45 Content Marketing Best Practices That Are Actually Myths

content marketing best practices myths

 

Even though content marketing isn’t exactly new anymore, there are still a lot of misconceptions surrounding the best practices for this industry and just exactly what content marketing is.

I want to take each of these content marketing myths on and bust them.

Everything from the fact that content marketing is only about blogging to whether or not it’s too expensive to examining whether or not video is too costly to produce a return on investment.

With 50% of content marketers saying they’re going to increase their content marketing budget next year, it’s important that your company isn’t left in the dust.

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Let’s examine just how important content marketing is for your business and bust these myths.

1. Content marketing isn’t for my niche

There is no niche that content marketing wouldn’t benefit. Seriously. Content marketing will benefit every niche from plumbing to bookstores to content marketing companies.

No matter your niche, you can benefit from content marketing. Don’t fall for this myth because it will be detrimental to your business.

2. Content marketing is too expensive

If you spend too much money or spend money without a plan, then it’s possible that this myth is true.

As long as you have a plan and a budget, content marketing won’t be too expensive.

The majority of companies spend between 1% and 25% of their marketing budget on content marketing.

For all the good it can do, that’s a small percentage of the total budget.

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Your content marketing can generate major ROI when you invest in the right places.

Content marketing is all about getting your name and brand in front of the people who might be interested in becoming your customers.

What company doesn’t want more customers?

There is such a thing as too large of a budget for content marketing, but if your company is growing and you’re gaining new customers, your content marketing isn’t too expensive.

3. Content marketing is free

**See above tip.

Content marketing isn’t free.

You can do a lot of content marketing on a shoestring budget, but it’s not free.

If you want your content marketing to work, you can’t just have someone posting on Facebook and Instagram. It’s more than just social media.

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You need to pay someone to create your content marketing plan, manage your social media accounts, create an email newsletter, and perform many other tasks.

Content marketing isn’t free, but it also shouldn’t break your bank account.

4. People don’t read

People do read! More than ever, people are reading to research topics that interest them.

When they have a question, they look online for the answer.

Why shouldn’t they find that answer on your website?

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People might not be reading books, but just think about how much you read in a day.

Online articles, blog posts, emails, posts on social media, links that you find on social media, books, news articles, and so much more.

Content is everywhere.

People might skim an article, but if it interests them, they’ll read at least part of it.

People do lead busy lives, so you can’t just churn out content for your blog and assume that people will read it.

People read quality content. They don’t bother with content that is uninteresting or uninformative.

5. Content marketing strategies don’t work

No, no, no! Content marketing strategies work if you design them correctly.

Some content marketers think that having too much strategy will make their brand lose its authenticity.

Authenticity is very important, but it’s not dependent on whether or not you have a content marketing strategy.

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But on the contrary, content marketing without a strategy will just be random social media posts and blog posts that don’t gain you any traffic or customers.

Without a strategy, your content marketing is just like throwing spaghetti at a wall and hoping it sticks.

To create truly successful content marketing, curate a brand that’s interesting and figure out how to find more of your customers.

With this in mind, a content marketing strategy is very important.

6. It’s difficult to find content marketing resources

There are many resources out there for understanding and crafting a content marketing strategy.

Just look at all of the useful articles categorizing content marketing resources for you.

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There’s no excuse for not marketing your business through content.

If you need someone to help you manage your social media, you can hire someone from Fiverr, UpWork, or Elance.

If you need your social media posts to be scheduled in advance, there is software for that. You can even use Hootsuite and Buffer for free or for a small membership fee.

If you want to learn more about content marketing, you can read articles on my site or from the Content Marketing Institute.

You can hire a freelancer or contract content marketing strategist to help you create a strategy.

If you want to manage your email marketing, you can use MailChimp to store your email lists and schedule posts.

If you need a website, you can use WordPress or Squarespace.

There are so many resources, the vast majority of which are free, that there’s no excuse to think that you can’t learn how to do your own content marketing.

