There are a lot of companies jumping into content marketing right now or evaluating whether it’s a good fit for their business. For many, content marketing makes a lot of sense. For others, it doesn’t.
To decide whether content can help your company achieve its business goals, it’s important to educate yourself to ensure you aren’t creating barriers based on false assumptions.
We hear all sorts of things about the future of content and what content can and can’t do, but there’s a lot of misinformation out there. Here are five lies circulating in the business world that you may encounter when looking into content marketing:
1. Content marketing is just a buzzword.
Content marketing has experienced a surge in popularity in the last few years, but it’s nothing new. John Deere launched its customer magazine, The Furrow, in 1895 as an educational resource for farmers, and Michelin and Jell-O have been creating contentsince the early 1900s.
Just because content is becoming more popular doesn’t mean it’s a fad. Audiences will always seek out entertainment and education, and that content needs to come from somewhere. Companies that become the trusted source for information will ultimately win.
2. Content is an easy way to generate leads.
Content marketing is a great way to generate leads and drive sales, but if you’re anticipating a flood of visitors large enough to crash your website in the first month, you’re going to be disappointed.
To generate leads, you first need to produce consistent content in places where your target audience is congregating. Most people will want to keep learning about the topic once they’ve read your article, so you need to create enough content to answer people’s questions as they continue to search.
A few readers may immediately click through to your website, but if they don’t find what they’re looking for when they get there, they’ll leave. You need to create a natural content funnel that keeps your company top of mind and allows you to continue to nurture and educate leads.
3. If you create it, they will come.
Just because you create a blog doesn’t mean that everybody in the world is going to read what you write. You have to strategically align your content so people who want to learn more will come back to your site.
For example, you’ll see that this article links back to a few articles on our blog that expand on these statements in more depth. There are also links to other sources, like Content Marketing Institute, that act as supporting evidence.
You should always be able to back up your claims, and if you can add value for your audience and become a trusted source of information (two primary goals of content marketing), that is extremely beneficial for your company.
4. There is too much noise.
Is there noise online? Yes. Is there too much noise? No.
The argument that there’s too much noise online typically comes from people who miss the old days and are angry that more companies are creating content, making it more difficult for individuals to stand out.
To them, I say, “Deal with it.” As with any form of online marketing, there is a “gold rush” period where a few early movers have a huge advantage. This is what led to the surge in black hat SEO techniques and early content creators who were churning out thin or low-quality content to boost their sites’ rankings. We all know how that turned out.
Shortcuts in content don’t work–especially now that more players have entered the game. The winners are going to be those who focus on building their own platforms that readers use as their content “watering holes.” This means building a following with columns in publications that reach your audience and creating a body of high-quality content on your website that people can use as educational research.
Companies like Moz and SAP SE do this well, and I’ve seen the benefits myself with our content creation efforts on the Influence & Co. site.
5. Everybody’s doing it, so you have to.
I shouldn’t have to tell you why “everybody’s doing it” isn’t a good justification for any business decision.
We consistently turn down business that isn’t a good fit for content marketing. For example, if someone is drawing attention to a product or book for a quick launch, content marketing doesn’t really make sense. You can implement different online marketing techniques, like pay-per-click ads or traditional PR, and see a much higher ROI in the short term.
But if your goal is to position your company as the leader in your space or work toward long-term business growth, content marketing is a no-brainer. Just make sure your goals are very clear and that a content marketing campaign can deliver on those goals.
If you’re going to half-ass your content creation, it’s much better to get help or not do it at all. Content isn’t something that can be tested for a month or a quarter; it’s a long-term business strategy that’s going to be essential for companies to stay competitive.
If you’re looking to implement content marketing, take the time to educate yourself on the facts to ensure it’s what your business needs and something you can deliver on.
BY JOHN HALL
CEO and Co-founder, Influence & Co.