As a backbone of many online businesses, content marketing has established itself as an industry favorite topic. While many are talking about the beauty of content marketing, some of you may be confused about how this popular buzzword will work for your brand.

Today, I'm sharing eight common misconceptions about content marketing – but first, a bit about what this whole content marketing thing is:

What Is Content Marketing?

Simply put, content marketing is creating and maintaining a two-way conversation with your target market. It's building relationships based on a well-thought-out strategy in which you give free and valuable information to your audience.

Many brands and businesses know that they need a content marketing strategy, but often confuse what its purpose is and how it can help their business. Here are a few of those common misconceptions and ways you can avoid them in your content marketing.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Content marketing is creating and maintaining a two-way conversation with your target market.–” quote=”Content marketing is creating and maintaining a two-way conversation with your target market.”]

#1: The Goal of Content Marketing Is to Increase Sales

Content marketing is a long-term marketing strategy, so you're not going to see sales overnight. You're almost never going to see a direct correlation between a person reading your blog and it turning into a sale.

Rome wasn't built in a day, and a great content marketing strategy takes time to develop and cultivate. It's all about naturally and organically building a relationship based on trust with your audience while establishing yourself as an industry leader.

Users may need to visit your website several times or see a few of your videos before turning into a subscriber. Take the time to build that trust so that when you do sell to them, they're ready to purchase.

#2: Content Marketing Is Creating Content

Content marketing is so much more than posting blogs or making videos. It's a marketing strategy that requires a bit of planning in order to be successful. In reality, any type of marketing strategy takes time to develop, research, promote and analyze. Here's a little timeline that can give you an idea of what steps to take in a content marketing strategy:

  1. Build a Strategy
  2. Create the Content
  3. Share That Content
  4. Measure the Results
  5. Repeat

Since content marketing is so much more than simply creating content, focus on providing quality over quantity. As you can see, creating the content is only one step in the process, and it's the step that should take the least amount of time. You have to consistently produce great content and commit to your plan in order to be successful.

#3: Content Marketing Is Only Useful for SEO Purposes

Google loves a website full of good content and it certainly can be a powerful strategy to garner attention from searches; however, content marketing for the singular purpose of increasing or tricking your SERP ranking can harm your brand more than help. Stuffing your blog posts or product descriptions full of keywords means that user experiences will be less than satisfactory.

Create content that your audience needs, answers their questions, and informs them. They will keep coming back for more and Google will still reward you for producing quality content.

Remember, your target audience isn't Google. It's the people whose trust you're trying to earn.

[clickToTweet tweet=”#SEOTIP Your target audience isn't Google.” quote=”#SEOTIP Your target audience isn't Google.”]

#4: The Value of Content Marketing Is Not Measurable

The most valuable step of creating and promoting content is measuring the results. While it may be difficult to track the conversion of a blog reader into a customer, it's best to break that conversion down into more measurable steps.

Here are a few things to measure in your content marketing strategy:

  • Website Visits
  • Email Signups
  • Social Shares
  • User Engagement (Likes & Comments on the Content)
  • Link Clicks

By measuring the results of these actions, you can assign a monetary value to each customer. This is the first step in knowing and improving the total lifetime value of a customer. For example, conventional marketing wisdom says that every 1,000 page views is worth $5. But that number varies depending on the type of website, brand, and business. Measure your results from day one, and you will have an easier time evaluating the ROI on each type of content you create.

#5: Content Marketing Is Losing Popularity

Some people tend to think that content marketing has a short shelf-life and therefore is losing its popularity. Those people typically also started content marketing without a plan to re-purpose content after it was created.

To be successful at maintaining the validity of your content marketing aspirations, include a strategy for re-purposing your content to extend its life. If you have a blog post series, consider combining that content into an eBook. Or if you have several video tutorials, try putting them together for a longer, webinar-style piece of content. Email campaigns, virtual classes, podcasts, and digital products are all great ways to re-purpose and reuse the content that has already proven itself as useful to your audience.

#6: Content Marketing Is Writing Blog Posts

Many digital marketers think that writing blog posts is the end-all, be-all of content marketing. The truth is that there are many other ways you can introduce content marketing into your brand strategy.

I recently started a Facebook Group for fellow business owners and entrepreneurs looking to grow their social media presence. It's a 100% free group where I share what I've learned through live video and social media posts.

Another great way to add value to your content marketing strategy is to send content rich emails to your audience that help them in some way. Provide them with something that they can't find anywhere else. Make it special – just for them – and you're one step closer to a valuable relationship with them.

#7: Content Marketing Will Make Your Business Go Viral

I really wish the phrase and idea of “going viral” would just go away.

More often than not, those who go viral aren't selling something or really even trying to go viral. Instead of trying to reach the masses of people who may or may not be interested in what you're selling, focus on those who are in your target market. You'll likely grow organically as a business by focusing on a specific group of people than attempting be an overnight sensation.

#8: Content Marketing Isn't for All Businesses

You're not going to find a one-size-fits-all content marketing strategy out there. But that doesn't mean there isn't some way you can incorporate these types of strategies into your marketing plans.

If you have an Etsy shop, blogging may not be something that your audience is interested in. Instead, building an email list or providing “how to” videos could be a better solution than blogging. Or if you have an audience who doesn't have time to read blogs, consider starting a podcast series. Get creative with it!

I've heard the rebuttal that some businesses aren't interesting enough for content marketing. That tells me two things:

  1. You don't understand your audience's needs, and
  2. You aren't interesting.

The opportunity to create fantastic content is there no matter if you're a carpet cleaner or makeup artist. You still have the ability to provide valuable information for your ideal customer.

I don't know everything about content marketing – nobody does! This medium of reaching your target market is constantly evolving and differs from one brand to the next. What I do know is that people appreciate value, especially when it answers a question or offers a solution to a problem.

That being said, what are some other common misconceptions about content marketing that you've heard? Continue the conversation in the comments below!