When I typed ‘content marketing’ into Google, I received 884 million results. The trouble with hot topics such as content marketing is that there is an enormous amount of misinformation. You simply can’t believe everything you read; in fact, quite a lot of what I read on the subject is unadulterated garbage. Fortunately, I’ve managed to compile 5 of the most persistent content marketing myths so next time you read them online, remember that the author is talking out of his/her ass and ignore it!
1 – Anyone Can Write Their Own Content
Of all the lies, half-truths and pure BS I read about content marketing, this one riles me the most. Part of my ire certainly comes from the fact that I am a writer and hate the fact that people STILL have the ‘infinite monkeys at infinite typewriters’ attitude towards writing. Unfortunately, it is a myth that persists and results in business owners creating blog posts that are poorly written and filled with irrelevant content.
The erroneous belief that everyone should do their own writing comes from the theory that only a business owner can really describe the essence of their products/services. Except, they can’t! The truth is that while everyone can write, not everyone can do so at a high level. Allow poor writing on your business website and it will hurt your brand. Visitors will either think you’re an unprofessional buffoon who can’t write or else they’ll think you hired a low quality writer which makes you look like a cheapskate.
2 – Quality Always Shines Through
Hmmm… I bet there are people that believe this about the movie, literature and music scenes but let’s be honest, how often have you read a novel/listened to an album/watched a movie and thought to yourself ‘how the hell did this make it to print/a record studio/screen? The answer is promotion! It doesn’t matter if you create the blog equivalent of Hamlet, if you don’t market it, it ends up like the careers of most child stars, on the scrapheap.
No matter how good your content is, you have to market it to ensure there is a readership. There are plenty of companies that simply don’t blog often enough but there are many more that aren’t pushing their content hard enough after taking the trouble to write it. Take a leaf out of Carlos the Jackal’s book (not the terrorist part obviously), become a self-publicist and reap the rewards.
3 – Content Marketing & Strategy Are the Same
Not seeing the distinction between the two will certainly transform Eric Bana type marketers and strategists into crazed Hulk figures that tear your city apart; or else they will gesticulate wildly with their pens! Most experts define content marketing strategy as planning a blog and creating a calendar of sorts for the content you provide to your visitors and leads.
Content strategy is actually a lot more complex as it involves not only the planning of a company’s content, it also includes developing and managing every scrap of content offline as well as online. The more supercilious content strategists in the industry would consider it an affront to call them a mere content marketing strategist and believe it similar to describing Ludwig van Beethoven as a pianist.
4 – There Is a Set Length That Gets Best Results
There is research which shows short copy works best and other writings that suggest longer copy rules the roost. Some studies are quite specific and say that 2,000 words is the minimum length required because of Google’s ‘in-depth’ algorithm. The trouble with this school of thought is that I now have clients who are more concerned about word count than anything else to the point where goals are replaced by a desire to enjoy a good search engine ranking and PageRank.
The content of your posts will always be the most important aspect of content marketing and great content has the right tone, structure and compelling information that entertains and educates readers. Visitors to your website don’t care about the length of your posts and to be honest, neither does Google. The search engine giant is keen to improve user experience and one of the best ways to achieve this is by providing content that doesn’t make a person’s coffee break feel like a waste of time.
The length of a piece depends entirely on what you wish to achieve with it. Landing pages and sales letters are often longer; this is especially the case when you’re trying to sell an expensive product/service. If you want a reader to pay $300 for something, you better give them some good reasons for doing so. Yet other companies thrive on impulse purchases so they are short, snappy and to the point. They want a quick decision and write copy for that purpose. In the end, consider the purpose of your content and as long as that is achieved, word count is of secondary importance.
5 – More is better
A client of mine, Stuart L. Crawford of Inkbot Design, says that ‘less is more, more or less’ when it comes to design yet many content marketers seem to believe that the opposite is the case with content writing. Respected online publications such as HubSpot state that you need more landing pages as this will yield an increase in leads. While this is all well and good, most companies go to town creating dozens of pages but find that the quality is quickly diluted.
The fact of the matter is that content must fulfil the needs of your target audience and help your business achieve a certain objective. Creating daily blog posts that meet these criteria is a tough ask unless you have an army of high quality writers. Remember, your content reflects the kind of business you run; regular ‘fluff’ content makes you seem like a bargain basement enterprise while less frequent content with meaning and detail means you look more like a premium and exclusive brand. Publish as often as you have something meaningful to say, no more, no less.
Much of the content I see online really makes me want to scream ‘make the bad man stop’. Each time you post a worthless article, you’re placing another black mark against your company name. If you want to be associated with quality, focus more on informative content, don’t worry about length or frequency and promote the hell out of it. Above all, ignore all the myths about content marketing that persist and continue dragging companies further into the mire.