9 Content Marketing Myths and Realities

March 28, 2011
Content marketing myths and realities

Although the basic tenets of content marketing are simple, the actual practice is complex — and despite its popularity and extensive coverage in industry blogs, there are still some pretty big misconceptions. Let’s take a look at just a few.

1. Advertising and content marketing are the same

Advertising means buying time or space to send a self-promoting message; content marketing is about developing content for and relationships with your prospects. While advertising is often intrusive and non-targeted, content marketing allows you to reach out to individuals who already have an interest in your product or service.

2. You must have a fancy website to get found online

Based on budget constraints and other factors, sometimes a snazzy website just isn’t possible. But you can’t let that be your excuse. Free sites like Wordpress and others allow you to create professional-looking websites quickly and cheaply. Your customization options aren’t as varied as they would be on a costly or more robust CMS, but this can work to your advantage if you’re not technically savvy.

As long as you are creating fresh, relevant content that your prospects can find, your method of delivery can be as simple as a free blogging platform.

3. A fancy website is all you need to get found online

Taking pride in your website is about more than having a website that is attractive and functional — there needs to be helpful, valuable content behind that pretty face.

At Digett, we know that’s it all about content. If you’re not creating, promoting, and optimizing the content that you create, your site is not fulfilling its purpose: to generate leads and business.

Is your website a place for your prospects to find good information, or are you firmly entrenched in the marketing monkey house?

4. Online marketing is all you need for success

Although having an online presence is becoming critical to a business’ success, don’t make the mistake of throwing the baby out with the bathwater: if your participation in more traditional lead generation strategies (tradeshows, mailing lists, television ads, etc.) have contributed to your previous success, by all means continue in those endeavors — just remember to use vanity URLs and separate phone numbers so that you can more easily track which methods are bringing you the best return on investment.

5. Content marketing gives away content and ideas for which you should be charging

Content marketing takes place in what Gary Vaynerchuk calls a “thank-you” economy: if you provide free content your prospects find helpful, they will show their appreciation by purchasing your product or service and by spreading the word that your company is a trustworthy source of information and assistance. All of the content you create is not proprietary — share it with your audience, encourage them to share it with others, and they will thank you for it.

6. Content marketing works instantly

Although a well executed content marketing strategy can shorten the sales cycle, it’s not going to give you instant gratification.

Depending on your previous marketing efforts, getting into content marketing can be a big up-front time investment. Your website may need significant reworking; you need to be able to continuously generate valuable content; and your entire team has to be on board.

The saying may be cliche, but it’s true: nothing worth having comes easy. Have patience, monitor your metrics, adjust your strategies as necessary, and enjoy the longtime success content marketing will bring your business.

7. SEO is only for SEO consultants and webmasters

Any content that is placed on your website should be optimized for search engines — and knowing the basics of SEO is critical for everyone at your company who creates that content.

HubSpot sums it up pretty simply: find a keyword (preferably a long tail) for which you want to rank in the search engines. Then blog using it. Good places for keywords include:

  • Page titles
  • URLs
  • Blog article titles
  • Headings
  • In bold text within the content itself

That being said, don’t “stuff” keywords where they don’t belong, or where they interrupt the flow of your content. It will take some practice to find a proper balance, but it’s practice in which everyone should be participating.

8. You need to be on all the big social media sites

A huge part of getting found online is making yourself available, and there’s mounting evidence that shows that participation in social media is important. But there are dozens of social media platforms — so many, in fact, that monitoring your presence on all of them is impossible.

If you’ve taken time to create buyer personas, you probably have some idea of which sites your prospects spend time on; there’s no point in spending time and resources trying to promote yourself on Facebook if the bulk of your prospects are on Twitter or LinkedIn.

It’s better to consolidate your resources where they will get you the best ROI. Instead of joining every social media site you can, try to focus on one to three platforms on which most of your prospects are active.

9. Content marketing is a fad

While everyone tends to agree that the Internet itself is here to stay, there are a surprising amount of people who believe that content marketing is a fad — despite the fact that last year, 58% of Americans conducted research online before buying a product.

At first blush this might not seem like much of a connection, but with over 175 million people searching online, chances are good that some of them are searching for you, your business, or your products. And if you’re not there to provide them with helpful information, I can practically guarantee that your competitor is.

The easier it becomes for your prospects to do research and shop online, the more imperative it becomes that you are there to help them. The Internet isn’t going anywhere — and neither is content marketing.

What #10 content marketing myth would you add? Let me know in the comments.

Image: Miles Bader