15 Misguided Myths About Content Marketing

More and more businesses are now recognizing the importance of content marketing, but many of them are still struggling to put this discipline into practice effectively.

Whilst these businesses can see the value in producing high quality content to attract and retain customers, they often just don’t know where to start. As a result, they end up with subpar and generic content marketing plans that produce subpar and generic results.

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A well executed content marketing strategy will set you apart from the pack and help you to build a loyal customer base – which will lead to higher conversion rates.

In this post, I’m going to debunk a few common content marketing myths that could easily lead you astray, so that you can focus on converting your site visitors into those customers.

1. If A Social Media Platform Exists, You Have To Be On It

It’s better not to have any social media presence than to have 5 or 6 accounts that you’ve completely neglected. A poorly set up and rarely used social media account isn’t going to reflect well on your business.

Each social media platform will attract a different audience and offer different functionality, so you really need to do your research and focus on the platforms that are most applicable to your business. Think about where your customers hang out and follow them there. If they’re not on Instagram, then you don’t need to be there. If your customers are on Twitter, then you need to pile your resources into that channel.

2. Social Media Is A Waste Of Time

Hold up, I know I said you don’t have to be on every social media channel out there – but let's not go overboard. Social media is an essential part of your content marketing campaign and there’s no getting out of it.

Regardless of your industry, if you want to truly build relationships with your audience and get the most out of your content, then you need to be active on social media. Think of it as the soft sell; your social media platforms will allow you to nurture your prospects so that they’ll eventually convert into loyal customers.

3. You Need To Create As Much Content As Possible

No, you don’t. You need to create as much quality content as possible. The whole concept of content marketing is about creating content that is of high value to your audience, and if you start churning out 10 pieces of mindless drivel per day it won’t be long until you endure the wrath of a Google Panda Penalty.

But that isn’t the only reason to focus on quality content.

If you create content that actually appeals to your readers, you’ll encourage brand loyalty and trust – which is essential when it comes to increasing your conversions. Not to mention the boost it’ll give your organic search ranking, which will also have a healthy effect on your conversion rate.

4. All Of Your Content Should Be Self-Promotional

Sure it should, if you want to lose all of your customers.

Doug Kessler, Co-founder of Velocity Partners, wisely said that, “Traditional marketing talks at people. Content marketing talks with them”. You need to spend less time talking about your business and more time engaging with your customers.

Remember, content marketing is about giving your audience that they want, and they don’t want to be bombarded with promotional content every single day.

5. Everything Should Be Automated

This doesn’t apply to content marketing any more than it applies to real life. You have to put in the groundwork yourself if you want your content marketing to take off, and you have to stay sitting in the driving seat if you want it go keep going in the right direction.

Marketing automation is a necessary evil and there is tons of excellent software out there to help you streamline the content marketing process. However, it’s important to remain authentic. Your content campaign should never be entirely automated or you’ll appear both unprofessional and impersonal to your audience as a result.

6. Only One Metric Matters

Many businesses make the mistake of only focusing one key metric, rather than looking at the bigger picture.

Businesses who want to improve sales will instantly focus on conversion rates, but items such as click-through rates and traffic sources are just as important in terms of optimizing your content marketing campaign.

This data will give you a better understanding of your audience and help you to make informed decisions which will increase your overall conversion rate.

7. Email Marketing is Dead

When I was sitting in an email marketing lecture a few years ago, the lecturer asked us to raise our hands if we thought email marketing was dead. And of course, I raised my hand (yup, I was that student).

I had just started learning about digital marketing and I really wasn’t in the email marketing camp at all, I simply didn’t think it was that effective – mainly because I usually sent any promo mails straight to trash.

The lecturer simply gave me a knowing look and said he’d ask the question again at the end of the week. But I kept my hand down the second time around.

Within the space of that week, I realised that email marketing was rapidly evolving and fast becoming one of the most important tools in a content marketer’s toolbox. And that’s still true today.

Email marketing has become one of the best ways to promote content, engage with your target audience, and convert them into customers. Recent data from McKinsey has even shown it surpassing social media in terms of effectiveness; the study revealed that email is almost 40 times better than Twitter and Facebook for acquiring new customers.

8. Content Mills Are Awesome

Remember what I said earlier about the importance of quality content? This is exactly why you need to steer clear of hiring from content mills.

Firstly, businesses only hit up content marketplaces if they’re looking to pay peanuts. Secondly, contractors who work for peanuts generally aren’t very good. And if they are good, they’re not going put in much effort if you’re paying content mill rates.

You need to hire quality writers if you want to get quality content and see actual conversions. If your budget is tight, it’s better to invest in a few exceptional articles rather than a ton of them that don’t hit the mark.

9. You Can Just Copy Your Competitors

This isn’t going to work. When you do your competitor analysis, you can assess what you’re up against and see what works for them – but that doesn’t mean that you can clone their content marketing campaign and expect it to work for you.

There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ model, and you really have to carve out your own plan based on your specific company objectives and target audience. By creating buyer personas, you can develop content that will appeal to your specific target customer and draw them in. In fact, I’d argue that creating a content marketing strategy for your business is more about knowing your customers than knowing your competitors.

10. Your Blog Posts Have To Be Really Long

It’s been proven that longer content tends to do better in terms of ranking and engagement, but that doesn’t mean that you have to churn out a thesis on your blog every single day. Shorter articles have their place and can still rank really well.

Some customers will also prefer to read articles that are short and sweet, so it’s better to add some variety to your blog and test both to see what works.

11. Your Content Is Only Working If Your Sales Increase

If you can’t see direct conversions from your content, it doesn’t mean it’s not working. For most businesses, your content will help you to build loyal audience who are then more likely to convert in future. And it’s important to see the value in these indirect conversions.

12. B2B Marketing Is The Same As B2C Marketing

You can’t use a B2B content marketing strategy on a B2C blog or your readers will never come back. Seriously, you’ll bore their socks off.

B2C content strategies need a entertainment edge, visuals, a ‘lighter’ vibe, and shorter articles. Whereas, B2B content is more of the ‘how-to’ variety with more of a focus on stats and longer pieces. B2B readers want informative and actionable content that they can use to improve their businesses.

That said, don’t forget that your B2B customers are people too and they’ll enjoy a bit of humor just as much as their B2C counterparts.

13. Content Marketing Is All About SEO

Nope, it’s about people. SEO is important but it’s not where your main focus should be. Once you stop creating content for people and start creating it for bots, you’re on a downward slope to a town called Customer Zero.

After all, how is your content going to ‘go viral’ if no-one is interested in reading it in the first place?

14. Content Marketing Is Just a Trend

I think we can safely say that this isn’t the case.

Content marketing is a discipline that has become a staple in the marketing industry and it has definitely proved its worth. The only change we might see, is when content marketing starts to be referred to under the more general ‘marketing’ umbrella as it becomes more and more recognized and the disciplines merge.

15. Content Marketing Is Easy

It takes a lot of work to develop a strong content marketing strategy and it can take a few months before you start to see any real results.

In comparison to traditional advertising, you won’t see instantaneous results from your campaigns, and you really need to be in it for the long game to reap the rewards.

Who Ya Gonna Call? – MythBusters

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As you can see, there are quite a few misconceptions floating around in the content marketing world and hopefully this post has cleared up a few of them for you. Just remember that it’s not always a case of ‘everyone else is right’, and sometimes you have to come up with your own way of doing things to find out what works best for your business.

If you have any other content marketing myths you’d like to demystify, why not share them with us in the comments below.