Content marketing has gone mainstream. In fact, it seems like it has become so popular with businesses that everyone’s doing it. The coffee shop down the road from your house is probably blogging just like Coca-Cola, Chevron, and HP. And if they’re not, they’re probably recording videos for YouTube or tweeting, sharing, and posting items on Pinterest.
At this point, your parents have probably heard of content marketing even if they can’t quite put their finger on what it is. And in another year, they may be using it to promote their own businesses.
That’s why it’s so surprising that there are still so many myths about it. Even worse, several seemed to have taken hold among marketers, the very people who should know better! Today, I’m going to take a few of them apart. If you want to squeeze the most value possible from your content marketing, you need to abandon the following 5 fallacies.
#1. “I Need To Create As Much Content As Possible.”
Uh, no. As with pizza, cheesecake, or a fantastic lasagna, volume is not the most important feature of your content.
If you don’t believe me, take a look at what Google’s latest updates have done to the mountains of shallow content slapped together to rank sites. For all intents and purposes, it’s gone. It’s buried so far in Google’s index that no one will see it.
Your content needs to make an impact. It needs to drive social engagement and stimulate interest in the folks who consume it. If you can do that, create as much as you can. Just remember, producing high-quality stuff isn’t easy.
#2. “People Don’t Read Anymore. They Skim.”
Yes and no. People definitely skim in order to extract information quickly. But that doesn’t mean they no longer read. It’s not an either-or formula.
The fact is, people will read if they’re interested. And they’ll keep reading as long as they believe the material in front of them will help or entertain them. The flip side of that equation is that folks will stop reading the moment they get bored or realize they’re wasting their time.
Whether you’re pumping out 20-word tweets or creating 2,000-word blog posts, keep your audience engaged.
#3. “Content Marketing Is Just A Fad. It’ll Disappear Eventually.”
Hate to break it to you, but content marketing isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it was around long before the internet arrived. And it’ll be around long after we’re gone.
Businesses have been using content in one form or another to promote their stuff since the 1800s. According to Wikipedia, John Deere came out with its magazine The Furrow in 1895. A few years later, Michelin published its Michelin Guide. Both were designed to offer useful information to select audiences while promoting the companies’ products.
Things haven’t changed much. Today, we just have fancier names and different delivery systems. Instead of sending out magazines and printed guides, we blog, create videos, and publish ebooks. Instead of seminars and conferences, we hold webinars 10 feet from our refrigerators.
No, content marketing is not a fad. It has history on its side. If anything, the internet is more of a fad than using content to promote goods and services.
#4. “I’m Not Going To Give Away Information That I Sell”
First, no one expects Coca-Cola to publish its secret formula. And no one expects you to put all of your material into a nice package and give it away. Yet, Coca-Cola is a huge proponent of content marketing (they even publish a daily blog). So are Red Bull, Colgate, General Electric, and Proctor & Gamble.
If they can do it without giving away the farm, so can you.
Second, how many of your customers purchased from you after reading a single piece of content? Not many, I’d guess. Chances are, they needed to be coaxed and convinced that you’re an expert. They needed to feel comfortable that you sell good stuff.
Building that kind of trust takes time. It also takes a stream of content that leads folks toward making a purchase decision. Content marketing isn’t about giving away trade secrets to keep people’s attention. It’s about engaging your audience and connecting with them.
#5. “I Don’t Have Time To Create Content!”
Running a business is tough. Believe me, I know. There are more things to get done than time to do them. And there always seems to be at least one fire to put out.
But creating content is an investment, not an expenditure. It adds to your business. Every piece of great content you produce has the potential to drive a stream of people to your site. Every article or guest blog post can give you additional exposure to prospects. Every video you create can further build your brand, bring influencers to your doorstep, and position you as an authority in your field.
In that light, you don’t have time not to create high-quality content!
There are a lot of other content marketing myths floating around out there. But from what I’ve seen, the 5 I’ve listed above do the most harm. They hold people back and prevent them from getting the most out of their material.
My advice? Dismiss them. Treat them like the fallacies they are. Then, get to work putting out great stuff your audience is hungry to consume.
What other content marketing myths have you run across lately? Have any of them caused you to hesitate and miss opportunities? Tell us about your experience in the comment section!