Whether you like it or not, content marketing is a tried-and-true method of effectively promoting your business, its website, and its brand online. We’ve talked about some lies about content marketing in the past (you can get a refresher here), as well as misconceptions business owners tend to make about it (which you can brush up on here), and now it’s time to debunk some myths!
Some of the ideas we list below about this particular form of online marketing have lasted throughout the past decade and then some, but today we say enough is enough. These are five content marketing myths we are going to debunk and then abandon in 2020 so that we can move forward to creating and distributing better content online.
- The goldfish attention span
You may have stumbled across this kind of comment in past blog posts: “Readers have the attention span of a goldfish, and that’s why they only scan text on websites.” Or it’s been something along those same lines.
The truth is the exact opposite of that remark. In fact, sources such as this one have dug further into the reasoning behind this claim and discovered that there is zero factual evidence that people do have this kind of an attention span. The claims are there, but no links exist that back up such a claim.
There’s more. According to one source, people are willing to stick around and read certain types of longer blog posts and content. That’s because the people who made these posts knew that it’s not the quantity of text, but the quality of the information being shared and how it’s presented that have people engaging with it, sharing it online and on social media, or bookmarking it for later use and reference. These are all great goals that business owners should have in mind with every blog post, video, podcast, etc. that they are creating for online marketing purposes.
Now, how did the goldfish attention span myth last for so long, and why are some marketing sources still claiming it as a fact? Honestly, it’s really hard to say who originally came up with it. We think it could be because content marketing was actually a “new” concept at the time (new as in new for online usage; content has always been around, in the form of books, TV, movies, even cave paintings!).
Because the idea of online content being shared and re-shared across multiple sites on Google was “new” to business owners, marketers were scrambling to find out the best way to keep people’s attention. One solution was to write only snappy, short articles as opposed to lengthier ones. Nowadays, the longer content that has something more to offer and doesn’t waste time to read is the better kind.
Rule of thumb: don’t call your customers “goldfish” or claim that they have a similar attention span, and then only present content that’s short and useless. This myth is not true, and it never was, so let’s move on from this idea for good.
- Content marketing is only for specific businesses
You may consider your business to be a little too “niche” i.e. too technical and not fitting a general category. For example, you may run a construction company that offers a one-of-a-kind processing and manufacturing method using such new tech that hasn’t been invented yet. Naturally some things are harder to talk about than others because the language used for it is so technical.
The thing about this is, though, any business can still create content from their niches.
Yes, we’re serious.
You may think “that’s impossible,” but it’s really not. In this example’s case, the tech in question could be so new and such an exciting new way of doing things that you want to share what you have created with the rest of the world. That’s a great reason to create content and use it on your website, and then share that information on several other channels such as social media. For example, LinkedIn is great for this kind of industry because the way you’d go about sharing such information is by networking with other likeminded people in the industry as well. You create a post about this tech, then post it on LinkedIn, and share the link with other people connected with you on there. The issue is to try and explain such new content in a way that human beings can understand it.
Because here’s the thing: your website is not about you.
Yes, you read that right. You have to make this website for your customers, not for your sake. That’s exactly why some of our past statements about creating great content marketing is to ditch the jargon. If you can’t understand it yourself, then Google won’t either and neither will everyone else. Google was built by humans, for humans, no matter how influential the bot-based versions of content are. So no, content marketing is not only for specific businesses like B2C ones. It can be used for any business, so long as you’re willing to put in the extra work.
- Anyone can create a content marketing strategy
Now we know this sounds like it contradicts our last point at first. However, we said that any business can still create content. Note that we did not say anyone. There is a big difference!
The reality of content marketing is comparable to baking a cake. The simpler kinds, you can do on your own. But when it comes to baking gourmet and 3-tiered cakes such as for weddings, that’s when more complex details come in and are best left to professionals.
What we’re saying is, if you and your team know how to create a good content strategy, then great! If you’ve never any experience with content marketing (and no it’s not as simple as writing a blog post and then hitting ‘publish’), then do yourself a favour and hire an experienced person instead. You can’t just write blog posts. You have to write impactful content, content that will stand out in a sea of millions of posts published daily. And that’s why there are a ton of agencies that exist now who are offering to handle it for you for a price.
Bottom line, go hire someone if you don’t know anything about content marketing—and don’t hire for cheap. The cheaper rates your writer or content specialist will accept, the worse the quality of it will be.
- Text-based content is all my business needs
This is another idea that’s pretty common. The truth is though, the industry is changing and evolving to the point where imagery outdoes written content. Recent statistics about Facebook posts reveal that posts with an image perform so much better in terms of engagement than posts without. This means that the best kind of content is created with layers in mind.
Adding visual components can be as simple as photos or screenshots, or even infographics. These types of visual content can break up the massive walls of text and even add context to the article being written.
Does this mean written content is now useless? Of course not. An image is one thing, but if you’re using images that are purely out of context with what you’re trying to present to your customers, or that’s all you’re offering with no other variety, then your content strategy won’t work at all. You can’t really have one without the other in some cases.
Video is another content strategy that can help break up the monotony of text-only content on your website. However, not every business is comfortable with this or knows enough, so feel free to avoid this idea until you’re ready. If you want to know whether it’s right for your company, check out our past blog about video marketing and making this choice.
- The only successful kind of content marketing creates sales
This is another common myth. If you look at content marketing from a salesy, ROI point of view, it’s easy to dismiss the strategy because a lot of the time some content marketing doesn’t increase sales. But this point of view is skewed, because content marketing isn’t simply about making sales. There is a lot more it can offer in addition to sales. That’s because it’s such a versatile strategy. There are more levels to the sales and marketing funnels than profit alone, and different content created serves different purposes in these funnels.
Does all content mean immediate sales? No, but that doesn’t mean it’s pointless. Rather than making profit the focal point, it’s good to create some new and realistic goals that can contribute to assisting your business while going beyond sales. For example, do you want more direct traffic to your website? Do you want to see better conversion rates for ecommerce? Do you want more people signing up for a newsletter? Content marketing, when done right and made with top-notch quality, can have a huge impact on these goals. Sales are important, sure, but there are more metrics to consider where content has a greater influence. Take the time to learn what consists of a significant conversion, and then focus on creating content for that purpose.
It’s time to take your content marketing the extra mile this year for your business. Do you need assistance with your website’s content? If you plan on getting a new site with fresh content that doesn’t align with these myths, give us a call at V3 Media. The websites we build can make your business look great from all angles, design and content-wise!