Recently, I finished a big, huge, gigantic writing project… well, a big, huge, gigantic portion of an even bigger project.
I got to write 16 pages about content marketing.
YAY! Go, me!
I love my job! #ragingnerd
Anyway, as I wrote those 16 pages, I kept thinking about how many myths I encountered about content marketing as I scoured blogs and YouTube videos for source material.
It astounded me to see the crazy-pants tips being hocked as truth bombs when they’re anything but.
So, I kept a sticky note separate from the writing project to capture a few thoughts as they cropped up, and today I decided to share some of the most pervasive myths I encountered in my research.
Ready? Here we go!
5 Content Marketing Myths Debunked
No, you don’t *need* a podcast.
Or a YouTube channel or an Instagram handle or a Facebook group or a Twitter account. You don’t *need* any of it. What you do need is a strong sense of purpose: Who is your audience? What problems do they have, and how do you uniquely solve them? Then, the key is to meet them where they are.
Let’s say your audience is moms of big families. You’re trying to help moms of multiple kiddos save time and money and look good doing it. Well, you’re not going to get her with long-form blog posts because, hello, who has the time to read when you’re taking five kids to five different sports? Instead, she can probably rock a podcast in the hours she spends in the drop-off/pick-up lanes.
If your audience is the DIY home decorator, YouTube is probably where it’s at for you because you can demo tutorials and show before-and-after pics. A podcast might not serve you because your content is inherently visual.
Know your purpose.Know your audience. Then serve them where they are.
Your market isn’t over-saturated.
“The internet doesn’t need another XYZ blogger.” “There are already so many ABC YouTubers who do such a good job. What chance do I have to succeed?” “I really want to write my ebook about EFG, but there are already 10 on Amazon, so???”
None of those blogs, none of those channels, none of those books or podcasts or vlogs or tweets are written by YOU. Create your content, then market the shit out of it in a way that is true and authentic to you, and you won’t have any direct competition because there’s only one you.
Sure, there might be others who cover your same target or market to your same audience, but none of those people are you. If that sounds oversimplified, it’s because it really is that simple.
Your email list isn’t the only sales tool in your toolbox.
Maybe you’re newly in business, and your email list has two subscribers (hi, mom! hi, honey!), OR you never really worked on your email list and now everyone’s screaming about email lists and you feel super far behind.
Yes, email lists work pretty well most of the time. But, they’re not everything. You can build a successful business without one, and you can still make sales and launch products while you build an email list.
The key with email is that it speaks directly to someone. Being allowed into an inbox is a sacred trust, so it makes sense that those people who invite you in probably like you enough to buy from you. That said, you can create intense loyalty on Facebook or on Instagram and use those channels to make the sale.
Don’t let the lack of an email list stop you from building your business.
The role of content marketing isn’t to sell things.
It’s just not.
No matter what product or service you sell, no one’s going to buy from you unless they feel like they’ll get their money’s worth. While some of your content (think: landing pages) is designed convert, the vast majority (think: Facebook updates, blog posts, etc.) is designed to converse.Your customer gets to know you through your content. They hear your voice. They absorb your brand and messaging. Maybe they even reply or comment or DM. Your content should create an audience of folks who feel like they know you. Only then can you weave in content designed to sell.
Here’s how I like to think of it, and since I’m a dog blogger, I’ll use a dog analogy.
Let’s say you’re walking down the street, and you see a woman coming with a gorgeous dog who’s walking perfectly on leash right her side. It’s clear the two are besties, and the dog is just having a grand time! You catch her eye and smile. You slow as you near and say, “Your dog is gorgeous, and he’s so well behaved! May I pat him?”
She smiles and says, “Yes, of course, and buy my ebook of 10 proven ways to get your dog to walk on a loose leash!”
No one would do that in real life. #awkward
So, don’t do it online. Content builds relationships first and foremost.
Automating content marketing isn’t the only way to be efficient (and it could be killing your conversions anyway).
Sure, you can batch create, and you can populate your favorite scheduling tool with tweets for a month at a time.
But, if you’re not going into your channels and actually engaging, all that automation is for nothing. No one wants to work with a robot; they want to work with a human.
Automate stuff that doesn’t require a conversation (like, schedule new posts to go out across your key social channels), but then log in and have real conversations every single day. If you don’t, you’re probably not converting at as high a rate as you could be.
And, there you have it: 5 content marketing myths demystified! What other myths have you heard? Do any of these resonate?