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Kiera Wiatrak

Marketing Mythbusters: 6 Overrated Content Marketing Tips You Should Reconsider

Sometimes, cliches are cliches for a reason. The so-called “golden rules” of content marketing are no exception. These nuggets of wisdom can be a helpful toolkit for budding content marketers, like a Swiss Army knife with just the essentials. But just as you wouldn’t use a corkscrew to hammer a nail, not every piece of marketing wisdom fits every situation.

The problem isn’t that these frequently repeated tips are inherently wrong. It’s that they often lack the crucial context that makes them truly valuable. It should come as no surprise that what works for a tech startup might miss the mark for a local bakery. In other words, the strategy that skyrocketed one brand’s engagement could be a resource drain for another.

Today, we’re putting six common content marketing mantras under the microscope. We’ll explore why they gained traction, where they fall short, and how to adapt them to your unique circumstances. Because in the end, the best marketing advice isn’t one-size-fits-all – it’s tailored to fit your brand like a glove.

So, let’s dive in and unpack these popular tips. It’s time to move beyond blanket statements and develop a more nuanced understanding of your content marketing strategy.

1. Quality over quantity

“Quality over quantity.” We’ve all heard this over and over again. While it’s true that you should never publish subpar content, this advice often leads to perfectionism and inconsistency.

Here’s the thing: if you’re not publishing regularly, you might as well not publish at all. Consistency is key in content marketing. Your audience needs to know they can rely on you for regular insights and updates.

Don’t let the pursuit of perfection become a roadblock. Find the sweet spot between quality and consistency. Set realistic standards and stick to a publishing schedule. Remember, a good post today is better than a perfect post that never sees the light of day.

Think about it this way: would you rather follow a blog that posts amazing content once in a blue moon, or one that consistently delivers solid, helpful content? Most of us would choose the latter. Your audience is no different.

So how do you balance quality and quantity? Start by setting clear, achievable standards for your content. Maybe it’s ensuring each piece has at least three actionable takeaways, or that it’s been reviewed by two team members before publishing. Then, create a content calendar and stick to it. It’s okay to adjust as you go, but having a plan will help you maintain that crucial consistency.

2. Promote your content on all platforms

“Be everywhere!” they say. And while it may be tempting to strive for omnipresence and digital domination, the pressure to be on every single platform can be counterproductive.

Spreading yourself too thin across multiple platforms often results in a watered-down presence everywhere and excellence nowhere. Instead of this scattergun approach, focus on the platforms where your audience is most active.

Identify where your target market spends their time online. Is it LinkedIn? Instagram? TikTok? Concentrate your efforts on these key platforms. It’s better to have a strong, engaging presence on a few relevant channels than a weak, generic presence everywhere.

Let’s break this down further. Say you’re a B2B software company. You might find that your audience is primarily active on LinkedIn and Twitter. In this case, pouring resources into creating TikTok videos or Instagram Reels might not be the best use of your time and budget. Instead, focus on creating killer LinkedIn content and engaging Twitter threads.

Remember, each platform has its own culture and best practices. It’s better to master a few platforms than to be mediocre on many. Quality engagement on the right platforms will always trump quantity of platforms.

3. Always diversify your content formats

Variety is the spice of life, right? While we couldn’t agree more when it comes to what to eat for dinner or binge on Netflix, this may not be the best approach for content marketing. While it’s great to get creative and leverage different media to tell your story, be wary of creating what we call “media soup.”

Jumping into every hot new content format can stretch your resources thin and dilute your brand’s message. Before diving into a new medium, ask yourself:

  • Do we have the expertise to do this well?
  • Does this align with our brand voice?
  • Will our audience find value in this format?

Remember, brand consistency is crucial. It’s okay to stick with what you do best. If your audience loves your blog posts or your podcast is killing it, there’s no need to force yourself into creating TikTok videos or infographics just because everyone else is doing it.

Consider a company that excels at written content. They have a popular blog and their email newsletters have high open rates. Suddenly, they decide they need to be on YouTube because video is the “next big thing.” They invest in equipment and spend hours filming and editing, only to find that their videos get minimal views and engagement. Meanwhile, their blog and newsletter quality suffer due to the divided attention.

The lesson? Play to your strengths. If you do decide to branch out into new formats, do it strategically. Test the waters with a pilot project before fully committing. And always keep your audience’s preferences at the forefront of your decisions.

