According to Julia McCoy’s article on the Content Marketing Institute’s blog, “9 Stats That Will Make You Want to Invest in Content Marketing,” content generates leads at three times the rate as does paid search per dollar spent. Thus, it’s no surprise that startups and established companies alike want to sink time and resources into perfecting the practice of creating content marketing.
It’s also no surprise that there’s a wealth of information (and disinformation) out there when it comes to best practices for creating quality content. Here are 10 of the most common content marketing myths and why buying into them can be harmful to your overall marketing goals.
1. More is always better.
More isn’t always better. It’s much more important to create quality content consistently than it is to create a ton of content that’s mediocre sporadically. A decade ago, many content mills churned out as much as possible to get page views so that PPC advertising would be profitable. The problem is that readers became frustrated, because most of this content was “empty” and valueless. What’s more is that it’s very difficult for teams with only one or two people who are responsible for content to post a lot of content on a consistent basis. Especially if the individual responsible for getting things up on the blog is also tasked with other responsibilities.
2. Anyone can write great content.
This is false. Anyone can fill up a website with lots of words. Sometimes that person may find some success. However, it takes time, talent, and skill to create the kind of content that develops a long-term following. Just like you wouldn’t task someone without a background in economics and math into an accounting position at your firm, you shouldn’t add content writing onto someone’s responsibilities list when that individual doesn’t have a background in writing for the web.
3. Content marketing is cheap.
Again, this is false. Good content is worth its weight in gold, particularly when your company’s main purpose in creating content is generating valuable leads that convert. It’s not easy to create content that has a high conversion rate. Outsourcing content to the lowest bidder is often a mistake, because as we saw with myth 2, not everyone can create good content. It is worth your while, if outsourcing, to find the best content writer in your niche that you can afford. If that means you can only afford one or two high-quality pieces of content a month, that’s much better for getting the results you want than 20 quick and dirty, poorly-written cheap articles.
4. Content marketing is just a fancy phrase for blogging.
Actually, content marketing involves a lot more than just writing up a post. This is one of the most prevalent content marketing myths, following the first three. Successful content marketing requires that the writer do much more than just post a blog. The individual needs to know how to work with SEO tactics, buyer personas, and create calls to action that compel readers to do more than just close the tab when they finish reading the post. Content marketing also involves creating pages on your site that are informative, well-written, and yes, search-engine optimized.
5. Once you outsource content, you don’t have to do anything.
The best content agencies and consultants will advocate for you to be involved in the content creation process. You will need to share your marketing process, goals, and analytics for a good marketer to be able to best assist you. That means that you’ll need to have a content marketing strategy driving content creation. You’ll also need someone to handle social media in order to take advantage of all content platforms your company has at its disposal.
6. Content marketing has a quick ROI.
Not necessarily. Don’t expect the entirety of the Internet to knock at your door the moment after you get your post up. Instead, be aware that it can take a long stream of consistency for content to start to reach your target audience. The good news is that once it does, if you can then create a positive relationship with your audience, it’s a very effective tool for generating leads and conversions.
7. Good content should be long.
Content should be varied. As I told students when they’d ask me how long their papers should be, “It should be as long as it takes for you to make your point or share the information you need to share, and no longer.” Don’t create long articles just to create long articles. Create long articles because that’s the space it needs to share the information you’re sharing with your audience. Be as brief as possible but as long as necessary. This helps to ensure that you appeal to a variety of readers.
8. Copying someone else’s strategy will produce the same results.
No, actually, it won’t. While it’s great to study a variety of successful content marketing strategies, it’s important to remember that your audience will be different. Instead, take what you can that applies to your audience and ignore the rest. If you know your audience doesn’t respond well to storytelling techniques in marketing, don’t use them. You don’t have to follow every fad in marketing – but you do need to know about them and why they will or won’t work for gaining the attention of your intended audience.
9. You don’t need email marketing.
One thing I’m noticing in content marketing circles is that fewer companies are focusing their efforts on email campaigns. When asked about this, agencies will often point to the existence of social media. Here’s why you need email marketing: despite the fact that Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Facebook seem to be platforms that everyone is using, there are people in your target market who have email and use the Internet but choose not to be on social platforms. Moreover, with ever-changing algorithms, many individuals in your target audience may miss the things you share. Leverage email marketing, especially since, according to Copyblogger, for every $1 spent on email campaigns, $44 are generated in return.
10. Only certain business types benefit from content marketing.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. You may feel that it’s a stretch to create content for your company, but that’s a mistake. Quality content goes a long way toward reaching people for all types of businesses. In fact, if you search your competitors’ websites, you are likely to find that they are using content marketing to generate leads and build relationships – and if you don’t, then it’s never been a better time for you to create a content marketing strategy for your company.
What content marketing myths have you heard? When you receive advice about marketing, particularly content marketing, it’s best to check to ensure it’s valuable advice and not just a myth. Buying into these myths can cost a company thousands, possibly even tens-of-thousands in missed opportunities.