You can find the tools and resources that work best for you and create a successful content marketing strategy without spending very much money.

7. ROI on content marketing is nebulous

If you’ve created a good content marketing strategy, you will have a return on your investment.

Those who say that content marketing has a low ROI probably just don’t know how to measure it. And they’re not alone — 60% of small business entrepreneurs have trouble measuring their ROI.

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Those who are telling you that content marketing isn’t successful or that they saw no return on their investment didn’t do their content marketing correctly.

They likely had no plan, didn’t know their brand voice, and didn’t know which customers they were targeting.

Without a plan, content marketing won’t work.

When you have a plan and know the goals of your content marketing, you’re sure to see a return.

It’s also possible that content marketing naysayers just don’t know how to measure their content marketing success. Or they don’t know which tactics are the most effective.

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If you don’t know what metrics to look at or what those metrics should look like to denote success, you won’t know if you’ve got a return on your investment from your content marketing.

For example, if you get 100 new followers in your first month, is that a good ROI for your brand’s content marketing?How much did you spend on content marketing? How much new business did you gain from your new followers?

How much did you spend on content marketing? How much new business did you gain from your new followers?

If you don’t know the answer to those questions, you won’t know if you’ve generated ROI.

Set goals for yourself, know what metrics to look at, and know what you want. That’s how you’ll know if your content marketing has been successful.

8. I’ll see results in the first few days or months from content marketing

It’s unlikely that you’ll see any big returns, successes, or results from your content marketing in the first few days or even months of starting your content marketing.

Content marketing is a long-term game. And measuring it’s effectiveness and ROI is difficult for many content marketers.

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You want to look at your brand’s growth from content marketing over time. Is there a gradual upward trend over the months or years?

Then your content marketing has been successful.

The brand growth that you see from content marketing will be gradual and slow, so don’t expect to see many big changes.

You might have months where you post a viral article or a very popular social media post, but those sporadic months of massive growth are less common that just gradual growth.

Have patience as you start your content marketing and look at growth over extended periods of time.

9. I can’t compete within my niche

Some niches are more competitive than others. That’s a fact.

But a competitive niche doesn’t mean that you don’t stand a chance.

Look at what your competitors are doing well and replicate that. Look at what they’re doing poorly and don’t make the same mistakes.

You just have to produce more and better content than your competitor.

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When you’re entering a competitive niche, you can analyze the existing competitors to get a feel for how they approach your niche.

Get inspired by all of the best ideas from your competitors and put those into practice. There are benefits to working within a competitive niche.

Some competitive niches have a large player that takes up the entire market, while others just have multiple medium-sized competitors.

Either way, entering a competitive market is a little bit tougher but it’s not impossible.

A great content marketing plan will make it easier to compete in a competitive niche.

10. Video is too expensive

Video is one of the many important tools and media you should use when creating a content marketing strategy.

Your content marketing should include video because it’s becoming a popular medium. 48% of content marketers are planning to add YouTube to their list of active channels next year.

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Instead of reading information, people want to watch a video.

This is especially true for how-to content and anything that would translate well into visuals.

Some people are hesitant to try video as they believe that it’s too expensive. This is a myth.

Your video production doesn’t have to be high-quality or overly expensive. Many companies are shooting their videos on cell phones, doing a little bit of editing, and then posting them online.

You don’t have to invest in camera and lighting equipment or post-production video editing software.

It’s OK to create low-budget videos.

If you do decide to invest in video or equipment, think of your ROI. Your videos might garner more leads and customers than a blog post.

So even if the video costs more, your ROI might be higher.

11. Random posting on social media counts as a content marketing strategy

Having a Facebook page and posting on it once a month isn’t content marketing.

Even if you have a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat account and post on them, that’s not content marketing.

Using and posting on social media is part of content marketing, but it’s not everything.

It’s important that your social media and content marketing have goals, metrics, and brand personality.

Social media isn’t dead: consumption on Facebook has increased 57%.

