Every digital marketer knows that the online world revolves around content. After all, content gives you something to share with your target audience that will help your brand to become an authority in its industry, raise awareness and nurture both potential and existing audiences. However, while content is a key element of any digital marketing strategy, it is also surrounded by many misleading concepts and complete misunderstandings of how it actually works.
The truth is that content marketing takes a great deal of time, effort and skill, which is precisely why the majority of brands outsource all or part of their content creation to professionals. In fact, relatively few hopeful entrepreneurs have the necessary set of skills and tools to formulate and maintain a solid content marketing strategy all by themselves, and instead they find themselves falling victim to some of the many myths and misconceptions surrounding the industry.
1. Everyone Can Write Content
Though writing is a very broad discipline, it’s certainly not a skill anyone has. People might try to tell you that your perspective is the most valuable thing of all, and that only you can truly get your brand’s message across. However, while anyone can write, not everyone can write in a way that captures the attention of the intended audience while remaining consistent with a specific brand image. In fact, poor writing will harm a brand by soiling its reputation and damaging its search engine rankings.
Fortunately, content is not just about written material. You might excel at graphic design or you might look great on a camera, in which case you’ll likely be well-equipped to create eye-catching infographics or do a video series on YouTube. If you have the time, energy and passion to master a new skill, then you should go for it. However, if you cannot find the right approach, you’ll be best off outsourcing content you don’t feel confident in creating yourself.
2. Great Content Will Market Itself
You might have outstanding writing skills to the extent you can happily publish several blog posts every day, along with the occasional whitepaper, case study or e-book. However, the Achilles heel of any content strategy is the ability to promote content so it actually reaches its target audience. Many will tell you that great content promotes itself, and while there is an element of truth in this statement, you’re not likely to get very far if you pay no attention to the actual marketing element.
Digital marketing teams need to work hard to amplify their content using a variety of methods, and this is precisely why a content strategy cannot stand alone without being part of a greater online marketing plan. Additionally, promotion needs to be a part of the content creation process itself in such a way that it is tailored for specific audiences and driven by a specific goal. There’s far more to marketing your content than simply sharing it on Facebook and hoping it will go viral.
3. Content Is About Search Engine Optimization
If, when creating and publishing your content, your primary consideration is SEO, you’ll end up having nothing of value to offer your human audiences. This very belief has done more damage to the world of digital content than anything else, but numerous search engine algorithm updates over the last few years have completely redefined the game. Ultimately, thinking of content as nothing more than a way to boost your visibility in the search results is a sure-fire way to harm your business.
In the earlier years of digital marketing, brands would publish content on low-quality article directories and guest blogging websites with the sole purpose of expanding the link profiles of their websites. However, these marketers also failed to take into account that the search engines make an increasingly clear distinction between a bad link and a good one. Google’s own Matt Cutts even famously claimed that guest posting was done for in light of the constant abuse of links as a key ranking factor.
There’s no doubt that digital marketers’ perspectives on content continues to evolve, but many still refuse to evolve with the times. After all, if you’re not writing for a clearly defined human audience and taking extra steps to promote it, you’ll end up wasting your time and money. Worse still, if you continue to use dated marketing strategies and keep thinking of content marketing as a way to earn greater visibility in the search engines, you could end up causing irrevocable damage to your brand.