Today is Unicorn Day, so it seems an appropriate day to talk about myths of content marketing. It’s amazing how quickly myths can crop up.
Think about what a myth is.
The dictionary definition is a
It’s just somewhere along the line the kernel of truth that started them has got lost.
So which myths should you stop believing in?
There are loads of articles on this subject. Just under a million when I put it into Google. Which is an awful lot of myths. But there’s an awful lot of repetition, even when the numbers go from 5 to 10 to 45 myths.
My focus is on those myths that are most useful for a small business to stop believing in. I believe that small businesses are in an incredible position to make the most of content marketing. They can be fleet of foot, and flexible. Which are not words necessarily associated with big businesses. Here’s my choice of myths to not believe anymore:
Content Marketing Only Works For Big Businesses
You’ve looked at this content marketing lark and thought it’s something that needs masses of people, lots of cash, lots of time. And you’re a small business. So you can’t possibly do it.
Kiss that myth goodbye.
You are probably closer to your customers than many big businesses. You talk to them more directly every day. You have an excellent feel for what they love about you and your business, what might frustrate them. And if you don’t know, you can probably more easily ask them.
All of which means you should be able to create content that they are going to be really engaged with. You should know where your customers hang out, what sort of things they want to see. And if it’s not working, then you should be able to quickly change your plan and test something else.
I appreciate that’s a lot of shoulds. What I really mean is that those things are all within your grasp, and they don’t take big budgets to take advantage of.
Just put content out there, and success is yours
Oh, how many wish this one was true! But the myth of build it and they will come belongs only in a Hollywood movie. There is no point in putting all the effort into creating content to not then do the work to get out there and promote your content.
Go back to look at where your customers are, and make sure your content is showing up there. Get to know when they want to see your content, and what type of content. Then make that. Then keep telling them about it. Possibly even do that slightly more than you feel comfortable with.
Anyone can create content
Well, this is half a myth. Anyone can create content. There are two buts to me with this myth. Firstly, anyone can create content, but not everyone can create great content. Secondly, anyone can create content, but not everyone should.
They are sort of inter-related. It may be that writing, or photography, or making videos is not your thing. If you’re going to hate doing it, or it’s going to take you a long time to produce a single piece, then it may be that your time, energy, and passion is better spent on other aspects of your business.
Which takes me back to the point of making great content. There is no point pushing out dull, beige content that no one really engages with. You’ll get despondent at the (lack of) return for your effort, and your customers may begin to reappraise whether yours is the brand for them. And that’s not the aim of the game.
It’s all about sales
Myth or half myth? The myth is that all content is about making a sale, but equally, you shouldn’t create a myth that it’s never about sales. Your content should hit one of three goals: inform, inspire or entertain. Top marks if you can do all three in one.
I think the formula for great content is:
Useful + Inspiring + Gets Me = 5 star content
Make that work and you’ll be on the right track towards getting to a sale, when you ask for it. But there are other measures of success for your content, not just sales. Building awareness of your brand and love for your brand are strong measures. I’d also say these days that turning customers into advocates for your brand, people who go out and tell your story for you are incredibly valuable.
Imagine, a salesforce you don’t pay. That’s in effect what your brand advocates can do.
Content marketing is cheap
I would say this is a half myth again. Content marketing can be cheap if you’re doing it yourself. You do need to be honest about the opportunity cost of doing this yourself though. Is this adding the right value to your business for the time you’re spending on it? As long as the answer is yes, then you’re doing the right thing.
What if you decide that it’s not what you want to do, and you want to hire a writer? They’re ten a penny, right?
Well, yes, they probably are. But as with all things, you do get what you pay for. You’ll want to find a writer, or photographer, or videographer, who can understand your brand’s aims and values. They’ll need to be able to work with you to ensure that content looks and sounds like your business. And they’ll need to understand the technical elements as well.
I believe that the myth of monkeys and peanuts may turn out to be less of a myth in this scenario. Only you can decide what the right peanuts are for your business; I would just make sure you can tick off on the things that writer needs to do for you.
These are the top myths I want you to stop believing in. The Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy and unicorns…well, that’s up to you!
What myth do you believe, or wonder if you should stop believing in where content is concerned?