25 #CMWorld Speakers Reveal Their Top Content Marketing Pet Peeves

25 #CMWorld Speakers Reveal Their Top Content Marketing Pet Peeves

On September 8th, some of the best content marketing minds from around the country (and world) will converge in Cleveland for this year’s Content Marketing World. But before 3,000 people attend the speakers’ sessions, we wanted to get a sneak peek at what they really just can’t handle. From pet peeves about incorrect content marketing assumptions to poor image attribution, low quality round-up posts to content creation inertia, these 25 speakers spill all. Want to learn more from these experts? Registration is still open for Content Marketing World, so register now!

Ardath AlbeeMy top pet peeve:

Marketers Stuck in a Campaign Mindset

Please send me three touches and follow up with a sales call said no B2B buyer, ever.

Campaigns are a construct that marketers created to put a box around their efforts. With start and stop dates and limited assets needed for execution, marketers can “measure” their efforts, while avoiding the complexity and dedication required to engage across the entirety of the buyers’ journey. Unfortunately, buyers aren’t on board; they need more from marketers at every stage of the buying decision journey. Campaigns don’t address buyers’ needs as a relevant continuum. Matching context and making connections exists beyond a campaign mindset.

Ardath Albee, Author, Digital Relevance & CEO, Marketing Interactions, Inc., @ardath421

Jay BaerMy top content marketing pet peeve is companies creating content that is 100% about them, their products, and/or their services. We already have a name for that kind of features and benefits and bullet points information, and it’s not “content marketing,” it’s “brochure.” The best content marketing is useful and relevant, and that often requires giving yourself permission to make the story bigger.

Jay Baer, Author, Youtility & President, Convince & Convert, @jaybaer

Bernie BorgesMy pet peeve is when an unrealistic expectation is established at a brand that says one blog post or one white paper or one webinar will drive gazillions in website traffic and new qualified leads. How many things that we do in marketing produce sustained results after just one week, or one month? Content marketing is a strategic endeavor that takes planning, strategy, alignment with MVV and ongoing attention. It needs competent people to manage it, measure it and evolve it. It’s not a “one night stand.” It’s a “marriage.”

Bernie Borges, Chief Find Officer, Find and Convert, @bernieborges

Michael BrennerMy biggest content marketing pet peeve is when I hear what I call the “Unique Point of View trap.” I often hear it from a content marketing skeptic who pulls this line out a 1965 marketing text book: “Everyone is creating content. We need to present our unique point of view.”

This makes me crazy because customers don’t care about unique points of view. They care about getting value from a brand they can trust. And the best way to build that value is through helpful and engaging content.

Now when I hear this objection, I usually take a deep breath, and then explain that the best way for any business to differentiate itself is with an amazing customer experience. And that starts with helpful, early-stage content that attracts and engages the kind of people who want to buy from you.

Michael Brenner, Head of Strategy, NewsCred, @BrennerMichael

Ruth CarterMy top content marketing pet peeve are people who are still under the delusion that they can use any image they find on the internet as long as they give an attribution and a link back to the original. What they’re likely doing is committing copyright infringement, and because they included a link, they told the image owner about it. This is the easiest way to catch a content thief – they essentially admit their wrongdoing.

Ruth Carter, Author, The Legal Side of Blogging & Owner/Attorney, Carter Law Firm, @rbcarter

Ian ClearyMy pet peeve with content marketing is people creating poor quality blog content.  A blog post could be the first time a website visitor gets a chance to see if you are really an expert in your field.  With a poor quality blog post you are creating a very bad first impression.  If you’re not going to create a high quality blog post then don’t create one. Wait until you have the time or a better idea to create a high quality piece of content that impresses your website visitor.

Ian Cleary, Founder, RazorSocial, @IanCleary

Andy CrestodinaWhat’s worse than auto-DMs? What do I hate more than LinkedIn spam? My biggest content pet peeve is content copycats.

According to the plagiarism checkers, there are dozens of websites using the copy I wrote for my home page.

Even worse, a company once copied our entire site! My response? I blogged about it, calling them out with side-by-side screenshots. It was years ago but that post ranks #2 for “website plagiarism.” Revenge!

It reminds me of that scene from Good Will Hunting…

Good Will Hunting

Andy Crestodina, Author, Content Chemistry & Principal, Strategic Director, Orbit Media, @crestodina

Andrew DavisMy content marketing pet peeve is pretty straightforward. I get all riled up when someone tells me he or she is a content marketer as illustrated by all the advertising he or she creates. Personally, I do not believe advertising counts as content marketing. You can run ads that promote your content. However, an advertisement — a 30-second spot or a full-page ad — that is not content marketing in my book. I know what you’re saying, “but, Andrew what about an advertorial? Is that content marketing?” ARGH! Now, you’ve got me all riled up.