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Posting willy nilly on a social media site or posting the same message on multiple channels is unlikely to get you the customers and following that you desire.

Set your goals and create a strategy to meet those goals. Then you can begin posting on social media with intention.

That’s content marketing.

12. Shares = success

The number of people who like or share your post doesn’t necessarily designate success.

The metrics you use to measure success are very important if you want to know whether or not your content marketing strategy is working.

Those metrics might not be shares and likes.

Most B2C marketers use sales, conversion rates, and website traffic to measure content marketing success.

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Readers and customers who are browsing social media might like a blog post or even share a social media post and not read the article or the entire post.

As well, those who share your content or like your content might not be your customers. They might have liked the image or the title.

Likes and share don’t necessarily turn into sales.

Be sure that you’re using the right metrics to measure the success of your content marketing — not just the number of people who are liking or sharing your content.

Your content marketing should focus on building relationships with your customers, sending traffic to your website, and informing potential customers about your brand.

13. I shouldn’t post my content on other sites

Yes, you should!

Creating content and sharing it on other sites is a great idea. Guest posts and thought leadership articles posted on other businesses’ social media and blogs are great ways to get your name out there.

When you share your content on other people’s sites, you get access to their customers and their followers.

I do want to point out, though, that all of the content you create to post on other sites should be original. Don’t use the same content on your site that you use on theirs.

Craft original, targeted content.

14. Outsourcing content is cheap

It can be, but you get what you pay for.

You can definitely hire writers to create content for your brand at really low prices, but you’re going to get low-quality work.

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You have several options, from hiring a freelancer or a free college intern to a small marketing firm.

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Make sure that you’re hiring quality content creators. You readers will know if your posts and blogs are slapped together and of low quality.

Readers and customers aren’t stupid. When you outsource, you want to make sure that you’re maintaining your brand integrity.

15. Content, content, and more content

You’ll hear it over and over again on content marketing websites: Content is king.

This is true, but creating and posting article upon article without any purpose won’t get you anywhere.

For reference, 77% of content marketers intend to create more content next year.

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The content you create and post should be part of a strategy and incorporate a goal.

Content shouldn’t be the only part of your content marketing strategy.

You need to make sure to include and consider other media. This might include photos, GIFs, memes, videos, and more.

16. Produce 10 blogs posts and then stop

Consistency is one of the most important aspects of a successful content marketing strategy.

Creating a certain number of blog posts, posting them on your blog, and then stopping won’t be enough to grow your brand and business.

Your content marketing needs to be consistent and continue over time.

Content marketing is never-ending.

17. Organic traffic is hard to find

Increasing the amount of organic traffic to your site is one of the most important aspects of content marketing.

I won’t say that increasing your organic traffic to your site is easy, but it shouldn’t be difficult.

But, to increase organic traffic, you’ve got to really get to know Google and all of its algorithms.

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They tried-and-true way to increase your organic traffic is to find out what keywords and what keyword phrases your customers are using to find information.

Then, you need to optimize your landing pages and blog posts to fit those keywords.

You should also examine which keywords are being underutilized by your competitors.

That is, you should try to target organic traffic from keywords that are easier to rank for.

18. SEO isn’t important anymore

SEO strategy refers to the practice of creating natural content that includes keywords. SEO will be important as long as people are using the Internet to search for information.

They way people find the information they are looking for is through keywords. If they use the proper keywords, they should be able to find the content that answers their questions.

SEO is still a very important part of successful content marketing.

19. Good content will market itself

Ouch. Just because you’ve created the best content doesn’t mean your customers will be able to find it.

Your content isn’t going to grow magical legs and walk itself onto your customer’s desktop.

You have to make sure that your content is optimized so that your customers and potential customers can find it through SEO and keywords.

You also want to make sure that your content marketing strategy includes email marketing, which will send content to your customers that might interest them.

Even the best content won’t market itself. You need a content marketing strategy.

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20. Content has no value

Whoa, whoa, whoa. This one is a big myth.

