7 Content Reputation Problems – as Explained by a Clevelander

As you might have figured out by now, I’m from Cleveland and I’m proud of it. I can’t claim this is the greatest city in the world, and it certainly has its problems, but it suffers from an unduly poor reputation, and it can’t quite shake it off.

What does this have to do with content marketing? Well, to be a successful content marketer, you can’t just slam your fingers on a keyboard and hope for the best. You have to actively build and manage a reputation in your industry, and if you suffer enough blows to that reputation (or fail to build one in the first place), you’ll never be able to fully recover.

Today I’m going to explain seven major reputation problems a content marketer can face, alongside analogous reputation problems faced by Cleveland.

  1. You don’t invest in yourself. First off, if you don’t invest time and/or money into your content strategy, you can forget about building a good reputation. You’ll look like you aren’t taking things seriously, and your material will be downright weak. Consider Cleveland’s reputation for being poor or impoverished—it hasn’t typically invested in its infrastructure or in innovative city improvements that would make it a better place to live. The idea is that it doesn’t invest in itself, so why would anyone else invest in it? (Personally, I think this is untrue of Cleveland—take a look at the Shoreway, parks, and city upkeep improvements in the past few years).
  2. Your content is inaccurate, misleading, or unreliable. If someone reads your content and encounters a few sketchy “facts,” they aren’t going to stick around to read more. The East Side of Cleveland has a similar “sketchy” reputation; all it takes is a handful of instances to instantly drive people away.
  3. Your content has performance issues. This is kind of a self-perpetuating problem; if your content isn’t getting shared or noticed, people aren’t going to pay much attention to it. You have to give it a jumpstart if you want to succeed. Cleveland’s sports teams are notorious at underperforming, and the shrinking fan base illustrates that.
  4. You made an egregious or offensive post. Be careful what you publish online—a miswording or inaccurate claim here and there won’t kill you, but a truly offensive or egregious post can ruin you. The Cuyahoga River set fire one time in the 70s, and people still associate the incident with Cleveland having a pollution problem 40 years later.
  5. Your material is inconsistent or has gone downhill. You have to keep the quality of your posts high—never sacrifice it to churn out more posts. Cleveland was once a productive, envied manufacturing hub. Now that it’s lost that raw revenue potential, it seems in far worse shape than if it had started with nothing at all. (We have newer industries on the rise now).
  6. You just aren’t as good as your competitors. It doesn’t matter how good your content is if you can never step out of the shadow of your competitors. If a competing site consistently publishes stronger material than you do, people are going to go with the competitor. Cleveland, as a “big city” in the Midwest, doesn’t have the glamour, size, density, or attractions that Chicago has, so we’re always the butt of the comparison.
  7. Your content is simply uninteresting. It’s actually better to have controversial or polarizing content than it is to have boring, vanilla content. If people think you’re boring, they’ll never read what you have to write. Somehow Cleveland’s made a name for itself as being a boring city—probably stemming from Ohio’s reputation as being a boring state. This reputation surprises me most of all, since our food scene, neighborhoods, suburbs, venues, and parks are anything but boring.

There you have it—who would know these content reputation problems better than a Cleveland content marketer? If your content reputation is in the gutter, or if you haven’t started to build one yet, reach out to me—we’ll work out a way for you to start recovering.

photo credit: Bear in Heaven (8/1/12) via photopin (license)

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