Are You Targeting Too Broad a Niche With Your Marketing?

The most successful marketing is nearly always focused and directed. As such, if you target a niche that’s too general, you’re going to run into a few issues.

Jack of all trades, master of none.

That old saying is surprisingly applicable to the approach some businesses take with their marketing.  Instead of trying to figure out who they’re marketing to and the context in which that marketing is being executed, they simply allow themselves to dive in face-first. It’s akin to attempting skydiving without a parachute. 

Sure, you might make it through. It’s far likelier, however,  that you’ll end up a stain on the ground. Alright, we’ll grant that it’s not a perfect analogy — but it gets the point across just the same.

For your marketing efforts to meet with real success, you need to define your niche. 

Finding Your Niche: The Questions You Must Ask

The right niche is a perfect blend of relevant, untapped, and compelling. It’s something you can write about without too much difficulty and which resonates with you as much as your brand. With that in mind, here’s what you should consider when seeking a niche. 

  • How competitive is it? 
  • How much do I know about it? Can I cover it with a reasonable degree of authority? 
  • Who is interested in this niche? 
  • Would this niche’s primary audience also be interested in my brand? 
  • Can this niche be tied back to any of my products/services? 
  • How active is this niche/how much traffic can I expect it to generate? 

How Can You Tell if Your Niche is Too Broad?

We see a lot of businesses take the ‘kitchen sink’ approach to content creation. They shotgun ideas across multiple niches and topics, hoping that at least one of their shots will be a winner. They don’t realize that when your target audience can be best summed up as “yes,” you’re going to run into trouble.

The people who might be genuinely interested in your products or services might see the eclectic collection of blog posts and reconsider. And the people brought in by a blog that’s too general likely aren’t going to turn into qualified leads.

But how exactly can you tell if you’re targeting too general a niche? 

  • A high bounce rate on specific pages or posts.
  • High traffic numbers, low conversions. 
  • Your list of topics could fill an entire page in a Word document. 
  • You cannot describe your niche in just a few words.

Granted, not all of the above are surefire signs that your niche is too broad. But they are all red flags. The good news is that now that you’re aware of them, they’re that much easier for you to avoid. 

As for how you might narrow your niche if you already stumbled headlong into one that’s too broad? Examine your most popular content for common threads, look at what competitors are doing, and most importantly, ask your colleagues/team for any advice they might be able to offer.

Do all that, and you’ll be just fine. 

It’s Time for Autoplay Video to Finally Die

Plenty of websites, news agencies especially, seem to love shoving autoplay videos in their audience’s faces. Here’s why that’s a bad thing.

If you’re thinking of including autoplay video on your site, don’t. 

It doesn’t matter how many media sites are doing it. It doesn’t matter that you just recently saw a video automatically start playing on a publication like CNN.  It doesn’t matter how many marketing ‘professionals’ claim that autoplay is a good thing.

It’s not, and it never will be.

Imagine, if you would, that you’re visiting a bookstore to purchase the latest novel from your favorite author. The moment you walk in the door, one of the store’s employees walks up to you and gets uncomfortably close to your face. They then immediately begin screaming about all the exciting items that are currently on sale, about how good the new book is, about how much they appreciate your visit.

That’s essentially what you’re doing to your audience if you impose any sort of autoplay media on them. 

Autoplay video is not going to generate more leads. It’s not going to compel people to visit your site more frequently. And it’s not going to do your position on the search engine results page (SERP) any favors. 

Instead, it’s going to alienate your audience for multiple reasons.

