Posting just to post can be offensive.

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Content is king. Any person in the world of marketing knows this to be true. There is mounting pressure to create content, consistently. These words and pictures must be frequently churned out, resonate with the target audience, uphold brand values, and entice the viewer to engage with the post. This is some serious pressure for the content creator. 

In an effort to make the task less daunting, many companies develop content calendars that outline topics to be shared publicly. This is an effective way to manage the process. However, sometimes businesses get desperate and fill their calendars with national day posts that don’t tie with their brand or connect with their audiences. This can result in embarrassment and puts the brand at risk. Here’s an example of a company using a national day simply to generate content. Read a Book Day has no real tie to this product or brand.

 

 

Marketers should have standard questions to evaluate each piece of content before deploying it. Here is a good starting point:

Does this content reflect the brand, company or core values?

Will this content strengthen the connection with our target market?

Could this content be potentially offensive to others or misinterpreted in any way?

Do I fully understand the topic I’m writing about? IF NOT… ask an expert!

Answering these questions can help determine if the communication is appropriate and prevent some social media fails. What’s worse for brands is when they publish content around a calendar date that is important or sensitive to a specific group of people, and their copy is not appropriate.

These situations can alienate audiences and cause a firestorm of negative comments.

The post below wishes the viewer a Happy National Purple Heart Day. Hmmm…. Is happy the best word here? Probably not. Furthermore, there is no sincere comment showing gratitude for the men and women that have sacrificed for their country. In a situation like this, it’s best to ask an expert for proper wording suggestions or not post at all.

As a patriot, I often create or share content about veterans. I do this because I’m proud to support the military and raise awareness about sacrifice and service. My intentions come from a place of good. However, I was stopped in my tracks when I read a blog post from a military spouse about sharing content with images of service members or their families.

She simply encouraged people to think about the impact of sharing the image or soldier’s tale. Think about the others tied to that story. Do those words describe heartbreak or heroism? Does that image show sadness or strength? Publicly repurposing other’s information may have a negative effect on those who were directly impacted by the events. While I always thought I was doing the right thing by sharing these stories, I hadn’t thought of the other perspective. These comments were very eye-opening, to say the least. 

So, when it comes to potentially sensitive topics, add one more question to the list before hitting publish. 

How would you feel if that image of your loved one or their personal story was spread across social media? 

With Veterans Day approaching, I encourage marketers and content creators to choose their images and words carefully. 

Better yet, interact with veterans, hear their stories and thank them in person. It will be far more fulfilling than a social media post.