Sloth


Sloppy edits? Half-hearted proofreads? Generally deteriorating editorial standards? In today’s fast-paced digital landscape, we’ve all been guilty of clicking publish a few minutes too soon. Even if you’ve checked these boxes, publishers often skip the most important step of all: optimizing content for findability.

How to atone: Each of these steps in the publishing process is essential. You need writers who proofread their work, editors who adhere to consistent editorial guidelines, and SEO experts who use keywords to enhance each article. Don’t give in to the temptation to slack off at any point in the process — you’ll regret it, and your content will suffer as a result.

Longneck and Thunderfoot offer brand publishing services and strategies to transform your company blog into a sophisticated trade publication that drives visibility and influence in your market. Learn more about brand publishing here.

Author Grace Stearns

A graduate of Pepperdine University, Grace has worked in PR and brand communications at publishing giants like Condé Nast, Hearst Magazines Digital Media, and Simon & Schuster. She writes about content marketing, social media, and technology for L&T's blog. A reluctant West Coast transplant, Grace lives in Brooklyn and spends a majority of her free time curled up with a good book.

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