  • Frustration and surprise. Someone searching for an article on Google wants to read an article. They don’t want to immediately have their eardrums split apart by a video played at 100% volume.  As such many of them likely won’t even stick around to finish reading — they’ll simply bounce. 
  • Poor compatibility. Not everyone has a browser capable of supporting automatic media, and many people are likely visiting your site on mobile devices. This means that a good portion of your audience might end up finding your site completely unusable. 
  • A lack of respect. Are your readers listening to or watching something else when they browse? Are they using a screen reader or other similar software? Shoving a video in their faces the moment they access your site sends the clear message that you honestly don’t care. 
  • Spam-adjacent. You may recall that Google has long since disavowed intrusive ads featuring sound, video, or obnoxious animations. Autoplay video is arguably just one step removed from this kind of media. 
  • Out of touch. News sites are the most frequent offenders where autoplay is concerned.  The same organizations are bleeding money, using paywalls, and attempting to harvest customer data in direct violation of regulations like the GDPR. Do you really want to follow their lead on this? 

Autoplay video is a remnant of a bygone era on the Internet. It’s intrusive, annoying, and disrespectful to your audience. And 90% of the time, it adds nothing of value for your readers.

We’re not saying you should avoid using videos altogether. Video content can be immensely valuable if leveraged properly. What we’re saying is that you need to give your visitors a choice.Allow them to play the video if they want to see it, and ignore it if they don’t — because ultimately, their experience matters more than what you think they might want to see.

What Can You Do if There’s No Data for Your Target Keywords?

If you’re targeting a particularly niche market, keyword data might be difficult to come by. Here’s what you can do about that.

For the most part, search engine optimization (SEO) platforms all carry the same basic functionality. They form the foundation of your SEO and content marketing efforts. Helping you determine what keywords you should target and on which topics you should focus. For the most part, they work quite well, providing a detailed breakdown of a particular keyword’s traffic numbers, competitiveness, and permutations. 

It’s valuable data, indeed. But what happens when that data is incomplete? What if, for one reason or another, none of your SEO tools provide you with any insights? Should you continue onward or step back and rethink your keywords? 

What Causes Gaps in Keyword Data? 

Generally, if your research tool is drawing a blank with a keyword you’ve provided, this can mean one of several things. 

  • The keyword is highly niche, to the point that they’re rarely searched.
  • The keyword is from Google’s ‘restricted’ list. 
  • There’s something wrong with the keyword you’ve chosen.
    • Too complicated
    • Worded poorly
    • Not a phrase your audience typically uses in search

How Do You Deal With Keyword Gaps? 

Your first step here is evaluation. You need to be certain that the issue here is with your niche rather than with your keyword choice. There are a few steps involved here. 

  • Search Quora, Reddit, Facebook, and/or Twitter. Is anything coming up? Are people using the keyword you’ve chosen in regular discussion, or does there seem to be a complete dearth of conversation? 
  • Enter your keyword into Google and take a look at the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). What sort of content do you see there? Are all the top results competitors in your target niche? 
  • Use a keyword suggestion tool. See if any of the alternative keywords it suggests have better traffic than the one you’ve chosen. 
  • Analyze your competitors’ websites. What keywords do they typically rank for? Are they similar to the ones you’ve chosen? 
  • Look at your analytics data. What organic search terms seem to bring the most people to your site, and which ones generate the most leads? Note that in some cases, organic search data may simply display as “not provided.” 

As a bonus, if your keyword of choice doesn’t quite work, this process will help you refine things.

Should You Target a Different Niche? 

Once you’ve established that your choice of keyword is not the problem, you have a decision to make. You need to ask yourself if it’s worthwhile targeting this topic or niche. Is it something you’re certain your audience will be interested in, and will the leads it generates be worth the effort it demands? 

Only you know the answer to these questions, and only you know for certain what decision is the correct one.

Is It Even Possible to Create Original Content Anymore?

There’s been a glut of content for some time now. Coming up with something unique has been difficult for a while. Soon, it may be impossible.

Search any topic, and you’re likely to find at least 20 articles talking about it. And while a few of those might put a unique spin on things, the majority might as well be carbon copies of one another. They hit the same beats, offer the same advice, and come to the same conclusion. 

One has even to wonder if they were all written by the same person. Hey, comic artists have syndicated their work for decades. Why not writers? 