4. Create content around SEO keywords

SEO is important, no doubt. But letting keywords drive your entire content strategy is like letting the tail wag the dog. Your primary goal should be solving your audience’s problems, not just driving up your keyword count.

Use keyword research as a tool, not as your content’s raison d’être. It can provide valuable insights into what your audience is searching for, but it shouldn’t be your only guide. Combine keyword research with your company’s unique knowledge and external research to create truly valuable content.

Remember, Google’s algorithms are getting smarter. They reward content that genuinely answers user queries, not just content stuffed to the gills with keywords.

Here’s a better approach: Start with your audience’s needs and pain points. What questions are they asking? What challenges are they facing? Then, use keyword research to understand how they’re searching for these answers online. This way, you’re creating content that’s both valuable to your audience and optimized for search engines.

For instance, if you’re a fitness brand, don’t just create content around high-volume keywords like “how to lose weight.” Dig deeper. What specific challenges do your customers face? Maybe it’s “how to stick to a workout routine with a busy schedule” or “balanced meal plans for vegetarian athletes.” These long-tail keywords might have lower search volumes, but they’ll attract a more targeted audience who’s more likely to engage with your brand. Lead with authenticity and a genuine drive to solve problems, and loyal customers will follow.

5. Website traffic and engagement are the ultimate success metrics

We’re all striving for visibility among our target audiences. So, naturally, it’s tempting to get excited about spikes in traffic or high engagement rates. But these metrics, while important, are merely a piece of the puzzle.

Traffic, pageviews, and engagement are signals, not key performance indicators (KPIs). They need context to be meaningful. A surge in traffic could be telling you that one of your posts went viral, but did it bring in your target audience? High engagement is great, but is it translating to those sweet, sweet conversions your business needs to survive?

Instead of fixating on these surface-level metrics, align your content goals with broader business objectives. Are you generating leads? Increasing sales? Improving customer retention? These are the metrics that truly matter because they affect your bottom line.

Imagine you run a blog post that goes viral and your traffic skyrockets. Exciting, right? But upon closer inspection, you realize that most of this traffic is coming from a demographic that’s not your target audience. They’re reading the post, maybe even sharing it, but they’re not signing up for your newsletter, downloading your app, or buying your product. In this case, the high traffic isn’t actually contributing to your business goals.

On the flip side, you might have a post with lower traffic but a high conversion rate. Maybe it’s a detailed guide that attracts exactly the kind of customer you’re looking for, and a good percentage of readers end up becoming leads or even customers. This post, despite lower traffic, is actually more valuable to your business.

The key is to look at metrics in context and always tie them back to your overarching business objectives. Don’t just track vanity metrics – track metrics that matter.

6. Always tell a story

While storytelling is indeed powerful, not every piece of content needs to be a narrative epic.

Your brand should have an overarching story, and your content should support that story. But individual pieces of content can take many forms. Sometimes, your audience just needs clear, concise information or practical how-to guides.

Lower funnel content, for instance, often needs to be more product-focused and less story-driven. The key is to understand the purpose of each piece of content and choose the most effective format to achieve that purpose.

Think about the buyer’s journey. At the awareness stage, storytelling can be incredibly effective in capturing attention and building emotional connections. But as a potential customer moves closer to a purchase decision, they often need more straightforward, fact-based content.

For example, if you’re selling project management software, a story about how a disorganized team transformed their workflow might work well for top-of-funnel content. But for someone comparing different software options, a clear feature comparison or a detailed how-to guide might be more valuable than another story.

The trick is to use storytelling strategically. Use it to illustrate points, to make complex ideas more relatable, or to showcase your brand’s values. But don’t force a story where a simple explanation would do. Always ask yourself: what format will best serve my audience’s needs at this point in their journey?

Ditch the cliches

Content marketing isn’t about blindly following advice simply because it’s repeated time and time again. It’s about understanding your unique brand, audience, and goals, then crafting a strategy that works for you. Don’t be afraid to question conventional wisdom and test different approaches.

Remember, the most effective content marketing strategies are tailored, not copied. So take these insights, mix them with your own experience and knowledge, and create a content strategy that truly resonates with your audience and drives results for your business.

The world of content marketing is always evolving, and what works today might not work tomorrow. Stay curious, keep learning, and always be ready to adapt. Your willingness to challenge assumptions and think critically about your strategy is what will set you apart in the long run.

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