Andrew Davis, Author, Brandscaping: Unleashing the Power of Partnerships, @TPLDrew

Pawan DeshpandeMy biggest pet peeve is that most of the talks on content marketing use examples of creating content on the topic of content marketing. Makes everything very confusing![spacer height=”55″]

Pawan Deshpande, Founder & CEO, Curata, @TweetsFromPawan

Gini DietrichMy pet peeve is how everyone complains about how much crap content is out there and then those same people go to work, sit behind their computers screens, and churn out crap content. No one cares about your latest widget or your excess inventory or your team excursion. What they do care about is the human beings inside the company and what those people can do for them.[spacer height=”5″]

Gini Dietrich, Author, Spin Sucks & CEO, Arment Dietrich Inc., @ginidietrich

Barry FeldmanFrom a writer’s point of view… Far too many clients want to believe you can push the “hire a writer” button and somehow killer content comes out the other side. It’s just not that simple. Great content is born of the marriage of deep subject matter expertise and compelling writing. If you’re the subject matter expert, you too have work to do. If you’re not, in addition to a talented writer, you need someone who is. The days of “reading and ripping” are gone. Great content demands original insights.

Barry Feldman, Founder, Feldman Creative, @FeldmanCreative

Rand FishkinI particularly hate low-quality roundup posts that are merely soliciting input from influencers so as to get those same influencers to share/link-to/tweet the piece. There are so many of these posts that they’ve become like spam in my inbox – they don’t add real value for content consumers and each successive one creates more and more fatigue among both the influencers themselves and the folks who might want to read them. If you’re going to do a roundup, make sure it’s adding unique value, in a unique format, with real passion for the topic — not just a passion for getting an influencer’s sharing it.

p.s. Even worse? The folks who do roundups, then get angry with you when you don’t share their low-quality piece, as though you owe them and have now backed out of an implicit promise. ARGGGHHHH.

Rand Fishkin, Co-Author, Art of SEO, and Wizard of Moz, @randfish

Ann HandleyMy biggest pet peeve is those who play it too safe with their content and marketing. We need to tell better (and braver!) stories, using stronger, more ripped writing, and with a unique point of view.[spacer height=”70″]

Ann Handley, Author of Everybody Writes & Chief Content Officer, MarketingProfs, @marketingprofs

John JanstchInternal links only – When you write a great instructional piece about how to do something and then all ten links send me to other pages on your site where you kind of talked about that subject but not to the site of the tool you talked about in the point.[spacer height=”25″]

John Jantsch, Author, Duct Tape Marketing@ducttape

Carla JohnsonMy pet peeve is when marketers re-label traditional marketing functions (and processes) with content marketing labels and then say that they “do” content marketing. It’s not about the labels, it’s about understanding the purpose, process, performance and impact that content marketing can have in creating value for the organization, not just selling products and services.

Carla Johnson, Co-Author, Experiences: The 7th Era of Marketing & President, Type A Communications, @CarlaJohnson

Arnie KuennMy pet peeve is people or organizations producing content because THEY think it’s clever, creative or fun without doing any research. Unfortunately about 99 out 100 times those people will be disappointed with the results. And if done routinely, it will lead to failure with their content marketing program. Instead, they need to conduct research to learn what their prospects or customers are truly interested in. What are they searching for? It’s pretty easy to discover if you know where to look.

Arnie Kuenn, Author, Content Marketing Works & CEO, Vertical Measures, @arniek

Cathy McPhillipsMy biggest content marketing pet peeve? Probably when people curate content (ours or others’) without really curating it, but simply cutting/pasting content with a link. To simply curate and not offer additional data, research or opinions, or even a counterpoint, really is only self-serving and doesn’t add value or continue the conversation. It may seem good for search at the time, but customers will catch on and either stop reading, or will start going to the original source for a richer experience.

Cathy McPhillips, Marketing Director, Content Marketing Institute, @cmcphillips

Jason MillerMy biggest content marketing pet peeve is when marketers think that good enough is just good enough. I call it lazy marketer syndrome. This might have been acceptable ten years ago, but not today. It’s your responsibility as a marketer to make sure every piece of content, message, social post, email, landing page, blog post etc is as good as it can possibly be. The messaging must be on point and the content behind it must be remarkable. Every touch point matters more than ever before and each engagement could be the one that turns into revenue.

