Myths around content, marketing and content marketing fly around the internet just like that annoying fly that you can never seem to swat. You see it and hear it - but you can’t seem to make it disappear. Below are a few of the most common myths you may or may not have heard about content marketing. So get out your swatter, let’s make these myths go away for good:
1. Quantity over Quality
Back in the early days of blogging, you may have heard marketers screaming from their rooftops, “More, more more!”
These days it’s all about less.
For the purposes of this article, let’s assume that quality articles are sprinkled with heaping spoonfuls of:
These are non-negotiables when you write quality content.
The rise of too much content (known as Content Shock) leads to constant noise (due to too many status quo articles in the online world). This means that each piece of content that you publish needs to be, what I like to call: slow media. Slow media makes your customers laugh, think or challenge the status quo. It’s about producing content as smart as you can. If you produce multiple articles that are basic, you don’t elevate the conversation.
Status quo content is a risk for your brand and business.
Slow it down with smart, slow media (aka high-quality content).
When you write high-quality content, you set yourself apart from the flock of people (and businesses) that write for robots (see #3 below). Writing is a way to demonstrate how your company thinks and acts. If your content demonstrates that you think just like everyone else, you don’t give your audience a chance to invest in you and your ideas.
Your content marketing needs remarkable to stand out. And there are very few people who can consistently create quality content while simultaneously creating it in large amounts. If you’re going to choose one over the other, always (always!) make your article full of quality ideas.
2. Content marketing is a science
There’s a lot of information out there that supports the need to translate audience data to improve your content marketing strategy. While I fully support the need to translate data, the start of content marketing is in the art.
Here’s why: Each piece of content makes up a larger strategy that you cannot always see with science. Content that resonates with your audience is usually written with a lot of passion. Passion resonates. It’s emotional. You are reading the words of a writer and you’re (hopefully) drawn into a conversation or a mindset of how this person thinks. Good art does this: It drives conversation. Conversation creates connection. And connection drives business.
But here’s the rub: When you focus too intensely on the science (and the data) behind content marketing, you lose part of your art. You can use data to help your engagement. But try not to get too caught up in numbers and metrics so much that you lose your passion.
3. Content is written for search engines
If you remember one point out of this entire article, make it this one. Please, for the love of all of humanity, do not write on your website just for the robots. You are a human reading this. And you have human readers who visit your website.
Writing for robots is the equivalent of cooking a meal for a robot:
It’s entirely unnecessary.
Robots do not appreciate the food.
It ruins the mechanics behind what makes them great.
Your website is a way to connect. When you write for robots, your content becomes a way to disconnect (and it could possibly cause permanent damage to your brand).
4. The only reason to blog is to share company news
First of all, if you’re still calling it a “newsletter” you’re not alone. But this is the problem. The exact word “newsletter” makes it seem like you have news to share in a letter. But news is not what blogging is about.
It’s not your fault. Newsletters (and half of the rest of the world) have been stuck in 2005 since 2005. But here’s a secret: your audience most likely doesn’t care about the news that happens inside your organization. This is mostly because the news is written in the style of the Press Release, which is the antithesis of anything that sounds remotely human.
The truth is that unless your company is Google or SpaceX, most of your readers will not care about the latest happenings. Blogging, after all, is about sharing ideas - not company news.
Instead create content around conversations that need to happen in your industry. Write from a fresh perspective that showcases your company culture. Or share a story about the why behind what you do. When you make it less about you and your company “news”, your customers can more easily connect and engage with your company.
5. Anyone can write content
If you think you can tell your interns to write the content for your company blog, for the love of all that’s good in the world, please stop now. I’m not saying that all interns are bad writers. But you should have a high-level approach to your content strategy. Since interns typically do not have access to the big picture vision of your company, telling your intern to write a blog post is a mere tactic. This means that the chances that the piece of content will deliver results (via page views, more sales, or an engaged audience) is slim to none.
Content marketing requires a specific skillset. So instead, hire an innovative creative agency or a team of writers who understand the art of writing. It’s up to you and your organization to find the right people who can shape your story.
Understanding the difference between fact and fiction is not always easy. But once you swat away the (f)lies, you’ll be left with the truth behind what you do.
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