5 Content Marketing Myths You Need to Unlearn

November 25th, 2013 by Search Influence Alumni

The popular SEO strategy of content marketing has always been effective. Now, with recent changes to Google with its Hummingbird update and the increasing importance of social media, good content marketing is more important than ever for boosting your online visibility and search engine ranking.

While content marketing isn’t exactly rocket science, it’s still important to understand the strategies and methods that really work—as opposed to all the myths out there that won’t get you any further ahead. Here are the top five content marketing misconceptions you may believe, and what you need to do to adjust your approach.

Myth #1: It’s Like Printing Your Own Money (Or: Content Marketing is About Making Sales)

The myth: The main goal of content marketing is to generate leads and increase sales for your business. If this isn’t happening for you, then you’re wasting your time with content marketing.

The truth: Content marketing does lead to more leads and more sales—but it’s a gradual process, and it’s hard to measure the impact on sales directly. You’re only wasting time if you’re focused on making your content sell (a point that’s explored further in the next myth).

The true goal of content marketing is to strengthen your brand. Done effectively, your content will serve to build familiarity through increased visibility, and improve likability and trust for your business through more shares and greater authority in your industry.

Myth #2: It’s All About Me (Or: Content Marketing Should Focus on Your Business)

The myth: All of your content should be about your products or services. You need urgent language, lots of promotions, and prominent calls to action in every piece of content you publish.

The truth: Brochures and billboards are not content marketing—they’re advertising. Keep in mind that your goal is to increase visibility and build your brand. If all your content does is push your products or services, you’re going to be viewed as spamming people, no matter how tastefully worded your advertisements are.

Your content should provide consumers with value that will benefit them even if they don’t buy from you. That’s how you strengthen your authority and help your content get passed around, so you’re seen by more people.

Myth #3: If You Write It, They Will Come (Or: Content Marketing is Easy)

The myth: All you need to do is churn out a lot of content and post it online. The more content you have, the higher you’ll rank in search engines. It doesn’t matter what the content says—just how much there is.

The truth: Google, the biggest search engine on the planet, has always favored quality over quantity when it comes to content. With the recent changes to their search algorithms and the way keywords and links are weighted, quality content is even more vital. Once again—you need to offer consumers something of value.

Content marketing does take work, but the returns are worth the time and effort you’ll put in.

Myth #4: Set It and Forget It (Or: Content Marketing Can Be Automated)

The myth: You can cheat when it comes to content marketing. Just use some of the many automated tools that are out there to keep content coming, and it will look like you’re active—which in turn will elevate your SEO, because search engines love fresh content.

The truth: While there is something to the idea that fresh content attracts search engines, it’s more important to satisfy your visitors, subscribers, and customers. And it’s easy to tell when your content feeds are automated.

The biggest advantage of content marketing is the ability to give your business a “personality” through branding. If your brand is “we only care enough to have this software program talk to you,” no one will engage with your content—and your efforts, such as they are, will be wasted.

Myth #5: No One Reads This Stuff Anyway (Or: Content Marketing is Just What’s on Your Website)

The myth: Content marketing is useless. Posting all this stuff to the website doesn’t bring any more visitors, so we might as well concentrate on different strategies to increase traffic, like pay-per-click campaigns.

The truth: There’s more to the world of content marketing than your website pages. Small business blogs, social media feeds, guest blogs and articles, whitepapers, even commenting on other industry blogs—all of these things are content marketing and all of them feed into your brand and your online footprint.

What’s your content marketing strategy for 2014?

Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.