December 8, 2014
Unicorns, dragons and fairies are categorized as myths that you only find in storybooks. Although I think of those stories fondly, partially as a result of my wonderful memories of the Never-Ending Story and one of my all-time favorite book series, Narnia. Well, today we’re facing some myths about web content that might just be from this very same fantasyland. You could call them “tall tales.”
It’s true that content marketing has been touted as king of the castle as of late, and it looks like this castle is closely guarded by the powers of Google. However, to some, content marketing is too good to be true, with strategies that are filled with nonsense and limited potential.
How did it get started? Myths began evolving as an effort to prove that content marketing doesn’t work, and content is just another marketing gimmick that falls short on a number of levels. While content marketing can provide fantastic results in a wide range of industries and niches, it’s not always perfect.
Content Marketing Isn’t Magic
Just as the title states, content marketing is not magic. Content marketing is an art that must be mastered in order to reap all of its benefits. If you are jumping feet first into the realm of content marketing without a real plan, it probably won’t work for you. The key is to strategize your efforts and work with a strong writer who can develop quality content that works for your brand. Once you find your voice, results from your content marketing strategy can skyrocket your brand to new levels – no wizardry involved.
You don’t need to have a dragon to ignite your content marketing campaign (although, if you do have a dragon, tell me where to visit you). In order to create a top-notch content marketing strategy that delivers results, you need to free yourself from the numerous myths that are potentially inhibiting you from creating something spectacular. The following list of 10 myths are evaluated and busted on this blog, so you can move forward with your strategy without the all the fairy dust.
1. Quantity over Quality
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the need of developing a large amount of content on a regular basis. With all the (understandable) hype over content marketing, a downside has been established: the market is becoming oversaturated. There are some topics that have been covered time and time again.
With 122 million search results with instructions on how to change a tire, it’s clear that this topic has been beaten to death. Even top content writing experts would have a tough time marketing this topic through all the noise. The point is this: don’t publish something just to publish something. More isn’t always better, especially if your market is already flooded with an overabundance of information.
If you’re curious, here’s a top list for the most searched for (and undoubtedly saturated) content topics on Google. Sex tops the list along with technology, music, and health.
2. Content Marketing is Too Time Consuming
Here’s the real rundown: yes, it takes time to develop great content. Sometimes, fishing for blog topics can take longer than the actual writing (or filming, or designing) process. There’s really no way to make this a quick process, although becoming a rock star in content curating certainly helps. Either way, you will have to spend time researching and strategizing if you expect your content marketing to yield any kind of worthwhile result.
Once you have your blog topic idea ready to go, then comes the writing part. The number of words people can write per hour varies, and a lot of it depends on how knowledgeable you are on the subject at hand. If you know what you’re talking about, time is in your favor. Research and fact checking can really slow you down.
Now you have the task of actually marketing your content. This can be a little faster than developing ideas or writing, but you’ll still need to invest a little bit of time on this.
The only way that content marketing is too time consuming is if you don’t understand its process or the results that it can yield. If you invested time in your content and found out that its ROI is double your current print advertisement campaign, I bet you wouldn’t say it’s too time consuming anymore.
If your hands are legitimately tied and you just can’t free up another minute, hire a professional to handle your content needs. It will be money well spent and hours added back on to your day.
3. I Don’t Need a Professional Writer
Writing is one of those things that you either love or hate. You probably learned pretty early if writing is your forte based on your English class grades and your ability to spell. If you can write well, then get ready to unleash your best ideas to market your product. If you can’t write, then you seriously need to consider hiring a professional.
The voice behind your brand makes all the difference on how your product is presented and how it sells. Professional content writers know exactly how to reach your customers on an emotional level that gets them clicking the buy button instead of the back button. If you have any doubt in your ability to write authoritative and professional content that strikes an emotional chord, hire an expert content writer to maximize the success of your content marketing strategy.
4. I Don’t Need a Content Calendar
Some people are fantastic at winging things and remembering important dates. However, when it comes to content marketing, winging is not advised. Keeping a content calendar helps you stay on track with your strategy and remain organized with your ideas. You can use the calendar to target customers that are in specific parts of their buying process, and you can even keep track of engagement levels so you know the kind of content that is performing.
Content marketing is an aspect of your overall marketing plan, and it’s important to keep yourself on track. Content calendars can help you from feeling overwhelmed or have you thinking that you’re out of ideas. You can schedule blog posts a month in advance, so every Monday morning you sit down at your desk and know exactly what you’ll be writing about. If you’re worried about content marketing being too time consuming, content calendars are major time savers.
