5 Content Marketing Myths That Are Holding You Back

These Myths are as Real as a Unicorn
These Myths are as Real as a Unicorn

Content marketing is all the rage these days, with 9 out of 10 B2B marketers claiming to utilize it as part of their marketing strategy. It has quickly become the new shiny object in the online marketing world. Like social media, SEO before that, and websites before that, marketers of all types are lining up to get on board the content marketing train.

If you’re new to the party, you might be wrangling with a few preconceived ideas about what content marketing really is.  Let’s tackle some of the most common misconceptions about content marketing and help set your mind at ease.

Myth #1 – When You Create Lots of Content, You’re Doing Content Marketing

One of the biggest misconceptions about content marketing is that you’re doing it right if you’re cranking out new stuff every day. This could not be further from the truth. When Google started rewarding “fresh” content, people took this to mean the more content they created, the higher they would rank. That then evolved into, “In order to be a content marketer, you must produce new stuff every day.” Yes, fresh content is incredibly important.  Yes, your audience and your potential customers want to see new stuff when they visit your site. But that doesn’t mean you have to blog or put out a new white paper or video every single day. In fact, if you’re trying to blog daily all by yourself, you’re probably shooting yourself in the foot. There’s no possible way to be on top of your game when you’re struggling for new ideas each and every day.

Reality Check: Focus on quality, not quantity. If you’re after rankings, you’re not going to achieve them with thin content, no matter how often you publish. And if you’re trying to build an audience, you’re not going to win any fans by producing sub-par posts every single day. Google’s most recent updates have put the focus squarely on strong and authoritative content. And visitors don’t have time to waste reading a bunch of garbage. They’ll stick with you if you produce thoughtful, insightful pieces that answer their questions and solve their problems.

Myth #2 – In Order to Be Successful, Content Must Go Viral

There are a lot of marketers out there who aim to go viral. They want to see hundreds of thousands of shares on the content they produce. But what does going viral really mean? Sure, it means that LOTS of people are exposed to your stuff. But how many new customers are you capturing with one viral video or infographic?

Reality Check: Going viral means you’ve appealed to the masses. Is your target audience really, “Everybody on the Internet?” I’m going to guess the answer is no. Your target audience is much narrower. You want to appeal to your ideal customer alone. You don’t need to be the top story on Reddit in order to be successful. You just need your content to resonate with the right people at the right time.

Myth #3 – The Marketing Department Should Produce All of the Content

After all, it says so right there in the name! Wrong. Your marketing department is great for planning out your long-term strategies and setting the road map for enacting those strategies. And they may even be great at generating some of your content. But strong content marketing doesn’t just come from the marketing department.

Reality Check: Your marketing department simply doesn’t have enough time to get it all done. And if you don’t have a marketing department, well, you obviously can’t tap them. Look for people in your organization who have proven to be great storytellers and writers. Try looking to folks who have direct contact with your customers. They know precisely what your buyers like, what they don’t like, and what their most common questions are. You might be surprised at who and what you find when you look beyond your marketing department. And if you don’t have anyone, outsource it to a professional copywriter and content marketer.

Myth #4 – Any Old Person Can Write My Content

Just peruse sites like ODesk and Craigslist and you’ll see something astounding. You’ll find writers who are willing to work for less than a penny a word. Obviously, anybody can produce great content for cheap!

Reality Check: If you think you can get superior content for less than a penny a word, try it. Conduct an experiment. Pay someone $5 to write an article and see what you get. Then, just for fun, branch out and look for a real writer. It could be someone you already have on staff, or an outside contractor. Assign them the very same article. See which one is better.

The writers who work for peanuts come from many places. They may live overseas. They might be out of work and looking to make ends meet. They might be stay at home moms looking to add some income to the family pot. They might all be delightful people with good intentions, but they aren’t necessarily content marketers.  Just as producing content every day won’t get you anywhere, neither will producing sub-par content. Search out a skilled professional in order to achieve the best results. Remember, you get what you pay for, and content creation is no exception.

Myth #5 – I Blog, Therefore I’m Doing Content Marketing

Many people make the mistake of assuming that just because their website has a blog that gets updated regularly, they are actively content marketing.

Reality Check: Content marketing is so much more than just writing blog posts. It’s social media. It’s white papers. Infographics. Videos. Ebooks. Slide Shares. The more diverse your content profile, the more doors you are opening for new visitors and new prospects. It might seem daunting, but no one piece of content has just one purpose. A blog post can be expanded upon and turned into a white paper. Your entire blog might translate into a book. You could turn your FAQ’s into a video series. Dig through your archives and see which topics are waiting for a refresh. There are lots of ways to create value for your audience, so step outside the blog and try something new.

What are some other content marketing myths? Let me know in the comments below.

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As a web copywriter, blogger, and content marketer, Prudence helps businesses tell their stories and assert their authority online. She is on a mission to rid the world of ineffective copy, one website at a time.

About Prudence Shank

As a web copywriter, blogger, and content marketer, Prudence helps businesses tell their stories and assert their authority online. She is on a mission to rid the world of ineffective copy, one website at a time.