We have to admit that we love content marketing. It’s a necessary part of modern digital marketing plans. Yet there are still many myths about content marketing that keep businesses from going all-in on the strategy. So we want to take some time to bust them so you can get a better understanding of how content marketing can help your company stay competitive in today’s modern digital marketing environment.
Content marketing is like any marketing tool. It has to prove its ROI. You can waste money on traditional advertising, SEO, PPC, or any other marketing technique. Any marketing agency or a tool has to prove its worth. But there is nothing inherent in content marketing that makes it more or less expensive than other marketing efforts. Plus, content marketing pieces can often be transformed into other pieces of marketing collateral, saving the cost of hiring a writer to create them.
The only way content marketing is free is if you do it all yourself. Not everyone can write good content, nor has the time to do so. Most business owners will need to hire someone who can write to create a quality content marketing campaign. Graphic designers and photographers may also be necessary to provide photos. A videographer will be needed if you want to get into video content marketing. These all cost money.
Again, it all comes down to ROI. If you can make significant profits off of your marketing materials it will be worth it to hire someone to do it right. Make sure you can make the best first impression by creating professional pieces.
If your concept of content marketing only goes to blog posts, you may be right. But content marketing is more than just blog posts. All industries want to consume some kind of content. News articles, infographics, white papers, case studies, video tutorials, and other pieces of content all fall under the content marketing umbrella. Blog posts are the easiest to make so they get the most coverage. But if you’re in an industry that relies on white papers for information, why not make those the focus of your content marketing campaign? Give your audience what they want to see.
Oh, if we had a dollar for every time that someone said this to one of our customers! There’s a reason it’s called a content marketing campaign. One piece of content will not cut it. Even if you got incredibly lucky and your first post went viral, that wouldn’t be enough to sustain attention.
Good content marketing is like building and feeding a fire. It takes work over time. And the heat from that fire has to be channeled toward whatever you are using your content marketing for. Whether you want traffic, information conversions, sales, or something else entirely, one piece isn’t enough.
There are three main types of responses to pieces. Some get no response from your audience. Some get an initial spike of interest then die down and become ignored over time. A much smaller number get attention over the long term. Content marketers study trends in creating the third type of posts as often as possible. It requires knowledge of an industry and the audience of a company. There are no guarantees that a piece of content will grow in readership over time.
If your idea of a quality response to a content marketing campaign is that every piece goes viral, that’s unrealistic. However, every piece should contribute something. If a piece gets no attention after several months, it’s either a bad piece or something seriously needs to change in your content promotion strategy.
High quality, sharp, wonderful content still needs to be marketed to other folks just a little bit. Getting it on others' radar is easier once it starts being talked about, but you've still got to talk about it. The interest pump has to be primed for all of your pieces even if you already have popularity. That’s just how human interest works. If you don’t remind people about new content, some other distraction will come along and swoop up their attention.
Also, some content is just bad. There's a whole lot of mediocre content out there. If what you’re writing is junky and generic it's not going to stand out enough to break through everyone's mental clutter. If it's badly written, the same thing. Every piece of content has to get released with the intent of providing something to the reader. It can be informative, useful, funny, controversial... SOMETHING to make it stand out. If your content marketing pieces are boring or read more like bad sales letters, you need to improve fast.
No. Just no. Anybody who can promise you overnight rankings in your preferred keywords isn't doing content marketing. In fact, there's a high likelihood that they're not doing something very legit. No form of marketing pays off overnight.
Sometimes shady companies will sell content marketing as a way to boost SEO. We agree that it is a solid way to increase it over time, but there is no way it can be done overnight. Even pieces that get a heavy response can take 2-6 months to rise to the top.
Part of the confusion with content marketing vs ads is that you can’t measure the effectiveness of a single piece of content very well. Content marketing pieces are not ads. Instead, content marketing campaigns have to be measured as a whole over time.
Unlike an ad that runs for three months then goes off the air, content marketing pieces last practically forever. They can gain results over time. This is one of content marketing’s strengths.
There are ways to measure conversions off of individual pieces, but content marketing has a cumulative effect over time as well that’s harder to measure. You should give your campaign at least six months to gather enough data to see what is working and what isn’t.
Content marketing is a lot of work and it’s not a silver bullet. But it does work very well at attracting traffic and creating conversions. Don’t fall for the myths about it. If you think of it as its own tool and not like traditional ads, it will make much more sense.
Chris Hickman is the Founder and CEO at Adficient with 15 years of experience in search marketing and conversion optimization. Since 2006, he founded GetBackonGoogle.com, helping businesses and websites suspended in Adwords to Get Back on Google