Tuesday, December 13, 2011

How to Protect Your Brand With Ethical Content Marketing

This weekend I was disappointed to see that TechCrunch included a "shock jock" article by a writer who I feel is a poor representation of entrepreneurs. I choose not to name her as I don't want to give her the added exposure. Although she has a right to her opinion, I don't understand why TechCrunch has partnered with her. I felt the article tarnished TechCrunch's usually spot-on solid reputation.

I enjoy reading TechCrunch's articles, but it makes me wonder what's happened to the editorial team at TechCrunch? Is TechCrunch THAT hard up for traffic? There are brilliant tech writers out there, and it makes me scratch my head as to why they passed over reputable tech experts for an annoying shock jock ranter (who is NOT a tech writer, by the way).

Yes, I know - shocking rants sell and brings in traffic by the boat load. But at what price? The article was sexist, biased and poorly researched. Is that the reputation TechCrunch wants? To be known as a site that publishes biased juvenile rants?

As an internet marketer, I understand that content marketing is a numbers game. But  I only had to scroll through the negative comments to see that not only was the writer being called on the carpet (by fellow entrepreneurs) for her poorly researched biased article, but TechCrunch was also named for their lack of poor judgement.

This article made me stop and ask myself the question: what's happened to ethical content marketing and why are reputable sites like TechCrunch publishing such drivel? It all goes back to online reputation - the kind of content you post on your site can have a negative, detrimental impact on your brand. And in this digital age when  we can push a button and tweet to our hundreds of thousands of followers and they can tweet to their followers, it only takes one tweet or post to do serious damage.

The TechCrunch articles also reminds me of the very reason why I opted out of Copyblogger. With all due respect to Brian Clark and his team, Copyblogger published an article by a non-copywriter who snubbed copywriters and the profession of copywriting. Ironically, Copyblogger's main target audience IS COPYWRITERS! It was offensive and I tweeted my displeasure with Copyblogger's lack of quality content (which is usually very good!) 

Word to the wise: Before you align your brand or your articles with an external website or blog, do your homework first! If you answer YES to the following questions,  then the website/content channel is probably an "ethical" content marketing match for your brand:

1. Do you resonate with the articles/content published on the site? Is it a good match for your industry and company brand? 

2. Do the writers portray themselves in a professional, respectful way via their content/articles?

3. Is the site well-respected and well-known by fellow colleagues and/or people in your industry?

4. Would you feel comfortable recommending this website as a "trusted" information source? Would you publish this link on your social media channels or pass along to colleagues, clients and friends?

5. Review the comments and feedback from their readers. Do the readers LIKE the articles (check out the social media "like" buttons)? Do writers receive positive comments and is free of "spam" comments? 

My mission in 2012 is to be proactive with my content marketing for Zenful Communications...and to continue to align myself with sites and writers/bloggers who resonate with my brand and my professional ethics. 



  1. Excellent. I attempt to align myself with people that I wouldn't be embarrassed to introduce to my mother. That's the compass I listen to. There are some people I have read (bloggers) that I wonder, "Do you talk to your mother with that mouth?" I have found that if I find a person I think might be interesting, to read about a dozen of their posts, tweets, etc. and I can figure out if I want them on MY blog.

  2. Karen, Thank you so much for your comment. I appreciate your feedback and I couldn't agree more! My mantra is: "If you wouldn't say that to your mother, then don't say it on your social media." It just blows me away what people post on their blogs and social media. Sometimes less is more.


Therese Pope, Copywriter/Content Developer & Digital Buzz-icist

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