Friday, August 23, 2013

3 Myths of Inbound and Content Marketing

Perhaps one of the most critical elements of being successful in business is expectations setting. The wrong expectations can change the perception of a success into anything but.  In this post I want to help communicate some of the common myths associated with content and inbound marketing tactics. With this post, hopefully proper expectations around these strategies can be established, and thus proper success metrics associated to your efforts.

Myth #1: If you build it they will come:
There are many factors to driving traffic and engagement from your content marketing strategy. Simply creating content isn’t enough, even the best content needs to get its start somewhere.  To drive high levels of engagement and volume, use all the promotional tools at your disposal. Promote new content on your social networks LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, but also consider your in-house eMail lists.
Before you can do this though, you need to build your network of followers. This also takes time, as well as a solid content marketing strategy. If you don’t have something good to say, you won’t have any followers.

The reality - look at one of the most viral videos – it takes a catalyst to project content to viral fame. Most content will need a push to reach maximum exposure levels.

Still not getting the volume you wanted? Consider other more traditional outbound strategies. Inbound is great – it can drive a lot of “free” traffic and impressive conversion rates. However that said – it is inherently limited in its reach. To maximize your reach sometimes you need to extend your potential audience size. This is something outbound can do very well.

Ahh, before any inbound fanatics get upset that I mentioned outbound, consider this - if inbound is capable of driving all the traffic you need, why would big companies specializing in inbound marketing still play in the outbound space? Shouldn’t the masters of inbound have more volume than they can handle?

If you need more volume and engagement, consider using traditional outbound tools to turn things up – An integrated marketing strategy mixing inbound and outbound tactics might be just the jump-start you need. 

Myth #2: Quantity over Quality:
Let’s be crystal clear quality is important! However, the most important aspect of your content will be relevance. Just because a piece is well written or produced doesn’t mean it will be relevant. If you use a persona driven strategy, relevance will drive volume.  If moving the needle is your goal, it is better to have a limited number of highly targeted/relevant and highly engaging assets than it is to have lots of assets with limited engagement rates.

The Reality – It has been proven that persona strategies will drive results. This report shows that 45% of buyers favor industry specific content (IE targeting). Going to the next level with that concept, as shown here, a persona approach can yield a 200% increase in click rates. So while quality is important Relevance via segmentation is above all.

Myth #3: It’s free:
Perhaps one of the biggest myths of inbound is that it’s “free”. After all, it just posting content and letting the leads come in, right?

The Reality - This is absolutely not the case. Inbound and Content Marketing requires time. Time = Money. Time to manage and create content, time to run regular content analysis’s, creating content calendars, reviewing metrics and content strategy. That’s just the front end, then on the back end, what do you do with this these prospects? Nurturing is an equally important factor to inbound and content marketing, and this requires even more time. So unless you consider time and content creation free, there is nothing free about inbound/content marketing.

When making the push to change your organization to focus more on content and inbound marketing, let’s make sure the above myths are busted before poor expectations are set.

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