Donald Trump tweets out a typo, and journalists are on it like wasps on an open can of soda. Someone at Google makes a statement about their algorithms, and every single search engine marketing publication leaps into the fray to be the first to publish. Someone shares their thoughts on a topic, and there’s immediately a small army of copycats. 

This overwhelming glut of content is arguably a large part of why journalistic paywalls simply don’t work. Can’t find something on The Washington Post? You’ll find the same story in The New York Times. 

It’s gotten to the point where one has to wonder if there’s anything original left. How can one be unique when there are over a billion websites online and counting? How does one create fresh content when everything feels stale? 

In a few ways, believe it or not. 

  • Research. Arguably the bread and butter of search engine optimization success. Original studies or surveys are among the highest-performing content on the Internet and can be the foundation for everything from blog posts to infographics. 
  • Break off from the crowd. Do a bit of independent research on a site like Reddit or Quora to see what questions people are asking. Do a quick search for each potential question. Eventually, you’ll likely find something that’s yet to be satisfactorily addressed. 
  • Get creative. Instead of looking outward for content ideas, look inward. A unique YouTube video ad. A set of photos that showcases your brand. An entertaining personal anecdote. Any of these can give you an edge. 
  • Newsjacking. If you’re aware of a developing story that no one else appears to have covered, it might be worthwhile to publish something, provided you’re quick enough (and it’s relevant to your niche). The only problem is that newsjacked content isn’t exactly evergreen. You might enjoy a short burst in traffic, but you aren’t likely to get consistent attention.  

The longer the Internet exists, the more difficult it becomes to create anything completely original. This is simply a fact. But in hindsight, perhaps it might not be such a bad thing. 

After all, the greater the glut of copycats, the more you stand out when you publish unique content. 

Facebook’s Issue With Scam Adverts Speak to Deeper Problems on the Platform

Recently, Facebook failed to remove fraudulent ads from its platform. This isn’t just Facebook’s failure, but speaks to a larger problem with advertising.

As reported by The BBC, both Google and Facebook failed to remove a large percentage of fraudulent ads from their platforms. The former failed to remove 34% of reported ads, while the latter failed to remove 26%, according to a report from consumer watchdog Which?. More concerning, however, was the fact that of those who fell victim to a scam ad, 43% of people didn’t report it.

In Facebook’s case, it was because they doubted anything would be done. A fair assessment, given the social network’s completely uneven enforcement of community standards and complete lack of customer support. With Google, it was because the victim had no idea how to report the scam.

“Tech giants, regulators, and the government need to go to greater lengths to prevent scams from flourishing,” Which? consumer rights expert Adam French told BBC. “Online platforms must be given a legal responsibility to identify, remove and prevent fake and fraudulent content on their sites… and the government needs to act now.”

The lack of reporting isn’t the issue here, though. The problem is that although advertising has functionally been on life support for years, nothing tangible has changed. Even though 96% of people don’t even trust ads, advertisers and ad networks are still chugging along just like they always have.

There needs to be more regulation. Advertisements need to be held to a higher standard. And perhaps most importantly, platforms like Facebook need to stop dodging accountability for spreading harmful content. 

And it’s not just scams that are the issue. Malvertising remains one of the most common delivery mechanisms for malicious software, and simultaneously remains one of the best justifications for using ad blocking software. Moreover, as noted by the Sophos 2021 Threat Report, two new tactics have been circulating lately. 

  • Fake alert attacks. These technical support scams attempt to convince the user that they’ve been locked out of their computer or try to drive them to contact a fraudulent helpline. 
  • Fleeceware. Shady application developers are charging a premium for basic applications, and malicious advertisements help direct potential victims to their scams.

It never had to be this way. Advertisers could have taken to heart the myriad issues people have with ad networks. Platforms like Facebook and Google could have practiced greater accountability and exercised greater control over their ads. 

Instead, what we have is an industry that’s in even more dire straits than ever before. We have paid advertisements that generate questionable returns and an entire generation of consumers who view advertising as just more spam. If that’s to change, there needs to be better reporting, more effective removal of bad ads, and overall better quality control.