Jason Miller, Author, Welcome to the Funnel & Senior Content Marketing Manager, LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, @JasonMillerCA

Chris MoodyThe fear of the blinking cursor.

The inertia to create content drives me crazy. We are literally surrounded by amazing, relevant content that so few extract and turn into something valuable. Almost every productive meeting at work could be used to create content. If you have ever done any of the following, you have content:

  • Solved a problem
  • Talked to a customer
  • Talked to a prospect
  • Built a product
  • Sold a product
  • Marketed a product
  • Attended an event

There are opportunities for inspiration all around us. We don’t need more budget or ideas, just a little ingenuity and elbow grease.

Chris Moody, Director of Content and Social, Oracle Marketing Cloud, @cnmoody

Lee OddenMy content marketing pet peeve: SEOs that define content marketing solely as a link building tactic or as a means to reach some other search engine objective – as if content isn’t what attracts, engages and converts paying customers :)[spacer height=”35″]

Lee Odden, Author, Optimize & CEO, TopRank Online Marketing, @leeodden

Chad PollittMy Pet Peeve: Publish, Broadcast and Pray

The all-too-common publish, broadcast and pray that’s so prevalent in content marketing today is my biggest pet peeve. Essentially, this is when marketers focus all of their attention on creating content and broadcasting it through their owned channels exclusively (email and social media), hoping the search engines will take care of the rest.

I’ve seen brand after brand take this approach and fail miserably. Publish, broadcast and pray is not a strategy. A research-driven content and converged media promotion plan is. Relying on owned media promotion alone for content visibility today will fail for most.

Chad Pollitt, VP of Audience and Co-founder, Relevance, @ChadPollitt

Robert RoseMy biggest content marketing pet peeve is when businesses look at the practice as just another form of marketing collateral. What happens is that someone comes up with the idea to start “content marketing” and then ultimately – usually because of various preconceived notions about what marketing’s role is – they end up just producing different looking collateral. They produce longer brochures as “thought leadership,” more opaque case studies as “customer stories” and re-written press releases as “social posts.” At its heart, Content Marketing creates value to the customer; independent of the product or service. Marketing collateral usually does the opposite of that.

Robert Rose, Chief Strategy Officer, Content Marketing Institute & Co-Author, Experiences: The 7th Era of Marketing@Robert_Rose

Michael StelznerMy biggest pet peeve are random lists of top folks in a given industry without any explanation about how the list was created or why each person was put on the list.  These lists are really just link bait articles designed to pump up the egos of those selected and hopefully get them to promote it.[spacer height=”35″]

Michael Stelzner, Author, Launch & Founder/CEO, Social Media Examiner, @Mike_Stelzner

Scott StrattonMy content marketing pet peeve is that brands think the world has an insatiable appetite for their content. All their content, all the time on all the channels.

We need to get over ourselves and realize we don’t have to post everywhere all the time. Every world event, every holiday, every TGIF, every hump day. Brands try to force themselves into every topic in the name of “real-time marketing” when all they do is add to real-time noise. Stop crying content wolf. Post compelling content. Content that resonates. Content that is on brand. Nobody likes that person at the party that doesn’t stop talking. You’re that person.

Scott Stratten, Author, UnSelling & President, UnMarketing, @unmarketing

Jon WuebbenI would have to say that my one content marketing “pet peeve” is having to spend lots of time with new prospects proving that content marketing works, to prove its value. Of course, this is not the case with many companies who already have done the research and understand its role in the marketing mix and potential ROI. But, there are still quite a few companies out there where its difficult for them to sign off on the idea…even after showing them the data, the evidence and the case studies. Hopefully, we’ll come to a place where its widely accepted, but we’re not there yet.

Jon Wuebben, Author, Content is Currency & CEO, Content Launch, @jonwuebben


You only have 18 days left to join Content Marketing World in Cleveland. All of the experts here will be presenting on a range of topics to the over 3,000 attendees. You can also hear from keynote speaker John Cleese! Get registered today to take in all that the content marketing industry has to offer at Content Marketing World.

Quinn Whissen

Quinn Whissen is the Director of Marketing at Vertical Measures. Quinn directs internal inbound marketing for VM, and develops large-scale content marketing strategies for enterprise-level clients. She has keen insights into both the high-level strategy work and day-to-day implementation that goes into creating digital marketing programs that drive results. She is a Wordpress fiend, a HubSpot whiz, and an Instagram artiste. +Quinn Whissen