With content marketing there are many myths and half-truths that just never seem to go away completely.
See if a few of these old ideas are still rolling around in your brain.
Myth #1. “Your best work should only be published on your own blog.”
The thinking is that you want to put your best foot forward by sharing your best ideas with your readers. This, of course, only holds true if you have any readers!
Whilst it can certainly be useful to post high quality media on your own site for the future when it has more traffic, one has to focus on the need to get people interested in your brand or product in the first place.
Without the resources or money to actively promote content published on your own site, it may very well go unnoticed.
Why not cheat a little?
Mike of Ninepeaksmedia.com chose to have his 12,000 word piece advocating to promote content published on your own site and persona building published on Moz instead of his own site.
Whilst Nikepeaksmedia has over 17,000 Twitter followers so it is not hurting for attention, the audience at Moz is considerably larger.
Brand awareness is important. No one will follow you if they don’t know who you are. You’re never too big to thinking bigger.
Sharing quality content with a related audience opens the door to introducing that audience to your own message. The link juice on such a post may have some value, but the visitors who see value in your content and want to find out more about the author are pure gold.
Whilst there is the risk that the content will be associated with the site or brand it is published on, even without a byline it is often acceptable to include a useful inline link.
There are enough good ideas to share a few of them publicly and keep the rest for your own site.
Myth #2. “Everyone can and should be writing content.”
Not every web site should have a self-penned blog. Not every business owner is a great writer or should spend their hours stuck on a blank page trying to think of a golden nugget to impart.
Whilst almost everyone thinks they can write, the real truth is that it is much harder than it looks. Just sit any new web design client down who wants to write their own content and see how long it takes them to get around to producing it. It always takes much longer than expected and the results are often unusable.
Poor writing hurts your brand.
Left unchecked, the blog that is “good for marketing purposes” could actually become a detriment to obtaining new clients when prospective clients read the thoughts and see the writing style of the business owner.
Sticking to your knitting aka do what you’re good at, is good advice here.
Does this mean not communicating with an audience? Not at all. If just means picking the right medium.
Won’t I lose my audience? I have to write a blog…
STOP! There are other ways.
Are you better at public speaking? Do you think you could speak into a camera and share your ideas in a convincing, personable way? Or do you have a pleasant speaking voice that would do well in a podcast environment? With content, try hiring a writer rather than trying to do it yourself.
Myth #3. “Great content will promote itself.”
The idea that great content will market itself is a myth. Let us just make this clear. Great content matters, but an audience has to find it first.
All great content needs to be promoted well in order to let its most suitable audience know that it exists.
Everyone thinks that they’ll write one piece and it’ll instantly go viral. This idea is like every wannabe actor taking the bus to Hollywood expecting to be a big shining star; most end up as the waiter to the movie stars instead.
Don’t rely on viral anything. Build a persona, set marketing goals, anticipate how to handle the inevitable problems, look for audience pain points, and set out to solve them.
Various marketing channels need to be tapped. Influencers need to know you exist and what your latest content is all about. Get some allies and some fans. Find some powerful friends who can be on your side.
Forget the notion that you’ll publish and be big overnight with zero marketing effort. It ain’t gonna happen.
Myth #4. “Content marketing and content strategy are basically the same thing.”
Content strategy is not content marketing. Don’t call a Content Strategist a Content Marketer or they might show their teeth!
Content strategy is about creating an overarching approach to how a business presents content to the outside world. Online and offline. What controls are in place to ensure every piece of content matches expectations and is in accordance with brand values?
Myth #5. “One or two great posts will make all the difference.”
Unless you’re already well known in your industry segment, it is completely unlikely that one pillar post will garner enough attention to move the needle. No one is that good.
A content marketing strategy needs to be a long-term war, not a one-day battle plan.
The idea of a long-term internet marketing plan is scary to businesses. So they set their hopes on delivering a single knock-out blow with a piece of content so incredible that that’s literally all she wrote.
Avoid putting all your eggs in one content basket. You’ll get caught short if you do that.
Think about how long it took before you noticed a (now) favorite site existed? Had they been around for years before you heard about them? A loyal audience doesn’t get developed overnight. It takes time, nurturing, and patience.
Myth #6. “Long content/short content is the best.”
When Google decided to adjust search results to focus more on longer, in-depth articles, some companies made a push to “go long.” Length overrode common sense about what word count made sense for the subject matter.
The truth is that the subject should dictate the length, not the need to rank. Whilst attention spans are probably shorter in this post-Twitter world we all live in, readers will stick around for a lengthier piece if the subject and content warrant it. For Kindle and iPad owners, it is also possible to push content over to the Kindle to be read later.
Myth #7. “More content is better than less.”
HubSpot believe that more content is best. Custom landing pages in almost infinite varieties can boost leads.
Daily blogging is said to lead to 82 percent of bloggers getting one or more clients a day compared to only 57 percent who blogged once a month. The percentages get even better when posting several times each day.
I be a pirate. Get me thy content now!
Whilst the statistics look right, the implementation leads something to be desired.
Content needs to either fulfill the needs of the user or push a business goal forward.
The signal to noise ratio needs to be in balance or the central message can get lost.
Low quality, cheaply purchased content can be a detriment to the brand. Quantity doesn’t equal quality however you add it up.
Published content is a reflection on the business or its personnel. Just as the user’s attention is limited, their tolerance for low quality content is not limitless either.
To give an example, BacklinkO.com publishes lengthy posts about every 4-6 weeks. Despite the lack of frequency, the followers of the site are passionate and vocal. The reason is simple: Quality.
Myth #8. “Content marketing is the new link building.”
When link building became more difficult due to changes made at Google, many SEO agencies switched to marketing content in the same way they built links previously. In bulk.
The agencies were able to scale link building, so they just did the same with content.
They also claim that they’re all white hat marketers these days. No black hat in sight. No even a gray one.
The Google Penguin algorithm update messed up link building so much that SEOs went after new content with a passion.
The problem for SEO agencies is that they’re mostly programmers and implementers. They’re not creatives. As such, they don’t have a mind for what thought-provoking content looks like or even how to get it.
Promoting content in a legitimate way is also outside of their experience set. Branding is a whole new deal for them.
Companies following SEO agency advice have taken to guest posting at a furious pace. Anything to keep the flow of content running at a rapid clip.
Looking at content as a way to gain inbound links is shortsighted. Content can represent a brand well. Whilst it may get a fair number of shares, the number of natural links it achieves may be disappointingly low.
Thankfully, Google recognizes that social sharing matters and in some ways is overriding the importance of inbound links for the purpose of ranking. Link building is a separate animal altogether.
Some older SEO tactics are still valid, but spammy SEO link building approaches won’t fly any longer. The same goes for content. It needs to be treated with the respect it deserves or brands can suffer reputational damage.
Develop a new content strategy that will reflect your brand. Think quality over quantity. Guest post to widen your audience. And don’t believe the content marketing myths…
Tell Us Your Thoughts?
Now it is your turn. Can you think of any content marketing myths that we left out? What are they?
Add your comments below.