Because without these elements, advertising deserves to die.

3 Reasons Your Content May Have Been Removed From the Search Engine Results Page

If you’re SEO-focused, being removed from the search engine results page can be devastating. Here’s how to avoid it.

The search engine results page (SERP) is the core focus of search engine optimization (SEO). Pages that can make it to the coveted first page are incredibly well-positioned for higher traffic and an improved conversion rate. Similarly, pages that fall further down in the results often see their numbers plummet. 

This makes sense. After all, can you even remember the last time you looked past the first page of the SERP? We certainly can’t. 

As it turns out, there’s a third fate that can befall a site, something even worse than losing PageRank — de-indexing. 

It’s okay if you felt a momentary chill run up your spine. We did too. The idea of being removed from Google altogether is honestly chilling. 

If you plummet to the bottom of the SERP, you can feasibly recover in time. But if your de-indexed, that’s it. Exit, stage left. 

But as reported by The Search Engine Journal earlier this month, it mercifully isn’t something that happens often. According to Google Search Liaison Danny Sullivan, de-indexing is something Google takes extremely seriously. It’s something that’s only applied in the most extreme circumstances.

The first of these involves illegal content. In addition to content that may be actively harmful, Google makes it a point to fulfill the legal framework of each country in which it operates. Generally, its algorithms can detect this kind of thing on their own, but users can also manually submit a removal request if they see something they think breaks the law. 

The second involves personal or sensitive information. Generally, Google evaluates this on a case-by-case basis. However, certain categories of content tend to be frequently de-indexed. 

  • Financial, medical, or protected legal data. 
  • Government-issued IDs or other data that may be used to commit fraud. 
  • Intimate photos or videos published without consent. 
  • Information that was clearly published in an attempt to frighten or intimidate someone (or inspire others to do so). 

Believe it or not, there’s a third reason your page might be removed from the SERP. However, most of the time, it’s not due to direct action on Google’s part (the 2019 deindexing bug notwithstanding). Per Moz, it’s possible to deindex your entire site accidentally

So basically, you might be removed for illegal content, harmful content, or as a result of user error. It’s a somewhat surprising revelation, as common knowledge for the longest time maintained that black hat techniques could potentially lead to removal. More than anything else, this drives home an essential truth about SEO, one we would all do well to remember.

Ultimately, none of us know precisely how Google’s algorithms work. Everything we know about SEO is based on a combination of breadcrumbs and guesswork. It’s usually informed guesswork, mind you — but it’s also far from gospel. 

What You Need to Know About Marketing Yourself as a Creative

Whether you’re an artist, an artisan, or a designer, spreading the word about your work can seem daunting. It’s easier than you might think, though.

Creatives don’t get enough credit. 

On at least one occasion, every artist has been told that they should look for a “real job.” In the face of such attitudes, it’s easy to grow discouraged. It’s easy to think that no one could possibly be interested in buying what you’re selling.

But that’s far from true. The value of art goes beyond what it can do for a business. And whether you’re a freelancer, an entrepreneur selling their crafts online, or a business-minded creative who wants to start their own studio, you can find success with some hard work, a bit of luck, and (perhaps most importantly) an effective marketing strategy.

Let’s go over a bit of advice to help you get started. 

Have a Plan

Think carefully about what you want to do, the audience you want to reach, and where you want to reach them. A Facebook crafting group, for instance, will have different priorities than an Instagram influencer. Each will require a different approach and may be interested in other elements of your portfolio. 

Make a List

Especially for a first-timer, marketing can seem overwhelming. By looking at projects not as singular, monolithic entities but collections of smaller tasks, you’re giving yourself some space to breathe. More importantly, you make it easier to justify taking a break since you can actually see measurable progress.  

Build Relationships

Creating a more substantial presence in your local art community and beyond starts with collaboration. Working with other artists ensures you have people you can bounce ideas off. Someone who’s more entrenched in the community can also offer you valuable advice about getting yourself established while also recommending your work to others. 