Content definitely has value. I’d even say that content has multiple types of value.

Your content has value in these ways:

  • Answers customer questions
  • Provides information about businesses
  • Defines your brand
  • Becomes an asset over time
  • Creates engagement

The aspect that I find most people don’t realize about their content is the value over time.

Each time you add content to your brand, you’re adding value.

The content that is always useful and always relevant to customers is content that I call evergreen content. This content is hugely valuable to your company.

The more engaging your content, the higher its value.

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I find that many people forget that content is a business asset.

Your content establishes who your brand is and your thought leadership within your niche.

I think content is valuable enough that it should even be a line item on your sales receipt when you decide to sell you brand and company.

I consider it similar to any other piece of intellectual property.

21. The content should be all about me and my product

A common misconception that new brands and businesses subscribe to is that their content should obsessively cover the product.

Your readers will get bored really quickly.

Your content should add value for your customers.

What do I mean by adding value?

Your online content should solve problems, answer customers’ their questions, and offer information that prospects might need or find useful.

If you make your content all about the brand and the product, you won’t have any success at content marketing.

And you won’t have very many readers.

22. Content marketing can be automated

I think this myth is a bit of a grey area.

Some parts of your content marketing can be automated, but not everything.

You want to make sure that your content marketing retains a sense of human touch. If everything is automated, people will notice.

For example, you might want to schedule a few social media posts to go out each week, but you also want to send some out in the moment.

Different industries are adopting automation at different rates.

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The social media posts that are sent out by a human will feel natural and will comment on what’s going on that day.

The posts that are scheduled in advance can’t predict what the conversation will be at that moment and will therefore be less relevant.

A great content marketing strategy will use a mixture of automation to make it easier to maintain, but will also keep a human touch to make sure there’s an organic feel to your customer interactions.

23. My content must be super long

You’ll notice that, on my blogs, all of the content is very long.

This is a choice that I’ve made for my brand. I provide in-depth material that covers every detail of a topic.

That doesn’t mean that every brand needs to create super long content.

The average length of content for the top 10 results varies.

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This is what works for my brand but that doesn’t mean that it’s what will work for your brand.

Some brands only produce short content. Some brands produce a mixture of short and long content.

You must look at what would fit your brand to decide if you should produce long, short, or a mixture of content.

24. My content marketing strategy must be unique

This is a tough myth to bust or prove true. There are content marketing strategies that work and those that don’t.

So, your content marketing may not be completely different from your competitors’. There are likely strategies that you both use.

But, you shouldn’t just copy someone else’s content marketing strategy.

If your company is unique, then your content marketing strategy should be unique.

Use those around you for inspiration and then create your own strategy that works for your company.

25. Content strategy isn’t worth the effort

Ack. When I hear this myth, it just makes me cringe.

Of course content marketing strategy is worth the effort! If you create a dynamo strategy, you’re going to see a high return on your investment.

Just look at the compounding ROI on evergreen content. Think what this could mean for your business!

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Also, need I even say it, without a strategy, your content marketing is just doomed. The strategy is what makes content marketing successful.

26. CTAs aren’t important

I might agree with this myth if statistic after statistic and study after study didn’t show that they do work.

Research has shown that when you ask people to like your post, they do. Research has also shown that when you ask readers to share a post, they do.

If you tell people what you want, they want to help.

CTAs work. They’re an important tool in your arsenal for building a following and building a relationship with your customers.

27. Content calendars aren’t helpful

I’m not sure who would believe this myth, but let me simply say they do work.

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A content calendar is your plan for what you want to publish and when. A content calendar is one of the most important tools for organizing and scheduling your content throughout the year.

A content calendar helps your content marketing team identify when they should post content. It helps you to plan ahead for holidays or important dates.

In addition to planned content, you always want to be creating and posting organic content.

If you’re not using a content calendar, though, you’re just reacting to whatever is going on in the world.

Balance your content and plan ahead by using a content calendar. They work!

