If you’re like every other business owner with a content marketing strategy, you’re publishing all of those pieces to boost your bottom line.  You’ve heard the drool-worthy statistics — like businesses that bother to blog once or twice a month get 70% more leads, and that 82% of consumers feel more positive

photo courtesy of Rocky Lubbers

photo courtesy of Rocky Lubbers

about a company after reading custom content — and you want to get in on the success.

However, there’s also a lot of misinformation floating around out there.  Buy into any of these 3 content marketing myths, and you’ll actually torpedo your bottom line!

1.  “You can set it and forget it.”

This line may work well on those late-night infomercials, but if you apply it to your content marketing strategy, you’re never going to see the results you want!  If you think you can put your content efforts on autopilot, you’re dead wrong.

That’s because truly great content strategies are ongoing.  They’re designed to prove that the people behind them are truly dedicated to informing their readers.  Your target audience is always going to have questions and problems.  If you’re genuinely interested in giving them answers and solutions they need, you’ll never run out of topics to write about.

On the other hand, if you have a blog that hasn’t been updated in weeks and an email list that hasn’t heard from you in a few months, it’s proof that you’re not committed to keeping your readers informed.  Even worse, all of that stale information that’s sitting on your blog tells people that your company is outdated!

2.  “Don’t write with any kind of personality.”

A lot of business owners follow the “Research Paper Format” — meaning they think they’ll look more professional if they write very formally.

The only problem?  Readers hate that kind of writing!  Think about it — were any of those research papers you wrote in high school genuine page-turners?  Wouldn’t that paper on underwater exploration have been a whole lot more interesting if you had included a brief mention of the awesome coral reef you saw when you went scuba diving on vacation?

I doesn’t matter which demographics make up your target audience.  At the end of the day, you’re talking to REAL people, and they’re going to respond best to other REAL people.  So, channel your inner-rapper and keep it real.  Your readers will thank you for it.  And by “thank”, I mean they’ll be more inclined to buy your products, connect with you on social media, and tell their friends about you.

3.  “The goal of every piece is to get people to buy something.”

This is only quasi-accurate.  Yes, a great content marketing strategy will lead to more sales.  However, that doesn’t mean that every single piece you publish needs to include a hard sell.  In fact, if all you’re doing is trying to shill your products/services — instead of providing genuinely helpful information — readers are going to think you’re obnoxious, sleazy, and a bunch of other words that aren’t fit to print.

Truly great web content will sell your products/services in a more roundabout way.  Specifically, it will convince readers that you’re a legitimate expert who knows how to answer their questions and solve their problems.  It will also show your readers that you’re committed to building a genuine relationship with them, rather than just making a quick buck off of them.

I tell my clients that great articles, blog posts, videos, and email newsletters are a “pre-sell” of their products/services.  Use them to grab people’s attention and establish your expertise.  Then, once you’ve convinced them that you’re someone that’s worth their hard-earned money, they’ll head to the other pages on your website — where they’ll be expecting to see a hard sell.

If you try to skip this step — and try to sneak a bunch of sales pitches into content that’s supposed to be purely informative — you’re not going to make more money.  Instead, you’ll send readers running into the arms of your competitors!