How to fail at content marketing, starring Klout

Content Marketing is tough.  I know.  We all have some blogposts out there that we wish we could take back, but the internet never forgets.  More often than not, we find ourselves on an arbitrary deadline, trying to feed the monkey, cranking out something that we know isn’t great, but maybe will end up simply as the least popular content that week.

Sometimes, a jerk like me notices when a company screws up.  So here’s how to fail at Content Marketing, starring Klout.

Step 1: find source material, but don’t check the context

In this case, they found a list about rising comedians on vulture from 2013.  It’s this list, called “Comedians you should and will know about“.   It’s extra funny in this context, because the premise of the list is stated as:

This time next year (and in some cases, next week or month), there will be another wave of sharp comics and performers who will break out with major TV or film projects, and the media will write many “Where did s/he come from?” stories.

Step 2: Deliver the brand message, but stay light.

Klout writes blog posts that contextualize their tool as relevant for a given digital trend.  In this case, they found 10 comedians from Vulture’s list with high  klout scores, and added 80 or so words and an emoticon to round off an otherwise forgettable blogpost, making sure to note that this isn’t their april fools day post! In this context, it just screams “low effort”.

Step 3: Don’t fact check, Publish!


In this case, they didn’t really look into any of the comedians who had high klout scores.  This is where we all have a sad, because #6 on the list is Harris Wittels, a hilarious comedian with a bright future who tragically passed away recently: February 19th of this year.

I know that content marketing and brand blogs are hard work, and in the grand scheme of things I know this is not the biggest mistake.  But an extra 20 minutes of work probably would have prevented a jerk like me from having a reason to write a blog post like this.

  • Alex Miller

    Great post Mark! This story also illustrates a missed opportunity for Klout. Surely, the comics that Klout mentions on their post would be happy to repost an ego stoking article such as the one above. A more successful strategy might have included something like reaching out to all the comedians on the list and asking them to contribute a youtube video with their best clip, and to retweet the post.