Whether it’s through blog posts, social media content or videos, any brand marketing itself online needs a solid content marketing strategy.
But despite its importance, I’ve seen many marketers struggling to get results from their content marketing campaigns.
In fact, the Content Marketing Institute found that only 34 percent of B2B marketers believe they have a mature and sophisticated content marketing strategy in place. And only 36 percent of B2C marketers share the same belief.
This goes to show that a lot of marketers in different industries are still struggling to develop high-quality, effective content marketing campaigns.
The problem is that many marketing professionals are held back by misconceptions about content marketing. Since they’re so sure that these misconceptions are true, they fail to optimize their content marketing strategies effectively.
I’ve listed some common content marketing misconceptions that you should be aware of, and what you should be doing instead.
Misconception #1: It’s Enough to Create Lots of Content
Every good content marketer knows that it’s crucial to keep your content fresh. You should produce fresh content consistently to keep your audience engaged.
But the need for fresh content compels some content marketers to produce lots of content, even if it means sacrificing quality. Quantity should never be put before quality when it comes to content production.
It doesn’t matter if you publish a new blog post every day. If all of those posts are poorly written and edited, with typos and irrelevant information, you’re going to lose the interest of your readers. In turn, you will also lose out on potential customers.
What to Do Instead
While it’s important to produce content consistently, you shouldn’t bite off more than you can chew.
In the CMI studies, 70 percent each of B2B marketers and B2C marketers expressed their intention to focus on content quality over quantity.
It’s best to experiment and then make adjustments to your content production strategy as you go. Start off by producing one high-quality blog post every week, for instance. If you think you can handle more, make a plan to produce two of them every week.
You could even accept high-quality blog posts from guest contributors in your industry. The CrazyEgg blog, for instance, regularly publishes posts written by “eggsperts” such as myself.
So, what do we mean by high-quality posts? Good posts should:
- Offer useful, actionable takeaways and relevant information to help readers tackle their challenges
- Be free of any grammatical errors, spelling errors or typos
- Be optimized for search engines; this is especially important if you want your blog posts to help you with conversions
- Contain relevant keywords that your audience is likely to search for at regular intervals
- Include keyword-optimized meta descriptions and alt text for images
But it’s not just blog posts that you need to think about. You’ll have to manage your social media accounts and create posts to engage your audience on those platforms, as well.
Consider all of these necessities and come up with a basic content calendar that you can adjust along the way. You can use this really helpful guide I found on creating a content marketing calendar from CoSchedule.
Misconception #2: It’s Enough to Simply Produce Quality Content
Although I’ve just discussed the importance of producing quality content, it’s also important to remember that it doesn’t end there. Some content marketers believe that their work is done just by creating high-quality, fact-based content that their audience will love.
This is only one aspect of a successful content marketing strategy. Just because your content is high-quality doesn’t mean that it’ll become popular overnight.
If the people who are supposed to appreciate it don’t see it, how will they love it and share it? You need to get the content to them first to make sure they read it, love it and share it with their friends.
That’s where content promotion and distribution come in. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques and PPC ads are great at directing more traffic to your content, but they’re not the best ways to engage your audience.
You need people to read your content, but you need them share and comment on it, too. That means you have to be active on social media.
Check out this content distribution chart from Outbrain to understand the process better.
What to Do Instead
According to the CMI studies, content distribution is among the top three factors that contribute to increased content marketing success for both B2B and B2C marketers. It involves improved audience targeting to ensure your content is seen by people who are most likely to value it.
But with the sheer number of social media platforms out there, managing content distribution can be cumbersome. Here’s where tools like Sprout Social can help you better manage your social media marketing efforts.
This tool lets you plan a publishing schedule to share your content consistently. You can also keep an eye on your post performances and determine what works.
You’ll be able to see which pieces your audience likes the most, when they engage with your content, etc. Using that data, you can make adjustments to your content distribution strategy accordingly.
I would also recommend you go a step further and get your employees engaged in your content distribution efforts.
We already know that people trust other people more than they trust brands, so your employees are the perfect channel for making a personal connection with your audience.
