8 Content Marketing Lies Fake Gurus Love to Tell (& How Jello Proves Them Wrong)

Filed in Blogging, Content by on September 19, 2015

Ever since Bill Gates claimed “Content is King” in 1996, there’s been an increasing amount of content marketing advice floating around the internet, to the point that most of us don’t even know where this whole “content is king” mantra comes from.

(I didn’t until I wrote this article, for example.)

Unfortunately, as time goes on, a lot of this advice is getting worse and worse.

People eager to label themselves as the next big content “guru” scream and shout tired, over-used advice from the rooftops of the internet, and innocent, unknowing content writers and niche marketers follow their advice, wondering why they’re not getting the promised results.

It’s gotten to the point that to act against this tired, washed-up advice that hardly works is actually counter-intuitive.

For example, when we hear about a famous blogger who only posts 2-3 times per month, our chins drop to the floor.

“If they want to be successful, they should be posting every day!” our brains scream out, in a child-like tantrum.

But fortunately, there’s a handful of niche marketers and bloggers rising up to beat through the crap of this content marketing advice to show the rest of us how it’s really done. (See how to find your niche for blogging)

 

What You’ll Learn:

  • Why using the content you’ve already got to generate more traffic might actually be better than writing more.
  • Why you need more than a really good strategy to hold everything together.
  • Why downloadable freebies are not enough.
  • When it’s time to stop writing.
  • What the heck Matt Cutts was really talking about.
  • What all of this has to do with Jello.

 

(P.S. If you'd like to download a free checklist of 31 blog traffic secrets click here or the image below)

 

Lie #1: Post With More Frequency

If you’re not getting the traffic you want to your website, the best way to solve that is to push out more content with more frequency, so you up those visit numbers simply because you’re shoving more content into the faces of your fans and subscribers, right?

Maybe… if you’re posting infrequently or only once per month.

But if you’re already at the frequency of posting one or more times per week?

Probably not.

Here’s why:

Yes, your fans and subscribers want content from you. They like you, so they like reading what you’ve got to say.

But… and this is a big but… more content isn’t always the answer if you’ve already got perfectly adequate content and a satisfying publication schedule.

Often what’s lacking isn’t more content, but more distribution.

As writers and people obsessed with our niche markets, we love to spend time producing content on the topics we’re passionate about. And we’re thrilled when people see our content online and then latch onto our website.

But what we often don’t realize is that by latching onto the time we spend thinking about producing this content, we’re losing valuable time and energy promoting the perfectly good content we’ve already got on our site… just waiting to be distributed and taken advantage of.

So rather than digging your heels in and insisting on producing more content, explore your evergreen posts from the past and use those to expand your distribution and promotion efforts. You’ll get more eyes to the posts that deserve them, and you’ll save your content creation efforts for the biggest and the best things you can produce.

 

Tweet to warn your followers of Content Marketing Lie #1

 

Lie #2: Content Strategy = Content Marketing

Actually, these are two entirely separate things.

Content strategy is based in brain power, and content marketing is based in action.

And you need both for either to be successful. But content strategy is not content marketing, and content marketing is not content strategy.

And neither one is content creation.

They are two separate things that each require special attention and dedication.

Content strategy is when you sit down to think about the kind of content you want to provide for your audience, in what formats (blog posts, ebooks, webinars, etc.), and how you’ll use that content to further your marketing and sales goals.

Content marketing, on the other hand, is when you actually go through the motions of pushing the content that you’ve already created in front of your existing fans and potential customers.

Content marketing includes nurturing your email list by sending them your latest blog post, Facebook advertising to get people to sign up for the webinars you’ve created, participating in niche-based Twitter chats, and pre-scheduling social media posts using tools like Hootsuite or Edgar to make sure your social media presence and content sharing stays active, even when you’re busy working on other things.

This nice comparison chart from Logicserve Digital gives you a basic idea the differences between the two.

 

Tweet to warn your followers of Content Marketing Lie #2

 

Lie #3: Free, Downloadable Content Alone Will Generate More Leads

Yes, content is a great lead generation tool. BUT it doesn't generate leads all by itself.

