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!