Content marketing isn’t just a fad, it’s a fact.
Companies who engage in content marketing report 63% more leads than companies who don’t, and 70% of customers say they prefer to get to know a company through articles rather than ads.
And it’s not just for B2C businesses, 91% of B2B businesses report they use content marketing.
Google trends also clearly show that the term is now accepted and commonplace.
With the popularity of content marketing, numerous articles have popped up on the subject, many stating best practices about how to get ahead at content marketing. But since content marketing is evolving so quickly, many content marketing rules and myths we find online are already outdated, while a few very important content marketing myths have not gotten the attention they deserve.
That’s why we decided to list the three biggest modern content marketing myths you probably haven’t heard of yet…
Myth 1: SEO Keywords Are Important
The rise of content marketing has been almost synonymous with the decline of search engine optimisation (SEO). Many SEO companies are rebranding themselves as content marketing agencies to escape the fallour from Google’s regular algorithm updates.
Likewise, many SEO practices have overflowed into content marketing. One such practice is the use of targeted keywords. A lot of businesses have been cramming their pages and articles with keywords to get high in search results, while not really providing any valuable news or information.
While this was never a sustainable strategy in the first place, those days are now officially over. Big changes have made searches all about the actual content, instead of keyword spam. Here are some of those changes:
Keywords Have Been Replaced by Key Phrases
A focus on the “long-tail” key phrase was the earliest sign of keywords being on their way out. Long-tail keywords are keywords consisting of multiple words – for example, things like “retro print coffee cups” instead of just “coffee cups.”
One-word keywords simply get lost in the gigantic amount of content on the web. Keywords nowadays have been completely replaced by key phrases. Think “Best retro printed coffee cups.”
The beauty of long-tail keywords is that they are much easier to rank for because there are so many more of them (and they are searched for less often) than the highly competitive one or two word keywords. A single blog article can contain half a dozen or more long tail keywords that will bring steady traffic for years.
Search Queries Are Conversational
Search engines all started by working with Boolean style queries, such as “Retro coffee cup shop in Brisbane.” Since Google’s Hummingbird algorithm update this has changed dramatically. Search engines are now designed to understand conversational style queries, much like Apple’s Siri. So you can type in “Where can I find retro coffee cups in Brisbane?” and Google will automatically do the relevant search.
Searches Use Latent Semantic Indexing
Latent semantic indexing means search engines will “come up” with their own ideas about your search. So if you search for “retro coffee cups” the search engine will also show results for retro tea cups. While these added searches may not always be on point, they have definitely changed SEO practices.
Searches Are Context Relevant
Searches are now context relevant, meaning they take into account your previous searches and other information about you, especially geographical information. So a 16 year old female in Australia will get very different results from a 80 year old male in Florida, even when they use the same search terms.
Google Isn’t the Only Relevant Search Engine Anymore
New ways of searching have become relevant, and we’re not talking about Bing! or Yahoo. YouTube is now officially the second largest search engine. On top of that the non-Google owned Twitter has become its own kind of search engine. While pages take a few hours or days to be indexed by Google, Twitter shows what’s going on real-time, and has thus become the place for searches on trending topics as they unfold.
Myth 2: Every Company Should Blog
The number of posts with titles like “Why Every Company Needs a Blog” online is huge. Blogging has definitely been accepted as an important strategy, and the majority of business now blog. But while blogging can definitely lead to great results, what most articles don’t mention is that these results don’t happen unless you fulfil the following requirements.
You Need to Have Resources to Invest
Blogs don’t perform miracles, and businesses can’t expect to just start blogging and wait for the results to come in. There are 5 million posts published per day; If you want your blog to have any sort of value, you need to have the resources to invest in promoting it. If not, blogging will only take up a lot of your valuable time, without getting you any results.
You Need to Know How to Blog
Everyone can write, but that doesn’t mean everyone is a writer. Blogs need to have quality content that engages, and a target audience in mind. Many companies let the intern do their blogging, but unless that intern is an experienced writer with up to date knowledge of content and inbound marketing, having a blog is just throwing away valuable resources.
You Need to Have Lead Generation Strategies
How will your blog affect your ROI? Blogging on its own will attract more visitors to your website if done well, but what are you doing with those visitors to actually increase profits? Blogging is only useful if you have marketing goals and lead generation strategies. Whether that’s using calls to action to drive traffic to landing pages, selling products or services directly, engaging in affiliate marketing, or building brand recognition, you need to know why you blog.
Myth 3: Long Content Is Bad
The media would like us believe that we don’t have concentration for long pieces of content anymore. We supposedly only want to skip channels and stop reading after a few seconds.
In content marketing this has translated into a persistent rule about blogs and sales pages: “long content is a no-go”. Posts of 350 to 500 words are recommended by many “experts”, 700 to 1,000 words at max.
This rule is a myth for the following reasons…
Long Posts Lead To More Conversions
Several studies by conversion rate experts show that short control pages were outperformed by pages that were up to 20 times long, having up to 52% and 63% more conversions! This proves that it’s not about the length of the content, it’s about the quality. The old copywriting maxim holds true: “there’s no such thing as too long, only too boring.” If content is boring, poorly designed and doesn’t take a reader on a journey, long content is not a good idea. But if it’s done right, longer content can help engage and persuade customers.
People Want In-Depth Articles
A recent study showed that about 10% of all searches are for in-depth articles. People aren’t just looking for superficial and quick information, and this has led Google to release an “in-depth articles” algorithm update. This feature targets articles that are at least 2,000 words in length, and have an “in-depth article markup.” This markup consists of things like a title, subtitle, headers, subheaders, listing an author, and guiding images.
Content marketing is here to stay, and it’s important to sort the wheat from the chaff when working out your strategy. Understand what myths are out there, try new things for yourself, and never accept the “rules” as the only way of doing things.
What other content marketing myths can you think of? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
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