You can (and should) collaborate with more than just the people who share your craft, too. For example, let’s say you’re an artisan who makes custom ceramics. You might consider approaching a photographer, offering them your services in exchange for theirs. 

It’s a win for both creators. 

Don’t Settle

There’s no point putting time or effort into marketing if you’re using improper techniques or cheap materials. No one wants to buy a product that looks terrible or breaks in an instant. You need to make sure you can quickly produce quality work and price it competitively. 

To be fair, this one might go without saying. After all, most people who seek a career in a creative field tend to be extreme perfectionists. And almost every creative has a small mountain of unacceptable’ projects that will never again see the light of day. 

Create a Unique Brand

Creative markets are now more oversaturated than ever, meaning it’s difficult to set yourself apart. The best advice we can offer here is to look at what others in your market have done and think about how you can do it better. You might consider looking at online reviews for weaknesses in competing products or simply studying how leading professionals do their work.

Products aside, you also need to create a brand for yourself. When someone looks at your products, you want them to think of not just your artwork, but you. 

Build a High-Quality Website

Contacting you or purchasing your art should be seamless and secure regardless of the user’s device. Your website is the first impression any customer will have of your artwork. You do not want that impression to be tainted by poor mobile optimization, terrible performance, or bad design. 

Above All, Just Be Human

Often, when a creative starts plying their craft professionally, they lose something. They stop putting as much of themselves into their art, instead focusing on what sells. Don’t fall into this trap. 

Do not be afraid to add personal work to your portfolio. Passion and a personal touch together can be incredibly magnetic. Never lose sight of that, and never forget what made your art great in the first place.

Finally, when you’re taking your first steps into the world of ecommerce, be kind to yourself. Everyone makes mistakes. People are imperfect; it’s part of the beauty of life. 

The difference between someone who’s successful and someone who isn’t is not that the former doesn’t make mistakes — it’s that they learn from those mistakes. 

Exploring SEO in the Medical Field

Whether you’re a private practice or a larger medical clinic, implementing SEO isn’t something you can afford to ignore. Learn why you need SEO.

You might think search engine optimization isn’t something you’d need to worry about as a healthcare professional.

However, you’d be wrong. Whether you’re an optometrist, family physician, dentist, or another type of medical professional, you are still a business at the end of the day. And like any business, you need a means of standing out from your competitors — of bringing in new patients. 

But how exactly do you do that? 

First thing’s first, Google My Business. Given that most of your lead-generating traffic will be local, and given that your Google My Business page is crucial to local SEO, ensuring this is filled out in its entirety should be your first step. A patient should be able to tell, at a glance: 

  • What your practice does.
  • Where your practice is located.
  • Your practice’s website, if it has one (it should). 
  • Hours and location.
  • High-quality photos of your clinic/office, including the exterior/waiting room.

A side bonus of using Google My Business is that it also allows patients to leave reviews of your practice. Pay attention to these. Thank people for their positive reviews, and make an effort to reach out and rectify negative reviews. 

You should also consider establishing your practice on a site like WebMD, which allows patients to search and rate physicians of all stripes. 

Beyond that, you’ll want to ensure your website is modern, easy to navigate, and includes your name, address, and phone number (NAP) on every page. You might also consider optimizing your pages for local search by including references to certain areas of your city or location-specific landing pages. 

More importantly, make sure it works seamlessly on mobile devices. Most people now browse the web on their smartphones. There’s no excuse for a site that isn’t mobile friendly, and a doctor that can’t even be bothered with maintaining a professional website doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.

You might also consider leveraging some form of digital booking software or perhaps even a virtual care platform. With so many people sheltering in place of late, the ability to receive medical care without having to leave the house could be a substantial potential draw for patients. 

Last but certainly not least, let’s talk content marketing. As with SEO, it’s probably not something you’ve thought much about. But it’s an untapped market and one with a great deal of potential.

