With nine out of 10
business-to-business marketers counting on content marketing tactics, it's no wonder the approach is getting so much attention on blogs, in traditional media, and on the social Web.
Along with the increased popularity of content, opportunists have aligned themselves with the topic of "content marketing," even though their offerings are only remotely related. As it was with websites in the 1990s, SEO in the early 2000s, and social media over the past five years, so-called experts have begun pontificating based on thin air, obscure experiences, and self-interest.
To help distill the signal from the noise, here are three myths about content marketing, busted to give companies a clearer picture of reality when it comes to effective content marketing.
Myth 1: Content marketing simply means creating more content
A misperception for many marketers new to content marketing is that adding more content leads to improved business outcomes. When Google launched its Panda Update to filter out poor quality and thin content from search results, many members of the SEO community clamored to produce more content for the search engine rather than providing information focused on the target audience.
Myth busted: Quality, not quantity, rules the day when it comes to high-value, high-impact content marketing—but there's nothing like a quantity of high quality to win the week, month, and year. Content marketing is based on creating useful information that meets the needs of the people the brand is trying to connect with. Relevancy, timeliness, context, and utility all combine to create incredibly productive content marketing efforts. More is not necessarily better.
Myth 2: High-quality content is not sustainable
Fear of not being able to maintain high levels of content production is a reasonable concern, but not for companies that are connected to sources that matter most: their customers. Company reps who fear running out of interesting things to say have bigger issues to solve than writing their next blog post. About one-sixth of the daily queries on Google have never been seen before, so there is plenty of opportunity to diversify key topics with empathy towards the voice of the customer.
Myth Busted: Connect with front-line customer service and sales staff to uncover important questions that, when answered, can lead to improved consideration, purchase, retention, and advocacy within your market. Tapping into the themes and topics of importance to our community means you will never run out of meaningful ideas for your content creation efforts.
Myth 3: A piece of content has only one life
Many companies approach content marketing by publishing singular content objects and promoting through distribution channels such as email, RSS, PR, advertising, and social media. The investment in time and money into just one instance of a key story or message is akin to throwing money away and leaving the rest on the table for your competition.
Myth busted: Content planning should include the repurposing of evergreen and co-created content. Break big topics down into a series to attract attention and inspire anticipation for the next content object. That means a series of blog posts, infographics, webinars, whitepapers, press releases, videos, or case studies. Then repurpose those content objects into new forms to give your audience information in a format that better connects with their consumption preferences.
Content used for marketing purposes only works when it's useful to the people who consume, share, and act on it. Without fears or misperceptions in the way, businesses can achieve a 360-degree array of benefits including awareness, interest, consideration, purchase, retention, and advocacy with a thoughtful approach to content marketing.
Lee Odden is CEO of TopRank Online Marketing and Editor at Online Marketing Blog, where this article originally ran. Follow him on Twitter @leeodden