There’s loads and loads of advice floating around on why it’s so important to create a downloadable freebie for your website so you can use it to collect email addresses to build your email list and then magically make more sales.

Yes, getting more people to voluntarily opt-in to your email list is great, and yes, it does put them one step closer to trusting you enough to buy from you.

But a new email subscriber does not mean that this person is becoming a customer any time soon.

Being an email subscriber means they trust you enough not to spam them, that you’ve peaked their interest enough for them to proactively go after your advice, but also that they’re still skeptical and want to see whether or not you’re really worth their time and money.

So now that you’ve gained a little inkling of their trust?

Now’s the time to really push things into over drive to show them how really awesome you are so they’ll want even more of what you’ve got to offer… to the point that they reach out to inquire about your services, or start checking out some of the product descriptions on items you’re selling.

When they sincerely start thinking about spending money on you... that’s when they become a lead, not before.

 

Tweet to warn your followers of Content Marketing Lie #3

 

 

Lie #4: There’s Too Much Noise Online to Make a Big Difference… So Make More Noise to Get Heard

Yes, there’s a lot of noise on the internet.

The internet is made for noise. If it wasn’t, it wouldn’t be open to anyone and everyone to publish whatever the heck they wanted.

To cut through the noise, a lot of “content is king gurus” will tell you that you need to publish more blog posts, make more videos, and design more infographics.

In short, to make sure you’re screaming LOUDER than everyone else in your niche to ensure you’re the one that gets attention.

But if you’re in an open-market bazaar, do you pay attention to the guy screaming the loudest?

Yes, you notice him because he’s the loudest, but you really wish he’d just shut his big annoying mouth and let you look at the wares he’s selling in peace… to make your own decision without him screaming at you.

But the crazy thing about all this noise is, the fact that there’s so much of it out there actually makes it easier to stand out.

Because most of the things people are screaming about?

They’ve already been repeated 50 times over by everyone else screaming about exactly the same thing.

The secret to getting noticed then, is not to scream louder, but to sit quietly, produce something that’s quality is noticeably better, and just watch as one person comes by, then another, than another, until the crowds start swarming to you and the big lines and word of mouth recommendations (i.e. organic social shares) speak for themselves.

 

Here's an example of that "noise" I was talking about. As soon as I saw the title of this post in my LinkedIn notifications, I rolled my eyes. So generic and obvious.

Here's an example of that "noise" I was talking about. As soon as I saw the title of this post in my LinkedIn notifications, I rolled my eyes. So generic and obvious. I doesn't add any real value.

 

This post, on the other hand, offers some value. It's written by Neil Patel and titled "Stop Guessing: Here's a Social Media Strategy That works."

This post, on the other hand, offers some value. It's written by Neil Patel and titled "Stop Guessing: Here's a Social Media Strategy That works." You can see from the start that he's going to provide you with real numbers and actual steps, rather than recycled advice that won't get you anywhere.

 

Tweet to warn your followers of Content Marketing Lie #4

 

Lie #5: Content Production is Free. (Or Low Cost.)

Content and inbound-based marketing sparks a lot of interest in boot-strapping entrepreneurs and niche marketers because, on the surface, it doesn’t seem to cost anything.

If you’re producing content yourself, it’s free.

If you decide to outsource it, you can easily find writers willing to churn out posts with your selected keywords for $10 to $20 a pop.

A dream way to market on a limited or non-existent budget, right?

Maybe, but you’ve also got to take the real costs into account.

For example, if you do it yourself and spend 15+ hours producing a downloadable guide, that’s two workdays you’re not spending on your tactical marketing efforts, strategic planning, or settling high-dollar advertising deals for the ad space that’s open on your blog.

And if the writer you hire isn’t well-trained or only charges $20 per post because he churns out 10 other posts (besides yours) every day, the quality is going to really suffer. And when people get even the slightest whiff of sub-par content, they’ll run away to the next niche blogger who’s willing to invest to do it better.

So you’ll be paying for that in one of two ways: sacrificing your own opportunity cost by producing all the content yourself, or moving cash out of your bank account in exchange for quality content.