Again, it’s about inspiring confidence in your patients, establishing yourself as a trusted voice in your field, and providing your patients with valuable medical advice in the process. Given that there’s a very good chance you don’t have the time or energy to run a blog yourself — especially now, medical professionals are exhausted and overworked — you might consider hiring a marketing agency to take care of things for you.

After all, your time is valuable, and they can help ensure you use it efficiently, all while getting your name in front of as many new patients as possible. 

3 Things April Fool’s Day Can Teach Us About Digital Marketing

Every year, businesses attempt to convey their humor on April Fool’s Day. And every year, many bungle their attempts. There’s a lesson to be learned in that.

German automotive manufacturer Volkswagen has, reports Mashable, learned exactly how not to approach April Fool’s Day as a brand. On March 29, the automaker’s U.S. subsidiary claimed that it would be rebranding itself to Voltswagen of America as part of its commitment to sustainability. It even published a full press release on the change. 

Get it? Volts? Like electric cars? Do you get the joke? 

One day later, The Wall Street Journal reported that no, the company is not planning a rebrand. The announcement was, in fact, part of a marketing campaign for the company’s recently-released ID.4 electric SUV. Reportedly, the renaming was meant to be ‘playful and fun.’ 

The joke fell flat on its face for several reasons — and each of these lessons can serve as a valuable lesson for marketers. 

Know Your Brand’s Reputation

Volkswagen’s reputation where sustainability is concerned isn’t exactly clean. As reported by MIT News, the company spent years lying about its vehicle emissions, even going so far as to install devices designed to break emissions testing in its cars. Environmental conservatorship is not something a brand with Volkswagen’s history should be joking about. 

Mashable’s Jack Morse noted that when accounting for Volkswagen’s history, this publicity stunt’s message appears to be that it views green energy as a joke

Stay In Character

Some brands are built on comedy. They make a name for themselves on social media by being sarcastic, irreverent, or simply absurd.  Their personalities are geared towards millennials and Generation Z, and they remain consistent in never taking themselves seriously unless they absolutely must. 

Denny’s is a perfect example of this, regularly posting bizarre content on its Tumblr page that its target audience can’t help but enjoy. Wendy’s also exemplifies this trend, regularly roasting both its audience and its competitors. If either of these brands did something ridiculous for April Fool’s Day, no one would bat an eye. 

If a brand that was known for generally taking things seriously suddenly turned around and started trying to make bad jokes, though? That’s jarring. It’s another reason the Voltswagen stunt failed so spectacularly.

It came completely out of left field and was in no way consistent with Volkswagen’s previous online behavior. 

We aren’t saying your brand shouldn’t occasionally do something fun, nor are we trying to claim that there’s no place for corporate April Fool’s jokes, just that those jokes should be appropriate for your brand. They should be something your audience would actually find funny. 

Avoid Mixed Messages

Volkswagen wanted to have its cake and eat it too. It tried to do something ‘fun’ for April Fool’s Day, but it also wanted to advertise its new product. Unfortunately, the result was a jumbled mess that pulled the audience in two directions at once.

When you’re planning a marketing campaign, stick to a few core, interrelated objectives. Keep your messaging concise and focused. Because the more mixed signals you put out, the likelier you are to stumble headlong into a media circus. 

Just Don’t Overdo It

Ultimately, there’s a time and a place for comedy. As a marketer, you need to learn to recognize that. Otherwise, you’re bound to make the same mistake as Volkswagen’s marketing team. 

How (and Why) Your Business Should Apologize For Its Mistakes

From influencers to major businesses, people seem to have forgotten how to apologize. But if your brand messes up, that’s something you need to remember.

Nobody’s perfect. Everyone from the freshest intern to the highest-paid CEO makes mistakes now and then. Yet many of them seem incapable of what comes next — apologizing and resolving to be better. 

