“Computers are like Old Testament gods; lots of rules and no mercy.”
– Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth
If Professor Campbell had been a modern-day marketer, he would have said the same thing about search engines. Lots of rules and no mercy! But while the Powers that Be at Google are anything but mythical, there are a number of widely-believed myths about the “best practices” that will gain their notice. Here are 20 of those myths that, if acted on, will bring the Fury-bots down upon you and your business.
- The Magic Number of Keywords is ___.
There isn’t a magic number. In fact, stop worrying about keyword density and instead focus on creating remarkable topics.
- The Field of Dreams myth.
“If you build it, they will come” used to work when the web was new and blogs were few. Now you need a content strategy.
- Only writers should write your content.
We love writers around here. They’re all so…grammatical. But a writer’s expertise is writing, while your expertise is your business. People want to know what you think. So if you can write your own content, do so! Then have a writer edit it.
- The Magic Hour to Send Emails/Post Social Media/Publish Blog Posts is___.
Also non-existent, because the best times and days depend on your audience. If 11a.m. on Wednesday works like a charm for 95% of businesses, but your target demographic is only online on weekends, then by all means – post on weekends!
- Don’t like social media? Just automate it!
If you don’t understand, or like, social media, you’re not alone. But for those who do use and love social media, automating your messages is the worst thing you can do. They can tell.
- Forms scare people away.
If what you are offering has real value, then asking prospects to enter a little, or a lot, of information to receive your offer is not only fine – it’s very useful. You’ll only scare away prospects if you are asking for more than you give in return, so make that content count!
- You should always use forms.
Much of your content should be free and easy to access – as in, completely ungated. This will give you the widest possible audience. But, you’ll want to narrow that audience eventually so your sales team won’t waste time on unqualified leads.
- You’ll look desperate if you ask for reviews, likes, retweets or clicks.
Stuff and nonsense. Often, your best customers just need a reminder that reviewing you, liking, retweeting or clicking on your content helps you out in a very real way. It’s okay to ask – nobody minds.
- You have to be on EVERY social media channel.
While having a strong social media presence is good, you should focus on the social media outlets your target audience uses most. The only exception to this rule is Google+. Your audience may or may not use it, but Google sure does (and we want to make the Powers That Be at Google happy).
- B2B customers aren’t on social media.
Social media marketing for B2B audiences is extremely similar to social media marketing for B2C. The content may differ, but at the end of the day, most people are on social media – and you should be too!
- Your product is so good, it’ll sell itself!
While that is a lovely complement, it’s not a good marketing strategy. People won’t know that your product is the greatest thing since sliced bread unless you first let them know it exists!
- It’s too hard to measure the ROI of content marketing.
The ROI of social media and content marketing possible to measure – and no content strategy is complete without these metrics.
- Every piece of content should plug your product.
Content that constantly plugs your product is called advertising, which is great! But not all of the time. A good content strategy should include content that helps your audience be successful in their goals, and while that may include using your product, you’ll build trust if you deliver good information without trying to sell every time.
- You don’t want to give everything away.
If it helps your customer, builds good will and trust, and establishes you as an authority in your field, then you should probably give it away (unless its your product – we’re not saying you shouldn’t make money!). When you give away your best ideas and solutions, it’s not just good karma – it’s good business.
- B2B and B2C marketing are completely different (or exactly the same).
Whether your marketing to B2B or B2C clients, you’re still dealing with human beings. That doesn’t change. However, the priorities and goals of those people do change, as does the way they reach decisions. While the B2C client is free to buy as they please, the B2B client may have to make the purchase decision by committee, which will require more facts, figures, statistics, and details on features.
- Content marketing isn’t effective in my industry.
If your target market includes human beings with access to the internet, then content marketing can work for you. While some industries are faster to embrace online marketing than others, every industry is headed in that direction. You might even have the opportunity to become a thought-leader in your field – ahead of everyone else!
- If you publish a piece of useful, original, high quality content, you’ll see results immediately.
We wish this were true, but it’s a little more complicated than that. And, when people believe this myth, they often give up on their content strategy too soon. Here’s how it really works: You publish a lot of great content over time, and with each campaign, you refine it so it works a little better and resonates a little more with your audience. Your target customers come back to your site many times (long before they’re ready to buy), and the more positive experiences they have, the more likely they’ll think of you when they are prepared to put down cold hard cash.
- Content marketing is cheap!
Content marketing offers a lot of value, but it’s not free or cheap. It’s an investment of time, money and commitment. It’s also an investment in learning, because creating great content is an ongoing process of changing algorithms, changing audience preferences, and changing tastes and trends. If you’re not prepared to invest, then content marketing won’t give you the results you’re looking for (nothing else will either).
- Content marketing is a fad – in a year it’ll all be about video.
Videos are great! We love them. They’re engaging, visual, fun and informative. But they’re also loud and look suspicious on the screens of office coworkers, so until bosses give mass approval to watching videos at work, King Content will remain on his throne.
- Content marketing and SEO are the same thing.
This is a somewhat debatable point, since content marketing does, in fact, optimize your web presence for search engines. But we would argue that SEO is a tool of content marketing. The real danger of this myth is concentrating so much on technical (or back-end) SEO that you ignore creative content creation.
What misconceptions about content strategy have you heard? Tell us on Twitter @Cubeyou!