7 myths that undermine content marketing success

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The value of content marketing has been increasingly recognized by marketing and PR professionals. It seems clear that, over the long term, it can enhance brand awareness and even drive demand. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 60 percent of business-to-customer marketers say their content marketing budget will increase in 2014.

There are barriers to creating and sharing excellent content, including popular myths and misconceptions that should be dispelled. Here are a few of the biggest falsehoods:

Content marketing can replace PR. Not really. Although there’s been a lot of talk about one supplanting the other, earned media is still powerful. Content typically fits nicely into a strategic PR program, not the other way around.

When it comes to content, more is better. This may have been true once, but it’s not now. Google algorithm updates favor high-quality, original material over large quantities of keyword-stuffed posts. Even beyond that, wouldn’t you rather share well-designed content that you’re proud of?

Snappy social media updates can replace hard-to-create content. Not necessarily; it’s not an either/or situation. Long-form content is making a comeback, actually. The larger point is that content should be sized to solve problems, engage prospects, and share insights. It’s hard to believe that those goals can be accomplished in a simple Facebook campaign.

Quality is secondary, because SEO is everything. Ouch. SEO is important, yes, because the point of marketing your material is often to let customers find you through the right keywords. But a visit to your site or community is only the beginning of the marketing process. It’s valuable content that truly engages prospects and incites them to action.

We don’t have time to create it. This is one we hear a lot. Yes, creating high-quality content is a commitment of time and resources, but chances are you’re already spending time on marketing initiatives that may not be generating a strong ROI, or enabling customers to find you. Many clients are surprised that, once the overall strategy and distribution plan is set, the actual content creation is not very time consuming at all.

If you create it, they will come. Not true. Putting it out there is a great first step, but without a real content strategy, defined audiences, and well-populated social communities, you can easily fall short. Mitch Joel’s post on the importance of content distribution really hits home here.

[RELATED: Get advanced brand journalism tips from Mark Ragan and Jim Ylisela.]

Anything worth sharing is proprietary. Some companies fear disclosing trade secrets through white papers, bylined articles, or the like, but for content to be relevant to most prospects, its subject matter extends beyond any one business or sector. If it’s really that exclusive, how much better would a real consulting relationship be?

Dorothy Crenshaw is CEO and creative director of Crenshaw Communications. She has been named one of the public relations industry’s 100 Most Powerful Women by PR Week. A version of this story appeared on Crenshaw Communications’ ImPRessions blog.

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