You've used every best practice you know to optimize your content marketing process. So, why isn’t it working as intended?
It could be that all you need is a little patience or that a careful review will reveal the error. Or perhaps some of those best practices aren't right for your business. There’s a lot of information about all the forms of digital marketing online — including content marketing myths that ruin conversions.
It may be time to reexamine some of your assumptions about content marketing. Here are 15 of the most common misconceptions.
15 Content Marketing Myths About Content Marketing
There are several common myths when it comes to content marketing. Some of these ideas are wrong while others are just a bit misguided. However, when approached the wrong way, all of these can negatively impact your content marketing efforts. Learn more about these myths and how they can impact your content marketing strategy.
1. Myth: Computers Beat Humans at Content Creation.
Truth: Digital tools are important, but there’s no replacing personal insight or the human voice.
There are amazing time-savers and SEO tools available, and they can help you create premium content consistently.
However, your content marketing success relies on more than keywords and frequent publication.
First, you know your business in a way that no computer can. Tools can provide insights, but you decide how to use them for maximum effect.
As for the writing, there’s a reason why many successful businesses choose to go with content writing services.
Writing is hard. In addition to flawless and SEO-driven content, you need pieces that reflect the personality of your business.
The average blog post takes just over four hours to write. Detailed research, outlines, keyword integration, and lively prose require time and experience.
It doesn’t matter how good your tools are if you aren’t putting in the work to use them well.
2. Myth: All Content Should Be Text-Focused.
Truth: The best content strategists create a rich multi-media library.
No one is disputing the importance of keyword-optimized text, but one of the most common misconceptions about content marketing is that words are enough. Video and image-based content are vital when it comes to reaching a wider audience. Find what type of content best suits your audience and create it in a manner that's easy for them to consume.
So does Google. In July 2021, Google released the Multitask Unified Model (MUM) update. MUM employs AI technology to parse complex information, including non-text-based content.
If you want to succeed in MUM’s world, you’ll need to enrich textual content with other forms of media and produce original visuals and video content.
3. Myth: “Publish” = “Finish.”
Truth: You must promote, review, and revisit “finished” content.
It’s so tempting to hit the “Publish” button, breathe a sigh of satisfaction, and then ignore your content. But the fact that you built it doesn’t mean that they will come.
Unless you have a long list of direct subscribers, publishing without promoting is like throwing a message in a bottle into the ocean — there's a vast sea of different types of content out there. It's difficult for someone to just stumble across a single piece of content.
In addition to mentioning new pieces through a social post on various accounts, try some less-used promotion tactics. Engage with online discussion communities. Add interactive elements such as surveys, polls, and comments sections already primed with a good discussion question.
Then review the results of your posts to learn from failures and successes. You can even schedule reminders to revisit published pieces to update and/or repurpose later.
One of the key aspects of content marketing is content distribution. Finding the most effective ways to get your blog posts, videos, infographics, and other pieces of content to a larger audience is essential for any content marketing strategy.
4. Myth: Sales Come from Selling.
Truth: Conversions come from relationship-building.
Avoid being overly promotional in your content. Aggressive selling can turn potential buyers away from your product(s) or service(s). Moreover, it’s impossible to overstate the importance of customer relationships in a post-pandemic world.
Consumers give their business to companies they trust and share their values. Instead of focusing exclusively on your products or services, enhance your credibility with industry advice and discuss your social or environmental initiatives.
5. Myth: Longer Is Always Better.
Truth: While depth is good, bloat is bad. Plus, content that is well-designed and shorter can also be effective.
This is one of the most prevalent content marketing myths.
Yes, blogs are getting longer. In 2021, the average post was 1,416 words. Readers look for pieces that thoroughly cover their topics of interest. Additionally, well-informed content leads to more backlinks and higher rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs).
Blogs continue to increase in length because of the sheer volume of information available. If you want to compete for a search term, then small snippets of content aren't enough.
Yet, while average blog lengths have increased, reader patience and attention span have decreased. Your readers want their questions answered immediately, and any irrelevant fluff in content sends them bouncing away from your website. In the long run, this hurts your SEO.
Moreover, the best strategy is the one that directly appeals to your readership and takes advantage of your strengths.
Case in point: marketing expert Seth Godin has one of the most popular blogs in the world. He publishes every day, and his average length is around 250 words.
Godin’s strategy works for him. He has a gift for short, tight writing and an established reputation and target audience. Find what works for you and your customer base.
Seth Godin’s popular blog relies on frequent, short posts rather than lengthy articles.
The next area of content mythology concerns content channels. Are you publishing your material in the right place?
6. Myth: “Content” Means Blog.
Truth: Content needs to be multi-channel and interconnecting.
There’s a long list of potential forms of content:
- Blog posts
- Articles published elsewhere
- Lead-generators such as ebooks and white papers
- Social media posts
- Picture galleries
- And more
Blogs are great additions to your website but don’t stop there. You can get more mileage out of pieces by posting them in multiple formats and locations. For example, you might post podcast transcripts on your blog. Or host a video on your website and post it on YouTube and other social platforms.
Integrate your channels and use them to promote one another.
7. Myth: Email Is Dead (and Social Killed It).
Truth: Email marketing still shows the highest conversion rate.
Social media has become such an integral part of daily life that it’s tempting to write off email. Don’t. It’s still the most profitable channel by a wide margin.
