The content marketing world is enamored with the concept of “going viral” – and for good reason. After all, when you stop and think about article writing, there’s nothing more exciting than watching a blog post or social media message ignite the web and end up in the newsfeeds of millions of viewers across the globe. However, not every content campaign goes viral for the right reasons, or in the way that the originating brand imagined. With this in mind, let’s dig into what went wrong with some of the most embarrassing fails, both online and in the physical world, as well as what your brand needs to do to stay out of this far from ideal company.

The Not-So-Stellar Side of Viral Marketing

In terms of content marketing mishaps that are so bad you can’t look away, Stefanie Grieser of the Unbounce blog points out that there’s several different ways to enter this cringe-worthy digital territory. For instance, grammatical errors – like missing punctuation and misplaced apostrophes – are good for a few chuckles from your audience and passersby, in much the same way that a situational faux pas can also occur when your content ends up in unintentionally awkward digital and physical locations.

Unfortunately, this problem is only exacerbated by the rise of social media and the fact that once these users get their hands on your failed content, there’s no taking it back. Don’t believe this? Just take a look at this potentially racist tweet that was sent out by a marketing manager on behalf of Home Depot. As content and social marketing expert Jeff Zelaya notes on his personal blog, even if the intention wasn’t there, it didn’t take long for digital viewers to turn this post into a viral hit that made one of the biggest home goods retailers in North America into an online laughingstock.

What Went Wrong?

At the end of the day, almost all of these examples can trace the root of the problem back to one basic issue – a lack of oversight or experience within the content marketing industry. It’s not that any of these brands wanted to end up as the butt of a joke that spreads like wildfire within an audience. However, a lack of time to take control of the details, or the inability to understand what goes into developing or enlisting quality content writing services and social management, doomed these branded campaigns before they ever made the first step away from the drawing board and toward a spot in front of the targeted audience.

Ensuring Your Brand Doesn’t End Up in the Content “Hall of Shame”

If this doesn’t sound like where you want to be with your content, it’s time to build an approach that undertakes the content marketing process from the right angle of attack. As Forbes magazine’s Greg Satell points out, the best way to protect your brand and get the most out of these offerings is by connecting with content writing services and experts that know just what the heck they’re doing on behalf of your organization.

From developing a strategy that turns your vision and mission statement into engaging and consumable content, to going over each selection with a strict editorial process that eliminates the risk of embarrassing grammatical errors, letting someone who has been around the content marketing and social media block before can help your content go viral the right way. When framed by the fact that you’ll never truly be able to live down getting a little digital egg on your face via failed content operations, it’s easy to see that this path is the only real option for brands that are serious about making a splash on the web.

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