Skip through these nine core content marketing myths

30 second recap:

  • Content does not equal authority: Creating content does not automatically make you an authority
  • Automation is good but don’t hinder creativity and experience with clever AI tools
  • Not all of your content will rank or go viral, but it will help you understand and strategize based on your target audience

Are you satisfied with the performance of your content marketing strategy?

Chances are you (or your marketing team) are making mistakes, and from experience, those mistakes are often critical.

Content marketing is more than content that ranks — it’s the most effective way to promote your brand.

However there are too many myths that prevent your content marketing strategy from working.

Here are the most common:

Producing content makes me an authority

It’s still surprisingly widespread: someone publishes their first article and expects to wake up famous.

Just because you produce content doesn’t make you an authority in your industry.

To do this, you must regularly produce top-notch content and be cited by other authorities as a reliable source. It’s not the fact of the content, it’s the type of content.

Just a blog

Having a blog is a good first step in content marketing.

But too many companies start blogs just because their competitors have.

If there is no planning or strategy, there is no point in having a blog. Think of your blog as a pillar of your content marketing strategy. It is a central platform for publishing original content to showcase thought leadership and build authority.

But just like building a house, your strategy needs more pillars or it will collapse. Assuming your blog is all you need is a mistake.

The first question to ask yourself before starting a blog is “why?” Define your goals and go from there. Plan your content using keyword research and analysis, include your customer support to better understand your customers’ needs, using surveys, etc. Blogging requires a lot of planning.

More is more

If you see the benefit of producing a single piece of content, how much more attention would you get if you produced dozens of them very quickly?

It’s a risky strategy because you could overwhelm your audience with too much stuff. And if you’re so focused on quantity that you forget about quality, the content will actually hurt your reputation and rankings (Google now insists on useful content, meaning content quality is crucial).

A better option? Produce well-researched and authoritative content at regular intervals to boost your reputation and increase conversions. If you can, delegate content creation to your team members. You’ll be surprised at how much talent you already have at your company.

Don’t post more content than you have time to promote.

Automation can’t hurt me

Don’t get me wrong here: some forms of automation are useful and sometimes even necessary. You can’t be successful in email marketing without using automation to personalize it. Similarly, web analytics reporting and monitoring usually involve some level of automation.

Automation is dangerous when you start automating human interactions or creative processes. Yes, AI can now automate content creation but it is detectable (and probably soon punishable).

Over-programming and over-automation can definitely hurt too. Sure, it makes sense to schedule content for times when you’re not available, but showing up and being there to talk is what builds the relationship.

Unless you’re already a mega-brand, if every tweet or share is automated, you’ll see the results in less engagement.

If something works, why change it

Content marketing is one of the fastest marketing channels. What worked yesterday may actually hurt you today.

Too many companies cling to their old marketing tactics for too long. Yes, a decade ago a mediocre 300 word article might very well rank if you bought a couple of backlinks to it, but those days are long gone and both of these tactics could actually get your site flagged and filtered today.

Continue to educate yourself, discover new tactics, and monitor for what is no longer acceptable. When it comes to corporate and brand-driven blogs, building trust is far more important than quick wins.

Content marketing is about advertising

Content does not translate into incessant promotion of your products and services.

Content marketing is supposed to deliver something useful to the people who take your content.

Don’t worry; you are allowed to use soft sell, for example in white papers where you identify a problem and show how your product can solve it.

In other words, you can build a conversion funnel from your content, but it will be a longer funnel from your commercial landing page. Instead of selling something right away, you’ll probably need to give away downloadable content or entice your reader to become your subscriber.

Content marketing is about building links

Content marketing is all about providing great content that builds authority and helps customers make favorable decisions about your brand, product or service.

Of course, if you create great content, other people will think it’s worth talking about and will link back to your site. Focus on creating content with depth, interest, and relevance to users, and you’ll gain authority, search engine visibility, and backlinks.

Content is only successful if it goes viral

Everyone dreams of creating a piece of viral content, but don’t worry if you can’t. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t mean your content marketing campaign is a failure.

Measure your success by the amount of attention you get for your products, services and brands.

As long as you achieve these goals, your content marketing campaign is a success. Virality, if it happens, is only a fringe benefit.

Content marketing is easy

This is the biggest myth of all.

Sure, if you equate content marketing with just blogging or just social media, you might think it’s easy to do. But it’s not. Successful content marketing is all about thinking about content types and goals so that you get the most benefit from your efforts.

It’s not easy, but that’s why the rewards are so great for people who get it and get it right.

Ann Smarty is the founder of Viral Content Bee, Brand and Community manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas. She can be found on Twitter @seosmarty.

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