Content Marketing is nothing new. It’s as old as Santa Claus, at least the fat, bearded version in red bathrobe that Coca-Cola helped shape the Image of in their marketing in the 1930’s. But in its digital form, Content Marketing is still at an infant stage, full of teething problems and myths. The sooner we get rid of those myths, the faster we can move on to what might be the most rewarding era ever in marketing, for both consumers and businesses, with great content and intelligent distribution.
Here are the top 5 myths we should bust right now:
1. “MY TYPE OF BUSINESS WON’T BENEFIT FROM CONTENT MARKETING”
This statement is typically followed by explanations, such as “our customers only care about the price” or “as long as we rank high on Google, customers will come”. Not true! Especially not in a digital world. Think about IKEA. They’re most known for their low prices, but there are certainly other values too that make people travel far to visit their warehouses: free parking, friendly staff, Swedish meatballs in the restaurant, hot dogs after checkout etc, all live experiences contributing to the IKEA story. But how do you recreate life and blood experiences like that in online store? Your best option will be storytelling and content marketing.
Let’s take another example, Airbnb. What is Airbnb? From a pure physical standpoint it’s a bunch of servers (hosted by Amazon) helping people find a cheap alternative to hotels. But that’s not the message Airbnb chose to spread. Instead they tell stories of life and travel, inspiring people to see the world and get more personal experiences.
Conclusion: If online is a growing part of your business, storytelling and Content Marketing is the best way to differentiate yourself from the competition, no matter what industry you’re in.
2. “CONTENT MARKETING DOESN’T DRIVE SALES”
Of course it does! Not instantly, but content marketing is tightly connected to brand awareness, which has a direct effect on sales because consumers are much more likely to buy from brands they recognize and trust. And brand awareness isn’t just whether your target group knows your name, it’s about how well they understand what makes your brand unique. Content Marketing allows you to show customers who your company is and what your brand represents.
If you are a hard-core SEO believer, please also remember: companies with strong brands will be more clicked on Google, even if they are not ranked #1 or #2.
3. “MY BUSINESS IS BORING–WE HAVE NO INTERESTING STORIES TO TELL”
I often hear this from marketers in B2B companies, who have struggled long to describe their products or services in an interesting way. Truth is that I’ve never met a company so boring that they have no stories to tell. But to make yourself interesting you might need to change perspective. A typical mistake companies do is to think from inside out: “what can we tell about our products?”, instead of the opposite: “what do people want to hear from us?”. If you don’t know the answer, go ahead and ask them, or find an expert who can help you.
Another mistake among B2B companies is to just talk about how they help their customers. Instead they should tell stories about how their products help serving the customers’ customers better. Put your company in that context and your audience will be much more eager to hear what you have to say.
4. “GREAT CONTENT SPEAKS FOR ITSELF!”
In the early days of digital marketing, chances were good people would find your campaigns or your content on their own, as long as you delivered quality. These days are gone. There’s so much great content flying around that you need a smart distribution strategy to make sure you get the audience you deserve. This strategy should probably includes Search, Social and Content Discovery platforms:
Search (Google): Great for driving visitors who know what they’re looking for. But if you want less forward-leaning users to find your content, then you must complement your distribution.
Social (Facebook): Great for short, shareable content engaging people. But for longer or more complex stories, you should complement with less snack-consumption-oriented distribution.
Content Discovery (Strossle): Great for inspiring people and driving visitors to longer form content. You will see results in form of high share of new visitors and long time spent.
5. “QUANTITY IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN QUALITY.”
If you hear someone say this, or offer similar “truths” such as “Long pieces of content is better than short”, you should be careful. Such advice are supposed to help you optimize your content for Google ranking. Top ranking is of course great, but these advice will easily backfire. Let me give you two examples:
- Instead of investing time in producing one quality article that people really would like to read, you might end up producing three pieces of crap.
- Instead of adapting the length after how much you have to say, you lose readers by making even simple stories unbearably long
Trying to optimize for Google is a perpetual mission, since they change their algorithms every now and then. Instead you should focus on producing quality content that gives your audience what they are looking for. That will never be out of fashion, nor with Google.
Need more tips? Read this blog post: 'Newsworthy' - Your Shortcut to Relevant Content Production