Your Content is Killing Your Brand

Published 3 months ago • 7 min read

Mr. Mathieson, my eighth-grade science teacher, told (yelled) us on one of the first days of class: KEEP IT SIMPLE, STUPID!

Excuse me, sir? What did you say? KISS Keep It Simple Stupid.

Most systems work best if they are kept simple rather than overly complicated. Content, strategy, execution, workflows, and even your life.

That’s it, see you next week.

I wish it were that easy. Marketing and advertising in the digital age is so saturated, boring, and desperate.

Before the internet, brands spent focused time, strategy, and execution for ONE ad in a newspaper, magazine, or OOH, and the message was simple.

Lately, content has been anything but simple and direct.

It doesn’t matter if it’s paid or organic. Before you post (and hopefully before it’s created), ask:

Who is this content for?

The answer better be for your engaged and target audiences because you know who they are, and what they like and this provides value to them if you don’t, STOP.

What is the purpose of this?

If you’re checking a box, filling in a calendar to fill in a calendar, or because someone told you to post it – STOP.

Why are we sharing?

If any of the answers are even remotely close to “because someone above me told me to,” “filling in a content pillar,” “we haven’t posted in a while,” or “I have no idea” – STOP.

When should it be posted?

If the event is tomorrow, the answer is not tonight. Most people won’t see it until two days from now – it’s too late. Like when restaurants post their daily specials at 6 pm – great, hope your dinner service was wonderful. I saw it at noon the next day, and it means nothing to me now, I wish I had known about it sooner so I could plan.

Your content should be aligned with your strategy, which is aligned with your brand and audiences. Content is created with purpose. Last week, I shared how to create a content calendar without dreading it.

There’s a new, upscale business in town, and the physical location is gorgeous; the social at the beginning was gorgeous because it featured a lot of the business’ aesthetic, which made me want to check it out and be a part of it.

However, as time passes and they start creating their content, they clearly don’t have a strategy or a compass. Their content makes me cringe (and DM it to Blake and scream cry, “wtf why are they doing this?!”)

It’s hard to go into detail without revealing the business, but let’s say the clients they want don’t match the level of content (I know because I’ve had marketing conversations with them). It makes me cringe and think twice about telling people I go there even though the product is great.

Here's an example: why the hell is Duo Lingo’s mascot getting a BBL from Dr. Miami? I don’t care to find out, and I only know who Dr. Miami is because I watch trash TV. This is cheapening and making the brand irrelevant.

Brands have lost their authenticity and storytelling. Stop chasing trends and making memes! I talk about this here. It takes a long time to build a brand, community, and credibility, and it can all be for nothing with one post.

Your marketing plan cannot be generic, and it should not be able to be replicated by another brand – even if it could be, that would be stupid because it’s made for YOUR brand and YOUR audience.

Ok, deep breaths. I am very mindful of who I follow. Sure, there are some pitty follows (you know, if you don’t follow them back, they’ll be upset), and those are the accounts I end up muting. My time is precious; I scroll to relax, disassociate or to get inspired. I follow a lot of brands/accounts I have no personal interest in, but how are we ever going to expand our minds if we stay in our little bubble?

Here are some posts and ads I’ve seen lately. I screenshot them and then I throw my phone and give up on the Internet.

It shouldn’t take my entire drive to Vegas to determine what you’re trying to tell me. I know what they're trying to "cleverly" say, but anyone who isn't a copywriter or marketer isn't going to get it. Tell me what I need to know.

75% of adults with ADHD don’t know they have it. Done. help with that once you know you have it. No one is going to see this ad unless they have said near or typed ADHD into their phone.

Pretend you’re scrolling, and you get this ad – ok, well, I can go to Done. and get next-day treatment. What does that even mean? A 1-minute assessment isn't capable of diagnosing me. Why would I take the assessment other than you capturing my email?

If 75% of people don’t know they have it – how the hell will they know they might have it? Nothing in this ad is helpful for someone who MIGHT have it, and if they know they have it, they’re already being treated – so WHAT IS THE POINT OF THIS? The point is for them to talk about themselves, and they know that stats can be impactful.

People need to know who you are before they need you.

Open Instagram and stop when you see a post from a product or service. Do you understand what it’s for? Why did they post it? Do you still have questions? What can be removed? Is it relevant for the brand to post? 😵‍💫

Social media has been a career for 16 years. It’s not new, easy, or “something I can do myself because it’s free.”

When you hire/outsource someone to manage your social media, you aren’t “paying someone else to do it.” You are hiring someone to properly brand and market your product/service, engage with the community, build the community, and, most importantly, put out relevant and strategic content that aligns with values and what the audience needs and wants.

It’s not about you. It’s not about how much you spend; it’s about
investing in the longevity of your brand.

I get it; not everyone can afford someone, but if you cannot invest in marketing – close your doors or get ready for them to close themselves. I’m not saying if you own your own business, you shouldn’t do your social, but you have so many other things on your plate; of course, this will frustrate you. I’d be frustrated if I had to do a job I’ve never done.

Are you posting to post? Are you sharing everything you're tagged in? Does your audience know what you’ll post before you post it?

Content anticipation will make or break you.

Make: A CPG brand posts recipes ON Instagram – they don’t make you click off the platform or subscribe to their newsletter – they flat out give you what you want and need. I anticipate those recipes, and I follow them because I want them.

Break: Back to those pitty follows – there are so many accounts that create messy content, and it’s always the same thing, same message, same style. Who cares? Give me a reason to follow you! PLEASE!

Congrats to all of these water brands that have a lot of followers. Not really, idgaf about your followers. Oh, there Chelsea goes again, talking about quality > quantity.

Why would I ever follow La Croix? I buy it, drink it, and know what flavors they have – their content does NOTHING for me or anyone else.

Ok, maybe it’s just La Croix. Nope, Bubly is even worse! Are we targeting pre-schoolers?

PS – Accounts who follow zero to a handful of accounts immediately tell me they don’t care about their customers or community. They are on social media for self-serving and promotional reasons.

How the hell are you going to build a community if you’re not engaging with them? You are so amazing you don’t need or want to see what other brands or humans are doing? Get out of here.

I would never have a reason to follow 7/11 – I go there when I need to and only because it’s right there when I need something. I followed them last year because they became relevant – they created desirable merchandise and changed their social media presence. It's a vibe.

Clearly, I could rant about this forever.

Marketing is simple. Simple isn’t easy.

Everything you do for your brand should have a purpose – it can be entertainment, informative, educational, or whatever else you’ve identified in your strategy, but it has to align with your brand! (See: Tiffany & Co’s “collabs” lately 🙄🤢)

OH! Speaking of collabs, here’s one more point to be made. Collaborations need to make sense. I LOVE r+co and scrub daddy. Why are they even talking to each other, much less doing a collab giveaway? Am I supposed to wash my face in the bath with a sponge while using r+co on my hair? No, it's a scrub your kitchen then scrub your hair collab. No, just no.

Don’t get me started on giveaways. Actually, come back next week, I’ll talk about giveaways. Hell, if you have something that makes sense to give away to my community, let’s do it – email me.

For the love of everything, please be mindful and strategic with your content, and if you can’t, get help or take a break. PLEASE.

Make the internet a better place,



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Your weekly practical advice, insights and strategic guide to social media, community management, marketing and freelancing. Created from 15+ years of creating bespoke social media strategies and building thriving communities for 150+ clients and 25+ agency partners. My approach is simple: lead authentically, solve problems, connect, and make a difference.

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