 

Exhibit A

Exhibit A

 

Exhibit B

Exhibit B

 

Both of the above articles (Exhibit A & Exhibit B) are aimed at people who are relatively new to figuring out keywords and doing SEO. A was done for a low price, and B was technically done for "free" but it took hours of lost business opportunity time. (But in turn ended up benefiting his business more.)

A just throws out generic advice in simple sentences, and B goes on a deep chapter-by-chapter exploration of how to actually do those things and see results from them.

 

Tweet to warn your followers of Content Marketing Lie #5

 

 

 

(P.S. If you'd like to download a free checklist of 31 blog traffic secrets click here or the image below)

 

Lie #6: A Blog Post is Better than No Blog Post

If you’re a human and not a machine running a niche site, it’s going to happen.

There’s going to come a time when you’ve been swamped with other things, and you suddenly realize that you're supposed to publish a new post tomorrow, but you haven’t even written the first sentence. Forget the catchy headline or all the actual research that has to go into it.

The gut reaction most site owners and bloggers have is to scramble around until they’ve got something put together to push “publish” for at the appointed time.

It’s not the worst thing you could do to your blog or your content marketing strategy, but it certainly isn’t the best thing, either.

Because the truth is this: it’s just one blog post.

It’s not your entire blog that’s become totally sporadic and unpredictable, it’s just one blog post that you might need to publish three days late, or skip out on entirely.

The worst thing, instead, would be to publish sub-par content that doesn’t meet the standards you’ve set, showing your subscribers and first-time visitors that you’re not all you’re cracked up to be.

So, please, don’t half-ass it.

Personally, I hate it when I read a post on one of my favorite blogs that’s sub-par.

I feel cheated, and I’d rather wait a few days (or until the next blog post is scheduled to come out) just to have a better reading experience.

 

Tweet to warn your followers of Content Marketing Lie #6

 

Lie #7: Guest Blogging is Hopeless

Can we stop mis-interpreting what Matt Cutts said already?!?

It's getting a little ridiculous.

For those of you who haven’t read his original statement and have only heard twisted mis-interpretations through hearsay (not your fault), here’s what he actually said:

 

“If you’re using guest blogging as a way to gain links in 2014, you should probably stop. Why? Because over time it’s become a more and more spammy practice, and if you’re doing a lot of guest blogging then you’re hanging out with really bad company… So stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done; it’s just gotten too spammy. In general I wouldn’t recommend accepting a guest post unless you are willing to vouch for someone personally or know them well. Likewise, I wouldn’t recommend relying on guest posting, guest blogging sites, or guest blogging SEO as a link building strategy.”

 

See?

He is not saying that you shouldn't write quality guests posts for blogs and other niche sites that align with yours as a way to spread value online and help build you audience. No.

What he’s saying is that these idiot SEO guys who are trying to cheat their way to the top heard that guest posting was working really well for some people so they created spammy ways of doing it… which are not working and will work even less as time goes on.

I mean, if we’ve learned one thing from Google updates, it’s that you can’t try to back-hand a search engine and trick it into giving you better rankings for very long.

Further, he added this statement at the end of his blog post, just to clear things up on why guest blogging for the right reasons is still, in fact, a really good idea:

 

“There are still many good reasons to do some guest blogging (exposure, branding, increased reach, community, etc.). Those reasons existed way before Google and they’ll continue into the future… I changed the title of this post to make it more clear that I’m talking about guest blogging for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes.”

 

So basically, he’s just saying to stop it with the spammy SEO tactics.

Good content rules and will continue to rule… whether it’s in the form of a guest post or not.

 

Tweet to warn your followers of Content Marketing Lie #7 

 

 

Lie #8: Content Marketing is a Bandwagon Trend

Yes, there’s been increasing, increasing, and increasing buzz about ‘content marketing’ to the point that it’s becoming an annoying industry buzz word.

Total jargon, in fact.

Heck, I write content for a living, but I absolutely loathe being labeled as a “Content Writer.” Not because I’m embarrassed about the work I do, but because “content” just sounds so shitty, trendy, and cheap.