Email marketing yields an average of $36 per dollar spent. Get people paying attention to brand communication with an exciting monthly newsletter or special announcements.
8. Myth: You Need To Be on Every Platform All the Time.
Truth: It’s better to do a few things well than everything poorly.
You should publish content on more than one channel, but you also don’t want to spread yourself too thin or waste effort when it’s unlikely to yield returns.
Concentrate your efforts on a few channels. It’ll help you maintain quality and consistency and focus on high-converting content.
9. Myth: Only Fully Owned Content Matters.
Truth: Earned and shared media should be a part of your content marketing.
Submit articles, look for guest posting opportunities, and offer them to experts in your field. These pieces allow you to engage new audiences. They also play a role in content marketing for link building.
In addition, shared media such as user-generated or influencer content on social media can be particularly effective. It offers social proof of your offerings, giving others more confidence to make the purchase. Tag or repost endorsements and encourage fans to keep the content coming.
This final section highlights content marketing myths regarding your overarching strategy. Are you prioritizing the right topics, making the most of existing assets, and integrating content marketing with other areas of your business?
10. Myth: All Traffic Is Created Equal
Truth: The best traffic comes from topics with high conversion potential.
Some people invest a lot of time and money into content marketing and see high-level payoffs in SEO and website traffic. They start to do their victory dance only to realize that they’re not actually doing that much more business.
On the one hand, if you’re generating a steady stream of visitors with relevant interests, you should see some uptick in sales. But a high conversion rate depends on your ability to prioritize the content topics most likely to lead to conversion.
Try this tip from Ahrefs, a company that provides SEO tools and services. They score article topics on “business potential.” They rate them on a scale from zero to three:
- 0. There’s no organic way to mention our product.
- 1. We can mention the product but only fleetingly.
- 2. Our product helps, but it isn’t essential.
- 3. Our product is a singular solution to the problem discussed.
When drawing up a blog or content calendar, they look at these evaluations in conjunction with organic traffic potential and other business objectives.
11. Myth: More Content Is Always Better.
Truth: Quality content is always better.
Another common misconception about content strategy is that the more content you create, the better it will be. That isn't always the case. Long-form content is great
In an ideal world, you would have infinite time, energy, and expertise. You could produce mind-blowing libraries of well-researched articles and other forms of content.
This world is not that one. Prioritize quality and strategy over sheer quantity.
12. Myth: Content Strategy Is Separate from the Rest of Your Business Strategy.
Truth: Silos are as detrimental to content marketing as to other business areas.
This is less of a myth than it is an unconscious assumption. Some businesses tend to treat content marketing as a single marketing campaign instead of an ongoing part of business operations.
Your content marketing should be informed by sales, supplies, human resources, company news, and so on. For one thing, digital marketing requires a constant stream of fresh material. For another, conversions result from smart, holistic strategies. You may have all the information you need about search traffic, but make sure you know how your plans relate to the company’s bottom line.
13. Myth: Content Marketing Is About Speaking, Not Listening.
Truth: The best content is the material the customer requested.
Content marketing is all about engagement. When you post a piece, monitor it for comments and likes or retweets. These interactions indicate that you've created a successful content strategy. Plus, they provide opportunities to engage customers more directly. So, when people comment, respond.
You also want to seize every opportunity to solicit feedback about the kind of information your clients would find most useful. You can put out a poll or ask people individually, but you might also consider social listening tools.
Social listening is an audience research methodology that monitors mentions of brands or topics. Use it to gain insights into what your audience cares about at any moment.
14. Myth: Content Marketing Must Deliver Obvious Conversions to Be Valuable.
Truth: Content marketing often plays a supporting role in conversions.
One of the biggest challenges in content marketing is the difficulty of measuring your return on the investment.
When content marketers list goals, direct conversions rarely top the list. Top choices include brand awareness, increased credibility, and customer education. All of these support conversion, but they don’t necessarily inspire an immediate “buy now” reaction.
Customers often make purchases after multiple brand interactions, any of which can happen through content marketing. People may come to your website to find more information or compare your brand to others. A very small percentage of website visitors are ready to commit then and there.
But if they learn to trust you as an authority in your industry, they’re more likely to visit you when they are ready. The increased web traffic also pays off with higher search rankings, and some visitors will become email subscribers.
It may feel as though your content is under-performing, but ensure that your account for a complex and sometimes obscure marketing funnel.
15. Myth: You Can Expect Quick Results.
Truth: It takes time for content marketing to yield results.
This may be more of a content fantasy than a myth around content strategy. You may not be seeing conversions yet because your strategy hasn’t been in operation long enough.
It usually takes anywhere from three to twelve months to see results and can take even longer. Be patient with yourself.
And if you want consistent, high-quality content but don’t have the time, desire, or skill set to produce it yourself, give content writing services like Compose.ly a try.
The Takeaway: Don't Let These Myths Ruin Your Content Marketing Strategy
You’ve heard 15 content strategy myths covering the best content, channels, and strategies. Here’s one more for the road.
Myth: You have to do it on your own.
Truth: You really don’t.
Content marketing is a long, difficult process. From topic ideation to creating new content covering hundreds or even thousands of keywords, it can be overwhelming for any team. Don't let your content marketing strategy overwhelm you. Look into outsourcing content to minimize the burden on your team while still getting the results you seek.