I have learnt a lot on the go and the one thing I can say about content marketing, is that no one completely understands what it is all about. Most of us are just trying to keep up with the trends and trying different ways to approach the marketing tactic effectively. While some of us succeed at the same, there are plenty others who are stuck on some of the content marketing myths that are just dragging their results down.
I’m just going to share some of those with you.
Myth 1: Content marketing is not for me
One of the silliest content marketing myths I have heard, is that it isn’t for everyone and that only a specific set of industries can leverage from the marketing tactic. But from what the market practices, results and my personal experience says, that’s not true.
Content marketing is essentially a form of storytelling, and every brand has a story to share. Imagine if there was no vision or mission behind the product or service you’re offering to the market. It is just not possible. Right?
Be it a B2C business or one that lies under B2B, the truth is, that you can leverage content marketing irrespective of your niche. All you need to do, is identify who you’re addressing, what you want to share and how you want to share it with your audience, and just how valuable you can make this content piece.
If you take a look at the current market scenario, be it a B2B business or a B2C business, like an online store, everyone is setting aside their resources for content marketing.
Here’s Gartner – a very complex business, as you may call it, absolutely killing it!
And here’s the household name for anyone who uses social media, Buffer, nailing content marketing too, in their ever-so-friendly tone!
Now here’s an example of an online store that’s been busting all content marketing myths and leveraging from the tactic to drive in more sales – Nykaa.
Even restaurant chains, fin-tech business – oh an even banks, are using content marketing to reach their audience. With all these examples, just how can you categorise or label content marketing for just one type of business?
Myth 2: You don’t need help for writing good content
Alright, first thing’s first. I know I said content marketing is for everyone – but I meant industries and different niches. It was never about how each and every person out there could write great content. That’s like expecting me to be able to fix the AC, without having an prior knowledge of how it even works!
I have seen various startups write their own content. Yes, you’re the best person to know what type of content you want, what you want to say and what you want to highlight, but just how you want to highlight all that information, is not everyone’s cup of tea.
A perfect write up isn’t just industry specific. It is the perfect cocktail of good language, value propositions and of course, storytelling. That’s why there are startup content marketing agencies like Contensify that are offering content creation services to businesses across all growth stages.
Of course, you could even hire an in-house content marketing expert or outsource your needs to an individual as well. It’s just about letting the experts handle content, while you focus on other aspects of business growth.
Myth 3: Textual content is all you need
Another one of the content marketing myths that often has me cracking up, is that all you need is textual content to make inbound work for you.
Alright, yes, search engines love long blog posts that are optimized with keywords, but what about the readability. Imagine if you had to read this post of mine, with absolutely no breaks with images or anything in between. You’d probably walk away with a headache and call me to ask for a Tylenol.
There are various content formats that every business must try at least once – before they figure out which one works the best for them. Some of the common formats that you see today, include infographics, long and short blog posts, videos, audios, podcasts and sometimes just simple social media friendly graphics.
To put it simply, here’s why you need visuals:
Myth 4: Content marketing must deliver sales all the time
If you look at content from just an ROI perspective, you’re not going to find it worth the time and investment.
Yes, content can get your business more leads and sales. But if you think that is going to happen from the very first piece you publish on the blog, you’re very wrong and that is really never going to happen. It takes being consistent at pushing out great content, distributing it in places where it will be read the most and optimizing it to add further value to the reader, to be able to finally convert them into a customer.
It is a long process, but it is what delivers the best of results – and I’m not just talking about the leads and sales it generates over time.
The biggest of the content marketing myths is that the tactic does not deliver results. In this case, you’re probably looking at the wrong things or have set really unrealistic goals from your strategy, or are probably a little clueless about what you should be looking at.
Metrics like your search engine ranking, website visits, number of reads, customer engagement, brand awareness, brand recall and others make for better metrics when you’re just starting out with content marketing.
If I try to sell you my content marketing services right now, would you straight off pay me upfront and get started? The answer is no. You need to know if I am even good at delivering those services or if I understand your industry and niche.
Myth 5: You can expect great results in no time
Oh. Wrong. Wrong. Just wrong!
There’s a quote from an influencer that reads, “Content marketing is a commitment, not a campaign”, and I can’t put it in any better words than that.
It takes time for any content marketing strategy to start showing results. Like I said, I can’t expect you to subscribe to my content marketing services, unless you’re convinced I know what I’m doing. Content is just a way for me to share what I know about the industry, the experiences I have had and the results I have been able to drive. It’s like telling you about my expertise, without being pushy or sales-y in my approach.
The same holds true for business – irrespective of which industry or niche they are in.
Establishing authority takes time. Taking your content to the right set of target audience takes time. You just need to keep a little patience, focus on quality, consistently measure the results and optimize your strategy regularly, to make content marketing work for you.
Myth 6: Content that doesn’t go viral, is useless
Not every content piece you write or invest in, is going to go viral. And that’s absolutely acceptable! On the internet, you just don’t know what goes viral and when, sometimes.