Recently, we’ve begun watching a YouTube channel called Observe.  Hosted by professional body language analyst Logan Portenier, one of the channel’s primary content streams involves analyzing influencers’ apologies for everything from ignoring COVID restrictions to being party to unsavory behavior. Perhaps unsurprisingly, most of these apologies share a common theme.

They’re entirely insincere. 

A BluePrint For An Ineffective Apology

If you’ve spent any time following the recent controversy surrounding YouTuber David Dobrik and his group “The Vlog Squad,” you’ve doubtless seen shades of this. As reported by Mashable, Dobrik has himself posted two separate apology videos. We’re not going to get into what transpired, as in addition to being triggering for victims of assault, it’s not our focus here. 

If you’re interested in learning more, you can read the article we linked above. Instead, we’re going to look at what Dobrik did wrong in both cases. Because together, they form a very effective framework for how not to apologize for a brand crisis.  

In Dobrik’s first video, which fans and critics have widely panned, his mistakes are glaringly evident. 

  • Sweeping it under the rug. The apology was posted to Dobrik’s Podcast channel, Views, rather than his official channel. The former has only 1.7 million subscribers as opposed to the latter’s nearly 20 million. 
  • Dodging the issue. Dobrik never directly addressed the allegations against his brand, instead speaking in vague terms about consent. 
  • No dialog allowed. Despite the video being titled Let’s Talk, Dobrik disabled comments. 
  • A lack of commitment. The total length of the video is only two and a half minutes. Given the seriousness of the allegations against The Vlog Squad, most felt that was nowhere near enough time. 
  • Obligation, not authenticity. Portenier refers to Dobrik’s apology as “hollow,’ noting from his body language that it’s clear Dobrik doesn’t seem to particularly care about rectifying the issue. 

Unsurprisingly, this video was not well-received. After losing over 100,000 subscribers and multiple brand partnerships, Dobrik posted a second video a week later to his main channel. He did a lot of things right this time. 

He owned the fact that he messed up. He at least appeared genuinely remorseful. He asserted that moving forward, he will be implementing checks and balances so that something like this need not happen again and has delisted the videos associated with the controversy.

But he still made mistakes. 

  • Too little, too late.  Instead of getting ahead of the issue, Dobrik waited until he began suffering direct and severe consequences from the controversy. This has led some to assert that the YouTuber isn’t actually sorry that any of this happens, only that it’s directly impacted him. 
  • Poorly-staged. As some have noted, Dobrik went to great lengths to look pitiable, being close to tears, appearing disheveled, and filming his apology from the floor. 

“If [Dobrik] had come out and immediately apologized and immediately went to the people, that would at least show that he [recognized and owned up] to his idiocy,” Portenier notes in his analysis of the second apology. “Dobrik’s apology is genuine [but] perhaps for the wrong reasons.” 

Why Should Your Brand Care About Apologizing?  

In Dobrik’s case, the degree to which he mismanaged his apology has damaged his brand, perhaps irreparably. Just two days after his second video, YouTube demonetized his channels. Insider reports that Dobrik has, as a result of the controversy, lost nearly everything (content warning: SA).  

Per a study published by Science Daily, economists found that people are over twice as likely to forgive a brand that genuinely apologizes.  As reported by The New York Times, when a doctor honestly admitted their mistakes to patients, they were significantly less likely to take legal action. A good apology, in other words, costs nothing. Ignoring a problem or failing to apologize, meanwhile, can cost you everything. 

As for what’s involved in an effective apology, let’s refer back to Dobrik. 

  • Recognize the problem as soon as possible. The sooner you realize you messed up, the better.
  • Don’t try to dodge accountability. Be honest about what went wrong and why. 
  • Show that you genuinely care. Don’t just say you’re sorry. Mean it. 
  • Resolve to be better. Explain what you’ll do to improve in the future, and don’t make promises you can’t keep. 
  • Explanations, not excuses. Don’t try to go into the reasons things went wrong. 

Everyone makes mistakes, even the most prominent brands. The capacity to recognize and apologize for those mistakes can be the difference between repairing one’s reputation or damaging it beyond repair.