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Three Content Marketing Myths That Drive Me Crazy

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More companies than ever these days understand the value of content marketing. Of course, there’s also plenty of back and forth about what the term content marketing actually means.

Part of the problem is that content marketing is only one of many terms that folks use to describe their marketing efforts. There’s plenty of overlap with such phrases as inbound marketing, social media marketing, brand journalism, and so on, with proponents for each phrase drawing lines in the sand for what means what.

Definitions are constantly changed and challenged, and some folks have been left with a somewhat false view of content marketing is as a result.

Here are the three content marketing myths that frustrate me the most.

Myth #1: Content Marketing Is All About Blogging


Plenty of people out there equate content marketing to just having a company blog page. (The number of folks believing this is shrinking.) And though I won’t deny that a good blog can often be the cornerstone of a great content strategy, the terms "content marketing" and "blogging" are hardly interchangeable.

What more organizations are realizing now is that content is everywhere, and blogging is only one tool for creating and sharing that content with your audiences.

A well-planned content strategy moves beyond the blog to take advantage of all the different content assets and channels at your disposal.

Videos can be posted to YouTube and embedded on company web pages.

Original e-books can be written and used in email marketing campaigns.

Customer testimonials can be repurposed and used by sales reps as they move prospects further down the sales funnel.

None of those tactics have anything to do with a company’s blog page, yet each one falls comfortably into the realm of effective content marketing.

Myth #2: Content Marketing Can’t Be Promotional


That myth has largely been driven by content marketing’s emphasis on thought leadership content, particularly as a tool for raising brand awareness and attracting more inbound traffic to a company’s website. That is all true, of course, but it’s caused some people to falsely assume that creating content that mentions a company’s product or services is a major content marketing no-no---which is simply untrue.

Once again, a well-rounded content plan goes beyond the limitations of a single strategy to use a variety of content types, depending on the goals and audiences you are trying to reach. Non-promotional thought leadership content provides a great way to build credibility and attract new potential customers, but as you transition those prospects into sales opportunities, the content you present to them should evolve as well.

As noted above, customer testimonials that highlight the benefits of your products or services are great resources to share with interested prospects deep in the sales cycle. You could also create promotional content to aid the lead-qualification process. For example, whitepapers or video presentations focused on use cases for a specific vertical or industry can be used in campaigns geared toward those target audiences. Lead qualifiers or business development reps can use analytics to track which leads represent the best sales opportunities based on how they reacted to the content.

Content marketing resources like those might not fit into the typical blog mold, but they can be a valuable part of your overall content strategy just the same.

Myth #3. Content Marketers Don't Care About Sales


That myth is probably the most ridiculous of all. Sadly, some people out there will tell you that content marketers are only interested in raising traffic, not generating new business. To that comment, I say, “Well then, they aren’t very good content marketers!”

While traffic is certainly an important metric when monitoring the success of your content strategy, the goal isn’t to simply become super-popular. The goal is to use that popularity to increase opportunities and make more money. Otherwise, you would just have “content” without the “marketing.”

Good content marketers have a strategy behind everything they create. Sometimes, the goal is to draw attention to calls to action to encourage customer engagement. Other times, it’s to gather leads via an online web form or through marketing automation. And even other times,content marketing is about preparing sales teams with information that they can use to educate and inform their clients.

These are just three of the myths that drive me crazy. Agree? Disagree? Have another one that I missed? Sound off in the comments and share your thoughts!





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Brendan Cournoyer is a content marketing manager at Brainshark, Inc. You can follow him on Twitter at @brencournoyer.

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  • by Jeff Machado Tue Nov 13, 2012 via blog

    Only thing I would add to this is the myth that content marketing only takes place online. There are many times where handing someone an actual printed piece can move a prospect further down the sales funnel. Plus, I think many prospects would value a printed piece more than just a PDF.

    Of course, being online vs offline is just an offshoot of the usual advice - give your prospects what they want!

  • by Brendan Cournoyer Tue Nov 13, 2012 via blog

    Great point Jeff. I think a lot of people hear "print" and immediately disregard it, but there are lots of different ways to use printed materials for content marketing. Having hard copy assets can be especially useful at trade shows, conferences and events, just to name one example.

  • by Rachel Bryant Tue Nov 13, 2012 via blog

    Brendan - appreciate the piece. Another "myth" I'd throw out is that outbound is dead. I hear many individuals within the content marketing space (especially those selling inbound software and services) tauting this idea that traditional forms of marketing (print ads, radio, tv, print, etc.) are obsolete. But I would argue highly against that. What is important to understand is that "new" methods of marketing - as you say above: inbound, social, journalism, etc. - mixed strategically with traditional forms are what make for an effective marketing mix. Marketers will not be able to reach all of their prospects utilizing one philosophy or another. A coordinated mix of communication channels is key to a quality marketing plan. Let's not throw the baby out with the bath water.

  • by Mike Quill Wed Nov 14, 2012 via blog

    Brendan...thanks for posting these great insights on content marketing. I find most of my clients appreciate how important proof points like testimonials are to their marketing message. However, some of them find it difficult to ask for testimonials. If your readers are interested, they can go to my blog post on tips for requesting. http://www.affinitymarketingandsales.com/tips-requesting-testimonials/

  • by Brendan Cournoyer Wed Nov 14, 2012 via blog

    Folks taunting "outbound is dead" -- hmm, who could you possibly be referring to? ha ;) I agree completely. I've actually seen articles describing certain strategies as inbound that I've always considered to be outbound concepts, so it's really all blending together again anyway. But I think what you call something our how you label it is isn't nearly as important as what you're doing. Businesses don't generally care about the difference between content marketing or inbound or outbound -- they just want to do what WORKS. And just because something is considered "traditional marketing" doesn't mean its dead. What I don't like is when, like you said, people disparage one concept just to build up another. That doesn't help anyone.

  • by Rachel Bryant Wed Nov 14, 2012 via blog

    Well said Brendan. What works is all that matters.

  • by Volker Schnaars Sat Nov 17, 2012 via blog

    Fully agree with you Brendan. Your post has really struck a chord with me. I also suppport what Rachel pointed out, that content marketing should be mixed strategically with traditional forms.
    Very rarely a new tool has completely replaced its predecessors. What a new tool does is changing the way the predecessors are used. Often the old and the new combined become more strong. The saying: "The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.", is true for marketing, too. The goal of marketing is to create resonance within the buyers group that leads to sales. That´s what remarkable content marketing should aim for.

  • by Madusha Mon Nov 19, 2012 via blog

    Agree with Jeff. Give what customers want. The most important mantra. And the content could be anything to make your customers need or want to hear. No need to be so uptight when it comes to content. Go easy and make a point. A little fun, serious, important and an interesting conversation would do.

  • by Ben Bradley Wed Sep 25, 2013 via blog

    Hi Brendan - great post here! I agree with those 3! I recently wrote a similar post - with the 3 most common myths I come against (and these 3 are different from the above) check it out!

    http://b2bbradley.blogspot.com/2013/08/3-myths-of-inbound-and-content-marketing.html

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