28. Content marketing isn’t natural

This is a common thought for those who are newly introduced to content marketing.

And it’s understandable.

When everything is curated, planned in advance, and optimized for the highest return, it can feel fake. It feels salesy.

If you focus on these qualities though, content marketing will feel more natural.

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As you get deeper into content marketing, you’ll realize that planning ahead actually lets you present your best self to your customers.

Content marketing doesn’t mean that you can lie to your customers or that you should cover up mistakes. It just allows you to plan ahead for the future of your content.

Even with a great content marketing plan, you should still be posting organically and reacting to the world around you.

29. Content marketing is about creating a brand

Content marketing is only one minor aspect of creating your brand.

For most companies, their brand will be established prior to beginning their content marketing. So, content marketing is only used for managing and maintaining the brand.

For start-ups or new companies, you can use content marketing to create your brand image and customer perception.

When creating brand perception with your content marketing, it has to be more than a campaign. Which is how 76% of content marketers are doing it.

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Your brand should be represented in everything you do, and content marketing can be one of those things.

As well, you want to be authentic when using content marketing to craft your brand. Don’t lie to your customers — be who you are.

30. Outsourcing content creation is bad

As long as you find ways to maintain your quality, there’s nothing wrong with outsourcing your content creation.

For smaller companies or brands that are trying to put out a large amount of content in a short amount of time, outsourcing might be the only way they can reach their goals.

For most companies, large and small, the goal of content marketing is sales and customer retention. If outsourcing helps you to reach those goals, why not?

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31. Content marketing should be separate from other marketing

Your content marketing and marketing teams should work together to craft campaigns and messages.

If your marketing is going one direction while your content marketing is going in another, your messages aren’t going to be synced up and your customers are going to be confused.

If you do have a separate content marketing and marketing team, make sure that they’re not isolated from one another.

Communication and coordination are what will make a successful marketing plan overall.

Meetings must be scheduled regularly to make sure everyone is on the same page.

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If you do have only one team, you might be able to get everything done and save money.

32. One metric is enough to judge the success of my content marketing strategy

Many brands that are new content marketing might decide upon one metric on which to judge the success of their content marketing strategy.

For example, if you’ve just started posting on social media, you might use likes as your key metric.

This isn’t a smart way to judge the success of content marketing.

Instead, you want to use multiple metrics over time.

You might want to judge likes, comments, follows, and shares over time.

Using multiple metrics will give you a much better picture of the overall success of your campaign.

33. Email marketing isn’t important in content marketing

Some content marketers might think that the rise of social media killed email marketing, but I don’t believe that’s the case.

Just because ⅓ of the world uses social media daily doesn’t mean they aren’t also on other channels.

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I actually think really great email marketing is having a resurgence.

Those who are doing email marketing well are seeing great returns from it — including me.

Your content marketing strategy should be built specifically for your brand and your customers, but for many brands, that should include email marketing.

34. My audience won’t respond to content marketing

When it’s done correctly, every brand’s audience responds to content marketing. Yours is no different.

And I’ll leave it at that.

35. We don’t have any stories

When you’re living the story, it’s easy to believe that you don’t have one. But that’s just not the case.

Every company has a story to tell — you just have to find it.

Telling your company story is a great place to start outsourcing your content. Sometimes a fresh pair of eyes are needed to be able to properly see the unique traits of your company and what story you should tell.

Engaging content is a challenge, but one way to do that is to tell the unique stories of your company and brand.

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Don’t be afraid to reach out to someone and ask them to help you identify your story and figure out how to best share it with your customers.

36. The CEO won’t buy into content marketing

This one, sadly, isn’t always a myth.

I’ve seen it happen at great companies. You’re building this awesome brand and want to share it with your customers, but the C-suite doesn’t buy into the idea of content marketing.

The C-level executives don’t want to allocate a budget for content marketing.

That’s sadly the reality for some companies.

I do believe, though, that with the right statistics and tactics, you can convince almost any CEO to give content marketing a chance.