For instance, the first post I wrote after a very long time on content marketing, actually received 150+ visitors and a 78% read rate with just a few times of social sharing on my profiles. Yes, that’s all I did for it initially, before jumping straight into distributing the same to reach more people.
The second post I published, the number of visitors dropped down to just 123 visits and 61% read rate. Not that big a difference, but if you’re measuring virality, I should be sitting in a corner and crying about it.
Unless you’re trying to be the next BuzzFeed, get used to not seeing your Google Analytics explode every day. Instead, focus on understanding who is actually coming to your website, which channel they are coming from and if they fit into your definition of your ideal target market.
Honestly, I could get thousands of visitors to my blog in no time. But I do know that setting up ads, will also get me some irrelevant traffic and that’s something I’m not focusing on right now. I want to know who are the people, who are genuinely interested in reading more of my posts.
Myth 7: You should not republish your content
Alright, then how do you imagine reaching more readers from your target market?
It’s one of the silliest content marketing myths I have heard. It has been 6 years since I started out in this field and it is still one of the questions or concerns that I need to address.
I understand that you don’t want to get messed up for plagiarism or might not want the traffic to your original post be hampered, content marketing is all about being able to reach the right people at the right time.
This might actually include re-publishing this blog post of mine on my LinkedIn profile, a week after. Similarly, there are various other platforms where you can push out your content piece to reach a bigger and a newer set of audience.
The trick here is, identifying the platforms on which you should be republishing your content and being able to create different formats out of the same post – without being repetitive.
Myth 8: Social media will make your content work for free
Like I tell my friends, there’s practically nothing that comes for free today.
Then how do you imagine social media to work for you, for absolutely free? While it might get your content a few visitors, it might not be able to drive in thousands of them in no time.
Just like the search results, there’s always going to be ten other businesses pushing out posts at the same time and for the same audience, as you. To actually ensure that you’re not getting lost in the volume, you might need to invest in some paid tactics.
This might include running a campaign to drive more traffic to your blog post or simply boosting a post to get more people to your business page to discover the content you’re publishing.
But in this case too, you need to first know what you’re aiming at from the content piece. Set a clear call to action for the post, to maximise your results. It could be to get more likes, get more subscribers, more site visits or sign ups – it entirely depends on the social media campaign you have chalked out for the blog.
Myth 9: Great content needs no keywords
Again, one of the silliest content marketing myths is that you don’t need to focus on SEO at all, as long as your content offers great value and focuses on engagement.
While you got the two key factors absolutely right, what’s the point of writing even a single content piece if it is not going to get you a place in the search results – exactly where your target market is looking for solutions and services.
Trust me, I have seen businesses follow this approach and unless you’re looking at just vanity metrics such as likes on the post, this approach is not going to take you too far.
When you’re creating your content marketing strategy, also set aside some time for keyword research. If your efforts remain focussed on adding more value to your readers and pleasing the search engines at the same time, there’s practically nothing that can stop you from getting results!
Myth 10: Tons of content is what works
Alright, a greater content frequency has proven to deliver the best of results for many businesses. But then again, there are also those who focus on publishing just one great piece of content per week. They focus on adding more value to the reader in one go, instead of creating tons of content pieces that are all scattered across various segments of a reader’s interest.
Finding the right frequency of content, might take some time. Don’t just jump into publishing 8 content pieces a month. Understand how much value can you add to your audience, in how many ways can you do that, what your audience’s reading behaviour looks like, what content are they looking for and just how much of it can you offer.
Based on those insights, start small and then increase your content publishing frequency if the need be. Sometimes, it is just high value over a high frequency, to get more results from content marketing.
You’ll love this whiteboard:
Bonus myth: Conversations don’t matter
Some of you already might find it stupid, but there are people who think pushing out a number of posts and getting traffic to the site, are signs of success. I personally believe it is the conversations that one should be focusing on.
Be it good or bad feedback, or even more questions on what your content piece already offers, they are indicative of the fact that the visitors were engaged enough to actually read.
So instead of just sharing what you know or what the industry wants to hear, let your readers know that you would love to have a word with them. Not just by putting a quick call to action, but by making your content more engaging, conversational and interactive. This could simply mean using a friendlier tone while sharing information, instead of uptight sentences one after the other!
Making content marketing work
There is just no one-size-fits all approach that can be followed in content marketing. If you want it to work, you need to focus on quality, quantity, conversations and lots of numbers that will help you optimize your approach further.
There are a number of content marketing myths that I haven’t really covered in this post. The ones busted above are simply those that I come across the most frequently and have had to address at various occasions.
If there’s any tip on the internet that you think is one of the content marketing myths, and has been bothering you or you haven’t found an answer to, feel free to drop a line on my email or in the comments section below. Or even better, just tweet it out to me and let’s bust the myth for everyone together!
*Let’s not try and believe everything that goes up on the internet. Yeah?*