As content marketing gets more popular, people are coming up with their own notions of what everyone should be doing.
A lot of these notions are myths, and if you keep following them, you will hurt your traffic.
Here are the seven myths you should be avoiding-and what you should be doing instead:
Myth No. 1: Everyone should have a blog.
Having a blog isn’t for everyone. Sure, it can help drive more traffic to your business, but the big problem with creating one is time commitment.
If you can’t blog on a consistent basis, your blog won’t be popular. It doesn’t matter how great your content is. Unless you can crank out good content weekly, you’ll see a huge traffic drop when you slow down or stop blogging.
At one point, I used to blog four to give times a month, and my traffic looked like this:
Then I decided to stop blogging for a period of 30 days, and my traffic tanked:
That 21 percent drop happened because I got lazy. When I started blogging again, it took three months for my traffic to return to where it was.
If you don’t have time, don’t start a blog. If you already have, just stop blogging. Instead, consider guest-posting on other popular blogs. All you have to do is follow these steps, and your content will be published on some of the most popular blogs.
Myth No. 2: You should republish your guest posts on your own blog and on LinkedIn.
Why not republish your content as many places as possible? It’s a simple way for you to generate more traffic and exposure, right?
We did this at KISSmetrics. Can you guess what happened to our search traffic? It tanked by 225,418 visitors.
We got hit by a Panda update, which caused our search traffic to plummet.
So yes, although it sounds like a great idea, the penalty you incur will lose you more traffic than you gain from the republishing of your content.
Instead of trying to republish your content, focus on picking the right spot. Choose the blog that you think is the best for each piece of content you write, and publish it only on that site.
Myth No. 3: Longer is better.
I used to be a big believer in this approach to post writing. Heck, I used to even blog on how your meaty content can help you capture search traffic.
Then Upworthy came out. It showed us that not only can you get millions of visitors a month to your site with fewer than 100 words per blog post but that you can also rank for competitive keywords like “tattoos” with that strategy.
You don’t need text-heavy blog posts, especially if you are writing for consumers. Sure, if you are writing for businesspeople, you should consider writing longer posts as it will help build trust, garner more backlinks, and improve your rankings.
Focus on quality. Having high-quality videos, podcasts, and images is a simple way to gain more social media and search traffic. Just look at Upworthy’s growth. It’s grown faster than any other blog without writing thousand-word posts.
Myth No. 4: B2C and B2B content marketing strategies are the same.
Content marketing isn’t the same for a consumer blog as it is for a business blog. Consumers prefer shorter content and content with more visuals, emotions, and trendy information.
Businesspeople, on the other hand, want “how-to” articles—dry, informative pieces that inspire action. They want to be able to read an article, apply its advice to their business, and see improvement.
There are many differences between B2C and B2B content marketing. Follow this checklist to see you what you should do if you have a B2C or B2B blog.
Just don’t use B2B strategies on consumer blogs, as you’ll probably bore your readers to death.
Myth No. 5: Post the most popular piece of content on your site.
Why would you post the most popular piece of content on your site? Because you want more traffic, backlinks, and higher rankings, right?
Sure, it will help your blog grow, but what if I told you that you would get 10 times, if not 100 times, the reach if you posted your best articles on someone else’s blog?
Don’t take my word for it. Look at Aaron from Louder Online. When he blogs on marketing-related topics, he gets 1,000 to 1,500 visitors to one of his blog posts.
When we published The Complete Guide to Personal Branding—which he co-wrote with me—on Quick Sprout instead of on his blog, we were able to generate 126,304 views within 30 days.
He got 82 times more exposure that way. The exposure has helped him become a blogger on other popular industry blogs such as Search Engine Journal and Mixergy. Plus, he got a $5,000 a month client-all from posting on Quick Sprout.
If you want to build up your own blog, you should. But consider posting your best pieces of content on someone else’s blog, as it will help you gain exposure and let you tap into an audience that you didn’t have access to before.
Myth No. 6: Content marketing is successful only when you can trace it back to sales.
In an ideal world, it would be great if you generated sales each time you wrote a blog post—but that is very rare.
Unless you blog about case studies like I Will Teach You to Be Rich does, you’ll find that most of your posts won’t increase your revenue.
It’s hard to monetize blog posts directly, which is why we don’t do it at KISSmetrics. Nor does Moz. What we’ve found is that blogging is a great way to build a loyal audience. Eventually that loyal audience will think: “These KISSmetrics people have great content. I wonder what their product looks like.”
We’ve found that if we can get a blog reader to come back to us three times, he or she is highly likely to become a customer. That is why we collect emails and go for the indirect conversion.
Even if you can’t tie blogging back to direct conversions, that doesn’t mean it isn’t working. There is value in building your brand and gaining readers’ loyalty. Plus, if you build a big audience, as KISSmetrics and Moz have done, you’ll find that your blog will generate most of your signups once you hit 500,000 visitors a month.
Myth No. 7: More content means more reach.
Huffington Post, TechCrunch, and Mashable are all good examples of blogs that consistently crank out lots of content. This strategy has helped them each get over 5 million visitors a month.
So, this means you should write a lot of content to extend your reach, right? No, it doesn’t.
Why? Because first, you have to perfect the art of writing high-quality content. If you crank out a lot of crap content, your traffic won’t go up. Instead, you’ll get hit with a Google penalty.
Focus on writing high-quality content first. Once you figure out that process, write tons of content. But without the quality, more won’t equal a bigger reach.
Just because people have blogs doesn’t mean they are experts in content marketing.
Be careful whom you choose to follow online. Some people will give you advice that will help you grow; others will give you advice that may get you penalized.
If you stop following the myths above, your social media and search traffic will increase over time.
A version of this article first appeared on QuickSprout.