3 Myths About Content Marketing
I asked my LinkedIn network a question:
What comes to mind when someone tells you they are a content marketer?
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. ~Shae
A big beautiful content calendar that supports 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 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 responses — from a tactical calendar to a strategic output to lure in potential customers and accelerate the sales cycle.
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 like this:
Content is FUEL for growing your business.
Content Marketing is the CREATIVE activation of a STRATEGY and PLAN that runs on this FUEL.
And the best Content Marketing balances CREATIVITY with ANALYTICS.
Much like creativity is measured in various ways, content marketing has different 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. (Stay tuned for a future post in our Content Marketing series on How to Measure Content Marketing.)
Alright, let’s talk about content marketing myths. Whether you work in marketing, consider yourself a content marketer or simply appreciate the art of content creation, these myths are for you. Please add your comments below so we can build on this “Myth List:”
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 unique opportunities this presents (i.e. webinars and events) to the various formats, media types, and file outputs across a multitude of emerging channels.
Content marketing requires knowledge of how to write and create long-form content and then how to repurpose it into smaller bite-sized content assets. I’ve yet to mention the need for adherence to AP style or a brand’s tone and voice or the ability to manage multiple projects across different stages concurrently.
Content Marketing is an art and a science, 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.
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 (i.e. real content marketers) who ask the deeper questions…
Who is this content piece intended to reach?
What do we want people to do after engaging wotb this content?
Does the call to action encourage the right behavior?
How can this piece be repurposed for the Web? Email? Advertising? Sales enablement?
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. It worked because 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, it’s 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 and BUDGET you are willing to allocate to these efforts.
The first questions I usually ask when initiating a content marketing program include:
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
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 you can qualify leads more efficiently.
Is there anyone on your team with unique expertise that can help your company gain credibility? This helps to identify subject matter experts we can interview and begin to define the tone and approach of various outputs.
And there you have it: the first few Content Marketing myths we can bust.
What would you add? Please comment below.