Content marketing isn’t exactly new — you can trace the practice all the back to Benjamin Franklin and his publication of “Poor Richard’s Almanack” in the 1700s. Although content marketing has been around for a while and 70 percent of marketers have experience with it (according to the 2017 State of the Creator Economy (SOCE) study), there are still a lot myths floating around about it.
Here are 20 of the most common — and very much untrue — myths:
1. It’s always expensive.
Marketers often assume that content marketing is going to cost more than it does. The SOCE found that marketers expect the price for a piece of content to be anywhere from 1.5 to 5 times as expensive as what creators actually charge.
2. It’s best to always go with the cheapest option.
On the other end of the scale, many marketers often assume that it’s best to go with the lowest bidder. But “you get what you pay for” really holds true when it comes to content marketing. If you want good grammar, a cohesive story, and content that actually engages, you’ll have to pay someone a professional rate.
3. The more people involved, the better (when it comes to content marketing).
It’s common for brands to have many different people responsible for content marketing, or for brands to have several different departments working on it. But the SOCE found that having more people in charge of decision making when it comes to content marketing can increase the risk of inefficiency.
4. Only big-time creators are worth your while.
Don’t discount smaller bloggers or content creators with smaller followings. Not only are those creators more likely to be within your company’s budget, they can also have a greater reach compared to creators with thousands of followers. A person with just a few thousand followers is likely to get more “likes” and comments than a person with hundreds of thousands of followers.
5. It’s always better to hire freelancers.
While freelancers can be cheaper than hiring an in-house team, 63 percent of content marketers use in-house writers for their marketing, according to the SOCE. Just 14 percent worked with freelancers. Having an in-house team in places allows for better consistency when it comes to quality and voice.
6. Content marketing turns people off.
It doesn’t. Nielsen’s 2015 Global Trust in Advertising Report found that 70 percent of people trusted content they found on a brand’s own website. Around 56 percent of people stated that they trust the information sent to them in emails as well.
7. Our customers aren’t online/on social media.
That’s highly unlikely. A 2016 study from Pew found that 86 percent of Americans are online. Of those people who are online, 79 percent are on Facebook. Smaller percentages are on other social networks such as Twitter and Instagram.
8. Only blog posts count as content.
When people hear content, they tend to think “blog.” But according to the SOCE, photography and infographics are two of the most commonly used forms of content (used by 50 percent and 49 percent of marketers, respectively).
9. Only content that appears on your site is valuable.
Although the Nielsen study did find that people trust content on a brand’s own website, that’s not the only place your content needs to live. Republishing it on other reputable sites or on social media can increase its reach.
10. No one reads anymore.
Wrong! According to the SOCE, the average consumer in the US reads more than 200 articles each month and visit nearly 400 websites a month.
11. Long-form content is always better.
Although people claim that no one reads any more, they also claim that long-form content (more than 2,000 words) is the only content that’s worth while. In fact, the SOCE found that longer forms of content are actually showing a decline in use since 2015.
12. We don’t have to disclose if we’re not paying cash.
Content creators and marketers need to disclose that they received compensation for their endorsement of other posts, whether they got paid in cash or received an item or service for free or a deeply discounted price, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
13. Influencer marketing = content marketing.
Influencer marketing is related to content marketing. But the two are not necessarily identical. In fact, the SOCE found that around two thirds of companies are now devoting an entirely separate budget to influencer marketing.
14. If your content doesn’t go viral, it’s a flop.
There’s a lot of focus on “going viral,” but not every piece of content needs to go viral to succeed. Remember that things that go viral tend to experience a backlash that does more harm than good (think Upworthy headlines and former Instagram star Essena O’Neill).
15. If you create it, people will find it.
If only content marketing were so easy! You also need to have a plan for distribution if you want people to actually find and read your content.
16. High volume always equals success.
Just as going viral doesn’t always mean success, having a lot of people look at your content doesn’t mean it’s working. What they do after they check out your videos, photos, or blog posts is what matters.
17. Creators are just in it for the money.
While being a content creator or influencer can mean earning a considerable amount of money, most creators look at fit and relevance before deciding to work with a brand. The SOCE found that “fit with content/proud to represent” was the leading factor when creators chose who to work with.
18. There’s no way to measure impact or ROI.
Not true! Measuring impact or return on investment is especially easy when you use an influencer marketing platform and marketplace. The program includes measurement tools such as analytics and share monitor, so you can see exactly how your content is performing.
19. Content marketing won’t work for our business.
Every brand and business has a story to tell. Content marketing offers you a way to tell that story.
20. It’s too late to start a content marketing campaign.
The world has yet to hit peak content marketing (if it ever will). Content marketing is the most effective marketing tool available, according to the 2017 SOCE. If your brand has yet to use it, it’s not too late to start.