It’s OK. We’ve all been there. You’ve been tasked with creating a content marketing strategy or have decided to tackle this on your own volition. You browse around the web and realize that there are some agencies and brands out there that are straight up crushing it. Their content is awesome – it’s custom, interesting, educational and on-brand. Then you do some research into content marketing best practices. You read some blogs. You watch some videos. You peruse some infographics. You flip through slide shares. It seems so daunting.
Don’t be intimidated by the “experts.” You can do this. Here are seven myths about content marketing that are holding you back from being the great content marketer you know you can be:
MYTH #1: The content must be awesome
A brilliant and inspiring farmer in South Georgia once told me, “Don’t let perfect get in the way of good.” To move from novice to expert in any field, you work on your craft and it continuously gets better. If your content is speaking to your target audience and addressing things that they care about and have questions about, then you are on the right path. There will be times when you create a piece of content that you think is ‘just OK,’ and it will catch fire and become “viral” all on its own. Some things will resonate and some things won’t. Just like anything else, your content will improve with time. The most important thing with content is to start with what you know and then build on it from there. Awesome will come.
MYTH #2: You’re giving away your secret sauce
A big concern in content marketing (especially in B2B) is that your content gives away all the insights you have for free. Your leadership fears the competition will steal them, thus diminishing your advantage, or that potential clients will learn all they need to know and will take the work in-house. Can a competitor or a brand read your blog and learn something they can use to help them work smarter? You should hope so, and it’s completely worth the risk. The content you produce and distribute is the bait. You offer up something tasty to the world – something people crave. They bite, come to your website and see all the other interesting things you have perspectives on. Now they see you as an expert with a lot of smarts, a lot of confidence and knowledge on navigating serious challenges they also face. No competitor can steal that from you.
MYTH #3: Everything has already been said
Pretty much, yeah. There are very few original ideas in the world. Almost everything is inspired by something or is built off someone else’s ideas. But have they heard your point-of-view on it? Using your creative perspective? Based on your experiences? Be earnest in your approach to content. Tell a story from your perspective with the desire to add value to those looking for answers. How many times has Hollywood made the ‘star-crossed lovers’ movie? Hundreds of times. But it keeps resonating.
MYTH #4: Content is too hard to create
Have you heard this or thought this before? “My company has a ton of people that are really smart and have great perspectives, but I can’t get them to write anything / they aren’t writers / don’t see the value / won’t return my emails when I ask them to write something.”
That empty Word doc is a daunting thing. Your subject-matter experts (SMEs) may also just be really busy. Their incentive plan is probably not tied to creating content, either. My friend Rob Amberg, director of marketing at Jabian Consulting came up with a great hack for this. He found that the experts at Jabian would talk all day about their perspectives, but writing content was a tough ask. He decided to ask the subject-matter expert a bunch of questions, interview-style, and record all of it on digital recorder. Then, he pays to get transcribed through an inexpensive service like Rev.com. Voila! The content is now 80 percent completed; you just need to edit. Once you get some good content posted, competitive nature will kick in and you’ll have some other subject-matter experts dipping their toes in the shallow end.
MYTH #5: It takes too much time
As John F. Kennedy said, “We do these things…not because they are easy, but because they are hard” (it’s also my favorite quote and is displayed prominently on my office wall). Do some planning. Set up a content calendar highlighting some of the topics you want to create content around (again, around the challenges your clients and their peers face). Find a few people who are passionate about sharing their ideas. Start slow – create one blog per month. Then two blogs per month, then weave in a video. It does take time and attention, but the rewards (i.e., more revenue and better talent) are worth it.
MYTH #6: No one will read it anyway
If your distribution plan is weak, then you’re right – no one will see it. Writing a blog post and hitting the ‘publish’ button alone is akin to tacking it to a tree in the middle of a forest and hoping some lost hikers see it. Putting a link on your social media platforms is only slightly better. In today’s social media environment, you must have a paid budget to boost your content and get it in front of the right people. The good news, however, is that you can hyper-target a specific audience so that the most relevant people see the most relevant content. It’s very inexpensive to boost a post, too. You should also consider an e-marketing platform (such as Mail Chimp or iContact) that can send the content directly to inboxes of current and prospective clients. Make sure people see it so all your work creating it isn’t in vain.
MYTH #7: It doesn’t show ROI fast enough
So, you posted that awesome blog and the phone didn’t ring off the hook. Patience, grasshopper. This is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes time to earn the trust and respect of those you want to reach. They need to see you as a credible source that really ‘gets it.’ They need to feel that you are dependable, giving them insights that can help them in their jobs. If you’re just doing content marketing for quick SEO benefit or immediate sales opportunities, then you’ve got the wrong strategy. However, if you want to plant the seeds for years of faster sales conversions and less-competitive sales leads, then keep on truckin’. Short term, this content can be used by your sales force to follow up with leads, or to share with a new contact who is vetting your chops. You can also use the content to entice conference organizers to use your experts on panels or as key-note speakers. Above all, it turns your website into a hub of knowledge with an open door for the world to see how smart and insightful you are on the stuff that matters most to the people you want to reach. A recent study by Forrester showed that roughly 80 percent of the purchasing cycle in B2B happens prior to a client contacting a firm, agency or vendor. Don’t wait until the race is almost over to get off the blocks.
I hope this makes you feel more at ease. I believe in you. I know you can do this. If you need a pep talk or a hand in kick-starting your content marketing, just call or email me. My direct line is 404-214-3577 and my email is [email protected]. I was once in your shoes. I’d love to help.