When Content Goes Rogue

Is your content going rogue?

Do you know all the sites and social media accounts controlled by your brand or company? Who can access and update them? Who knows the passwords? How frequently is the content on each property being updated, and how do those updates conform to larger communications and brand strategies?

Or has this whole content thing mushroomed out of control, quite possibly behind your back?

A current project was supposed to have been delivered last week. It’s late (I hate late!) but it can’t be helped. Scope creep doesn’t begin to describe the situation when you thought you’d be auditing a small handful of web sites and social media properties, only to find one more. And one more.  Hang on, here’s another. The tally is up to 25 web sites, a plethora of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts, and one YouTube channel (the only number the client was right about). All for one non-profit organization.

Think this is unusual? Think again. In research conducted last year, my colleague Jeremiah Owyang found the average enterprise  class corporation (those with 1,000 or more employees) have an average 178 social media accounts (he didn’t look at web sites or microsite for the study).

Heck, it’s so easy to open accounts nowadays, anyone can do it. And do it they certainly do. Frequently, it’s with the best of intentions, not to mention a high degree of frustration with existing policies and procedures (“we launched it on WordPress so we wouldn’t have to wait in the IT queue for 18 months” was a refrain we heard multiple times when interviewing companies about how they organize for content marketing.

We heard this so frequently, in fact, we dubbed the trend “going rogue.” While anyone who’s ever been stuck in that IT queue can sympathize, going rogue does come with major downsides.

Inconsistency We’re all for creative license to a degree, but carefully crafted voice, tone, brand and other content governance guidelines tend to go out the window when content channels spill into unknown and unsupervised terrain. Inconsistency may, in fact, be a best-case scenario. Rogue content channels can easily result in full-on sanitation or crisis control initiatives if left unchecked.

Tactics Over Strategy Let’s launch a Facebook page! Why don’t we try using Pinterest? Enthusiasm for the latest and greatest social media channel, tempered with a healthy dose of bright shiny object syndrome leads to abrupt launches with not strategic foundation from a marketing perspective, no associated business goals, no measurement plan, editorial calendar. In short, nothing whatsoever that make a very pubic launch something that should be, at best, a sandbox experiment. New shouldn’t happen unless there’s a sound reason for it.

Digital Detritus A common result of shoot-from-the-hip tactics over strategy launch is digital detritus, the auto graveyard of the information superhighway. The Twitter account that’s been tweet-less for two years now. The site promoting the event that happens last July. The photo account with three shots on it. The Facebook page that was frequently updated the week it launched, then abandoned. Digital detritus makes organizations appear unplanned, unfocused, undedicated and uncaring. They should never, ever be your public face.

Lost Keys Julie from marketing quit last month, and now no one can get into that account she maintained. Worse, it’s prominently displaying content that’s outdated/inappropriate/inaccurate and no one can get in to fix it.

Please read the rest of this post on Marketing Land, where it originally published.

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