Content marketing – when done right – can be an amazing thing for business. But as with many marketing trends, there are a few myths and nuggets of bad advice that occasionally surface. Let’s take a look at 14 common misconceptions and put them on the straight and narrow.
1. “I just need content marketing for SEO.”
Yes, regularly updating your website with fresh and useful content can help your search rankings; but the most important part of content marketing is to make connections with real people. You need to get your content out there to be seen by human eyeballs, and usually the best way to do this is by sharing it on social media.
2. “Content marketing is only useful for B2C organisations.”
I can see where this myth might come from. If the above is true and content is there for everyday people to consume, why would a business care? You have to remember what a business consists of: everyday people. If you’re trying to appeal to a business client, appeal to the concerns and pain points that a decision maker in that industry might have, just like you would any member of the general public.
3. “You’ll notice immediate results.”
Content marketing is not the marketing equivalent of a “get rich quick” scheme. It takes time, effort and patience. Once your content has gone live, it may take a week or so for search engines to index it, and even longer for people to find it organically through search. You need to put the effort in to promote your content over social channels to gain traction and exposure.
4. “Your job is done once the content is created and uploaded.”
There is undoubtedly a lot of work involved in creating a fab piece of content, but don’t rest on your laurels once you hit “publish.” You’ve gone to all that effort of creating the content, so take the time to unleash it upon the world! Promote your new content on social media, and any other appropriate social platforms (such as forums). If you have email subscribers, you can also promote any new content by way of an email campaign. If your content is still relevant months down the line, by all means keep plugging it!
5. “Content marketing is just blogging.”
Blogging is a very popular type of content, but it is by no means the only type. Content can take many forms, with infographics, video, podcasts, lead magnets, presentations and being but a few. Different topics may be best presented in different ways, and it’s usually a good idea to mix your content types if you can. Your typical audience might get bored with your most common content format, so it may be worth throwing them a curveball now and again by doing something different.
6. “All content is digitally produced and delivered.”
This is an interesting one. When you think about content marketing, the typical formats that spring to mind are the sorts of things listed above, but content marketing can consist of many interesting offline avenues as well. If you’ve ever given a talk, hosted a workshop or submitted a press release to a print magazine; that’s content!
[Tip: If you give a talk or run a workshop, it’s a good idea to record yourself in order to share the video or audio online, either in its entirety or as snippets. You’ve completed your offline content, why not make it online too?]
7. “I don’t need to create my own content, I’ll just curate stuff from elsewhere.”
Sharing content that’s relevant to your audience from external sources is a great idea, but it’s not going to make people aware of your own business and skill set. Curating is fab to share other people’s ideas and to show that you keep abreast of things in your industry; but from a marketing perspective, it’s important to add your own voice into the mix.
8. “My industry is too boring or serious for content marketing.”
With a little imagination, no topic is off-limits. Pay extra attention to your customers’ requirements, cater to your audience’s needs within your content, and try and make things as interesting and relatable as possible. If the “boring industry” problem sounds familiar, this article over at HubSpot discusses a few useful tips; my favourite of which is that helpful content is never boring.
9. “If your content is good enough, you can bank on it going viral.”
No content magically goes viral on cue. No matter how well-conceived and executed your content may be, you can’t just expect it to spread like wildfire. Modern virality is a funny thing – content creators are at the mercy of social algorithms, web users, and personal taste. Virality is sometimes heralded as the pinnacle of exposure, but it’s often better to broadcast your message to a small, appropriate audience in a controlled way than to try and blast your message to a large, untargeted group.
10. “If I create content, it’ll give away all my secrets and affect my bottom line.”
This is one that I’ve personally wrangled with in the past. One of the main tenets of content marketing is to be helpful and provide value. In offering valuable guidance, you prove yourself as a credible and constructive source of information. You run the chance of sticking in people’s minds as “that company with the helpful blog,” so once they need something you’re offering, you’ll be top of mind. If you’re worried that people will use all of your tips, get as good as you and therefore no longer require your services; remember Jay Baer’s excellent quote – “a list of ingredients doesn’t make you a chef.”
11. “Content marketing is a “must” for every business.”
Though content marketing is a great practice for a lot of businesses, it isn’t for everyone. This might be a bit of a controversial opinion; but if you don’t have the money, time or resources to get into it, don’t force it. If it’s impractical for you or your heart’s not in it, you’ll be churning out content that’s below par, which could reflect negatively on your business. My advice? Give it a go and work out what content marketing works for you – even if that’s no content marketing at all.
12. “I read a guide online that says you have to do things exactly this way…”
As a cursory Google search for “content marketing” will tell you, the internet is inundated with advice about how to “do” content marketing. However, any guide that gives you generic or absolute advice shouldn’t necessarily be followed to the letter. Use market research to get to know your audience and know where you fit into their big picture. You also need to evaluate your own schedule, time and resources to work out what you can practically achieve.
13. “Content Quantity > Content Quality”
Quality is always better than quantity in the content marketing stakes. Don’t just put any old thing live and call it “content” for the sake of quantity or frequency. One well promoted, awesome post will most likely trump the results of 10 poorly constructed, poorly promoted posts. Likewise, don’t try to lengthen your content for the sake of size; once you’ve said all that needs to be said, leave it be.
14. “Site Visits + Social Interaction = Absolute Success”
If you have a post that does well on analytics and social, that’s nice, but only from an exposure standpoint. A single read of one post on your website does not equate one customer… if only! We can talk about engagement metrics until the cows come home, but they don’t necessarily equate money in the bank. It’s about making connections and luring people in with continued, reliable update.
Making your content profitable is a huge topic, and one that we will discuss in a future post, so watch this space…14 Common #ContentMarketing Myths… Cracked! Click To Tweet
What are your least favourite content marketing “tips?” What is one thing you would share with somebody new to content marketing who may be taken in by some of these misconceptions? Please share your thoughts down in the comments!