• Heather

3 Myths About Content Marketing

What comes to mind when someone tells you they are a content marketer?

I asked my LinkedIn and Facebook network and here were some of the responses:

Someone who can come up with an overall marketing strategy, execute that strategy, and read the results from that strategy and analyze it. In my opinion, everything organic digital marketing is content marketing because that’s what a good marketing strategy is these days. ~Shae

A big beautiful content calendar that works well for a well-planned content marketing strategy! With timelines and assignments on who does what. And measurable objectives! ~Allison

Someone who is expected to do all the things and then gets told how easy and froofy those things are by people who have absolutely no idea how to do those things. (Obviously, I too am a content marketer 😄). ~Ellyn

A person who uses content such as blogs, infographics, white papers etc to entice potential customers to move down the sales funnel until they buy something. ~Angela

And perhaps my favorite response of all time:

A unicorn. ~Alexis

As you can see, there’s quite a spectrum of answers. As someone who has lived and breathed content marketing for the better part of my career, I’ve found that the best way to approach content marketing is to frame it up like this:

Content is FUEL.
Content Marketing is the CREATIVE activation of a STRATEGY and PLAN that requires FUEL.
And the best Content Marketing begins and ends with CREATIVITY.

I’ll also flag that much like creativity is measured in various ways, content marketing has various measurement frameworks, too. We’ll address appropriate content measurement frameworks another day but suffice it to say that there is not a one-size-fits-all approach or one right way to measure the real value of content. (Stay tuned for a future post in our Content Marketing series on How to Measure Content Marketing.)

Alright, so back to the topic du jour: myths. Whether you work in marketing, are a content marketer yourself or simply appreciate the art of content marketing, these myths are for you. Please add your comments below and by all means, let’s add to this “Myth List” together, shall we?!?

Myth #1. Content Marketing is easy to do. Riiiiiight. 😊

To be fair, easy does mean different things to different people. Content Marketing certainly isn’t a precision craft like brain surgery or landing a rocket on the moon but content marketing is far from easy. In fact, it takes quite a wide-ranging skillset to effectively do the job end-to-end.

From understanding the business strategy and the opportunities that presents to the various formats, media types, and file outputs. It requires knowing how to create or curate short- and long-form content and then breaking those into smaller bite-sized content “carrots” for promotion. Plus, there’s the plethora of platforms and publishing opportunities to track on top of thoughtfully transforming a topic into text on glass, a podcast and a video series. And I’ve yet to mention the need for adherence to AP grammar or managing multiple projects in tandem or somehow pulling all of the components together to meet deadlines.

Content Marketing is an art and Content Marketers are very much like unicorns in that finding one who can span strategy to tactics and creative design to analytical precision is elusive, rare, and a valuable resource should you find one. (If you are a business lucky enough to snag one of these unicorns, do them a solid and compensate them accordingly.)

Myth #2. Content Marketing is cheap.

Like most things in life, you get what you pay for. And there are a lot of people willing to “write a blog” for pennies on the dollar. It’s harder to find folks (real content marketers) who ask the deeper questions… who is the piece intended to reach, what should the primary call to action be or how can this piece be repurposed for teasers or driving a lead toward conversion.

In my previous role as Head of Content Marketing for an education company, we found the best combination was a bench of freelance writers paired with in-house content marketers. The marketer understands the art and makes the fuel go farther. 🔥

So while I agree that you can get super efficient with your content creation and curation practices, it’s factually not true to say content marketing is cheap. You can do it cheaply, but buyer beware.😊

Myth #3. Content Marketing is hard to start.

On the contrary, you can get started pretty easily. The hardest part is outlining what you want to share and what you want to get out of your efforts. This varies so much depending on your business, whether you are selling direct to consumers or to businesses, and how much TIME you are willing to allocate to these efforts.

The first questions I usually ask when initiating a content marketing program include:

  1. How can you help your customers better understand what you offer? This helps you begin to define your content pillars. We then do some competitive intel and preliminary SEO keyword research to identify low-hanging fruit, i.e. the best topics to address.

  2. What are the top three reasons your sales team loses a sale? This ensures you address “the No’s” which are the reasons people won’t continue down the path of conversion. The best content marketing programs address these head on so Sales has quality messaging and your lead qualification gets optimized.

  3. Is there anyone on your team with unique expertise that can help your business/firm/company gain credibility? This helps to identify subject matter experts we can interview and begin to define the tone and approach of various outputs.

Obviously, we have only scratched the surface on Content Marketing but hopefully you found these mythbusters helpful.

What myths about Content Marketing would you add? Please comment below.

And, as always, if you want someone to take a look at your existing program, make recommendations or help you elevate its effectiveness, let me know.

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