5. My Industry is Too Boring For Great Content
This can be a big problem for companies that are attempting to market so-called boring products, and it might keep them from trying to create content all together. However, if you are in a non-exciting industry, rest assured not all is lost. You too can create great content; you just need to think a bit outside the box.
Take replacement windows for example. Windows are one of those products that people don’t ever think about unless they see their energy bills soaring, or they’re starting to feel cold drafts in every room. You can creatively market windows by using interesting pictures of windows from around the world, presenting a series of uncommon windows, or addressing taboo topics that your competitors won’t touch. There is always a way to market boring products with a unique edge with some creative strategy.
6. It’s Not Working Unless I See Cash
Content marketing received bad flack for a while, with many believing it’s impossible to measure its ROI. Thanks to tracking systems, building lists and engagement levels, it’s absolutely possible to measure the effectiveness of content marketing. However, those who are new to content marketing may only see the strategy as effective if it instantly produces an ROI in the form of cash. The overall goal is always making money, but money is not always the immediate product of content marketing.
Successful content marketing can be measured outside of cash flow. For example, that list of e-mail addresses you just collected can be used for marketing purposes in the future. Your customers might not be buying this minute, but they might be purchasing your product down the road as your name pops up in their inbox.
Beyond e-mail lists, the element of social sharing can bring in new business that you wouldn’t have received otherwise. If your company is being introduced to a new pool of potential customers, social sharing can lead to a gold mine down the road.
7. With My Content, It’s All About Me!
Have you ever had a friend who talked about himself above anything else? For those who have been in this situation, you understand how quickly it grows old. Imagine a salesman approaching you at a car lot and talking your ear off about how his numbers are the best at the dealership, how he can sell sand in a dessert and the cars that he sells are the absolute best. Chances are, you’d probably walk away with a bad taste in your mouth, and understandably so.
This is an area where a lot of brands fail to realize that 99.9 percent of the time, it’s all about the customer. Your customer wants to know what’s in it for them. While it’s notable to mention your recent donation to the humane society or the local food bank, customers are coming to your website so they can evaluate your products and services. While you very well might have the best product in the industry, merely stating this fact is not enough. In the eyes of the customer, it’s all about them. If you can’t satisfy their wants or needs through your content, they’ll move on to a competitor that can.
8. It Failed Unless It Went Viral
While regular people and brands alike strive to create viral content, it’s best to keep yourself grounded with your viral expectations. Creating content so powerful that it goes viral is a major breakthrough for any brand, but don’t create content with the primary goal of going viral. This is normally a recipe for failure in itself.
Use other elements as indicators of success: the number of purchases, social shares or collected e-mail addresses are all characteristics of a successful content marketing campaign — and they’re also a lot more realistic.
9. There’s no SEO in Content Marketing
There are a lot of varying opinions in regards to SEO and content marketing being one and the same. Where there are obvious and distinctive differences between the two, they both play off of each other to enhance the quality of your website and its ranking in the search engines. You need consistent and quality content published on your website to keep web traffic flowing and making it possible for customers to discover your product.
SEO on its own isn’t necessarily content marketing, but you do need content for good search engine optimization practices. Content is the wind in the sails for successful SEO.
10. Biggest Myth of Them All: Content Marketing is Dead
This myth is running rampant on the Internet, and it’s a myth that is eye-roll worthy.
There are sixty-six million results on this topic:
Come on, now. It’s true that nothing lasts forever, but the need for quality and relevant information is always in demand. Period. If the Internet did not exist, people would still be searching for information: they’d just be searching for it elsewhere.
Become Your Own Content Myth Buster
It’s evident that there is a lot of bad information on the Internet, and this screen shot is a shining example. All ten of these content marketing myths are adding fuel to the fire by misinforming audiences and downgrading the true potential that content marketing has to offer.
If you have never dabbled in content marketing before and these myths are holding you back, keep an open mind and try it for yourself before deciding it doesn’t work. Yes, there are instances where your marketing dollars might be better spent on something else. There is always a chance that it might not work, and that’s true of anything in marketing. But content marketing has a proven track record of helping brands reach more customers, helping businesses just like yours bring in cash by providing excellent customer experience – and that’s no myth!
Julia McCoy is a top 30 content marketer and has been named an industry thought leader by several publications. She enjoys making the gray areas of content marketing clear with practical training, teaching, and systems. Her career in content marketing was completely self-taught. In 2011, she dropped out of college to follow her passion in writing, and since then grew her content agency, Express Writers, to thousands of worldwide clients from scratch. Julia is the author of two bestselling books on content marketing and copywriting, and is the host of The Write Podcast. Julia writes as a columnist on leading publications and certifies content strategists in her training course, The Content Strategy & Marketing Course. Julia lives in Austin, Texas with her daughter, husband, and one fur baby.