Show them something like this statistic and you just might convince them.

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Honestly, C-level executives want what’s best for the company and to make a profit. That’s content marketing.

You just have to figure out how to prove to them that that’s the case.

37. Content marketing is just a trend

I don’t know whether or not the term “content marketing” will always be around, but content marketing certainly will.

I think, eventually, that content marketing will just become a part of any and all marketing strategies.

If you don’t believe me, believe the huge percentage of content marketers who rate content marketing as effective.

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38. Content marketing is SEO

A good content marketing strategy uses SEO as one of the many ways they can reach their customers, but content marketing and SEO aren’t the same things.

SEO or search engine optimization is a way to optimize your content so that it is discoverable online. This includes using keywords and key phrases.

On the other hand, content marketing is a type of marketing that uses content such as blog posts, emails, and social media posts.

Good content marketing will use keywords and SEO strategies to make sure their content is discoverable by their customers.

39. Content marketing is only blogging

Content marketing is much more than just blogging! Your blog will be an important part of your content marketing strategy, but it’s by no means that only part you should focus on.

Your content marketing should also include emails, social media posts, webinars, white papers, studies, images, and more.

It’s common that people think of blogging when we talk about content marketing, but there’s more to it than just that.

Your content marketing should be a comprehensive marketing strategy.

40. Content marketing is all about the campaigns

Marketing campaigns are a great way to gain users and followers who may not have yet heard of your brand, but even more important than campaigns is consistency.

Campaigns are short or seasonal plans for your content marketing.

You should never stop posting on your channels, making sure that your customers know that you’re always there.

Campaigns run on top of your normal posting schedule.

41. You can create viral content

Very, very rarely.

Instead of focusing on viral content, I highly recommend that you focus on creating high-quality content that will interest your readers.

Post consistent, evergreen content.

Growth through content marketing doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a long, slow process.

Viral content will give you a major boost, but it’s likely that it falls back off to the original levels.

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If you are trying to create viral content, there are some specifications and recommendations you can follow, but they’re not guaranteed to work.

Content has to go viral naturally.

42. More content = more reach

You’ve heard me talk a lot about posting consistently and creating a lot of content as part of your content marketing strategy.

I also want to point out that more content is not necessarily equitable to more reach.Your content must attract readers. The volume of content you produce isn’t necessarily correlated with your number of readers.

Your content must attract readers. The volume of content you produce isn’t necessarily correlated with your number of readers.

I think it’s much more important to consistently produce and post content than to create as much content as you can.

As well, the quality of your content is more important than the quantity.

43. Content marketing is only for print

I’m honestly not sure who might still believe this, but it’s not true.

Content marketing is not a brand new idea, born in the time of the digital age. It’s existed in print for decades.

However, it’s even more important as a digital solution.

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Both content and marketing are as old as can be, but you have to update your strategy to reach people virtually.

44. Big data means that marketers know their audience

This is one of those myths that even I find a little bit surprising.

Even with all of the data that we have access to, some marketers and companies don’t actually know who their audiences are. They might think that they do, but they don’t.

Finding out who your ideal customers and readers are can be tough. It’s important to invest the time and money necessary to find out just who you should target with your content.

45. Content marketing is the same as marketing

Content marketing and marketing share a lot of the same principles, but they aren’t the same thing.

Content marketing is a subset of marketing and focuses on the production and sharing of content.

Your content will be shared online, in blog posts, on social media channels, and on your website.

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On the other hand, marketing is an umbrella term that can include anything from TV commercials to print advertisements.

Conclusion

There are so many myths surrounding content marketing and its best practices that I sometimes have trouble keeping them straight.

I think one of the biggest and most common misconceptions that people have is that it’s just creating and posting blog articles.

But content marketing can and should consist of so much more!

If you’re not yet using it, it’s time to join the ranks.

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Content marketing can and should work in conjunction with a traditional marketing plan.

What content marketing practices have worked for your business?

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