Companies like United Airlines have seen growth with the help of employee advocacy on social media. To further improve the effectiveness of your employee advocacy efforts, manage your program using tools like Smarp.
Smarp is a platform that allows your employees to discover the latest news and updates about your business. They can then share the content they like right from the platform to their chosen social networks.
I particularly like the gamification feature of Smarp, which can help you motivate your employees to participate in the advocacy program.
You can design a system where they can collect points to claim rewards or use for donations. This feature adds a fun factor to the whole program and may encourage more employees to get involved in sharing your content.
You can also monitor the effectiveness of your program using the analytics feature. This lets you identify your top-performing content, earned media value and most influential users.
Using those insights, you should be able to tell just how well your content distribution strategy is working.
Misconception #3: Content Equals Blog Posts Only
When you talk about content, the first thing that comes to mind for most people is blog posts. That doesn’t mean people consider blog posts the only content format available. They just assume it’s the only content format they should prioritize. Blog posts are perfect for providing detailed information and instructions, after all.
But what if blog posts are not the ideal form of content for your business? Perhaps your products are better served through images or videos. If so, you shouldn’t put all your eggs in the blog basket.
It never hurts to broaden your horizons and experiment with other content formats. You never know which one would be most effective for engaging your audience and marketing your products.
What to Do Instead
There are plenty of content formats through which you can communicate your message. While blog posts should still play an important role in your content strategy, you should consider experimenting with visual content formats.
According to eMarketer, almost 75 percent of internet users in the U.S. look for visual content before they make a purchase. Try converting your data and important insights into attractive infographics, for instance.
You can also experiment with videos, podcasts, ebooks, webinars or gifographics. You can even distribute your content in the form of online courses. Use platforms like Podia to create and customize online courses that will attract and engage your target audience.
Misconception #4: Content Marketing Is Only Suitable for Certain Businesses
Some companies may be distancing themselves from content marketing just because they think it’s not suitable for their business.
They are under the impression that their industry is way too “boring” for engaging content creation. So they leave content marketing to the fun, consumer-centric businesses without even making an attempt.
What to Do Instead
It doesn’t matter if your business deals in something as mundane as tires or home cleaning services. Your content doesn’t necessarily have to focus on your core business.
Give yourself room for creativity and see how you can create content that appeals to and engages your audience.
For instance, if you’re a home cleaning service, you don’t have to write about about your company’s services only. Try writing about different cleaning products people should avoid using around pets or children, for example.
Bissell doesn’t stick to content about their vacuum cleaners and home-cleaning products. They’ve created some fun, clever content loosely based on cleaning, including a Spotify playlist that readers can use when cleaning their homes.
Misconception #5: The Main Purpose of Content Marketing Is to Drive Sales
Every business wants to boost revenue, so it’s not surprising that many businesses execute content marketing campaigns for the sole purpose of driving sales.
Then they get disappointed when they don’t see the sales flowing in overnight and assume their efforts aren’t paying off. In reality, they’re failing to measure other important performance metrics.
You may have a hard time making sales through content that’s solely focused on convincing people to buy. People know when they’re being sold to. So even if you want to make sales through your content, you should craft content that establishes the value of your products or services.
What to Do Instead
You need to start looking at the long-term benefits of content marketing for your business. Other than sales, how else is your content marketing effort paying off?
To give you an idea, 51 percent of B2B marketers and 58 percent of B2C marketers have been able to use content marketing to increase sales.
But the biggest impact is on audience engagement, with 77 percent of B2B marketers and 79 percent of B2C marketers seeing improvement.
Additionally, content marketing has helped increase leads for 72 percent of B2B marketers and 65 percent of B2C marketers. Broaden your focus and consider the other ways in which you can benefit from content marketing.
In other words, have a set of KPIs (key performance indicators) that you should use for measuring the success of your efforts — beyond sales.
Remember: A highly engaged audience is likely to pay attention to what you have to say, and this audience is more likely to process the product or service information you’re providing.
These are five of the most common content marketing misconceptions that marketers have about content marketing.
Following my simple tips for optimizing your content strategy should help you to avoid them in your own content marketing strategy.