But, contrary to what the 20-year-old “gurus” who’re trying to make a quick buck online are saying, content marketing has been around for a long, long time.

Way before internet connectivity and easy access to laptops cheapened it.

For example, the soap opera.

I don’t care whether you love or hate soap operas, the content marketing strategy behind them was pure genius.

In the days before television, there would be mid-day broadcasts of an on-going serial drama, in the middle of which would run commercials for the soap brand that was sponsoring the creation of that content.

Listeners didn’t pay a penny to consume the content, but they did start becoming more loyal to the soap brands than ran them.

These started in the early 1930s.

But before that, in 1904, Jello (a then relatively unused product) distributed free cookbooks, and after two years, they were doing over $1 million in revenue on a $0.10 product.

Today, Jello is so successful that their brand name is even used to refer to any type of generic gelatin. Like Kleenex for facial tissues, Band-Aid for bandages, and Popsicle for freezer pops.

Yes, my friends, content marketing has been around for over 100 years. So no, it’s not a trend. And not matter what those self-proclaimed gurus say, it isn’t going anywhere.

So stop treating it like a trend. Stop treating like something you ‘do’ just because everyone else is doing it, and embrace it as a part of your long-term business growth strategy… now and 10 years from now.

 

Yes, content marketing really is this old.

Yes, content marketing really is this old.

 

Tweet to warn your followers of Content Marketing Lie #8

 

(P.S. If you'd like to download a free checklist of 31 blog traffic secrets click here or the image below)

 

Recovering from the Lies

If you've been planning and acting on your content strategy and content marketing based on some of these lies, you're not alone.

It's almost like a right of passage in the online content world to flail around with the advice of bad content marketers before you uncover the true common sense of what really works with your audience and with search engines.

I remember being particularly guilty of sticking to my pre-set publication schedule like glue, even if it meant I was just churning out a sub-par listicle that no one really got any value from.

The good news is, though, you don't have to go through a really long transition period to stop bad content practices to adapt new ones... you just shift your plans and start performing better.

In my case, for example, I set a schedule to post a little less frequently to ensure the quality was really high, and I deleted the posts that I'd just published for the sake of publishing, but didn't live up to my standards.

But you tell us, are there any content marketing lies you've been duped by? Or any doubts you'd like cleared up? We've got a team of professional content writers and content marketers ready to help you out.

 

Chelsea Baldwin
Chelsea has a background in journalism and IT, and besides writing for NicheHacks, she's the founder of Copy Power, a business and a website that helps business owners figure out how to get remembered online via copywriting.

She excels in the topic of SEO but can write on a wide range of topics of which you can discover by clicking on her name.

Comments (12)

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  1. Kam says:

    Great post man! I mentioned that on facebook but I wanted to show your blog some love dude! Take it to the source! It seems like the strategy that Jello brand used could be adapted to a number of platforms.

    • Chelsea Baldwin says:

      Yes, I think Jello's strategy with content was absolutely genius. I'd love to see how other platforms could adapt it to their own products... I think we'd see some really interesting (and maybe more effective?) marketing campaigns.

  2. Charles Been says:

    Yeah.. we have to do more careful about it.. awesome tips to learn from here. Nice to read 🙂

  3. Anthony B. says:

    I think this is a classic example of separating the wheat from the chaff for lack of a better analogy.

    The classic ways of doing "business" online will always remain powerful whereas the shortcuts and methods put in place to game an algorithm will not.

    People trying to get into the game just want that instant lottery ticket of quick money. While you might be able to do things in a black hat way for a while and reap some minimal rewards, all of that work could have been put into a stable system that you can count on to grow each day instead of fearing that you will be slapped by the search engine gods tomorrow.

    Rolling up your sleeves and churning out the best work you possibly can is always the best way to go. But for every one genuine Internet Marketer, there are 100 hundred others undermining the quality of the internet and looking for that quick buck.

    All in all a great write up. /rant

    • NicheHacks says:

      Thanks for the insightful comment Anthony. Hope you stick around.

    • Chelsea Baldwin says:

      Totally agree, Anthony.

      Unfortunately, a lot of the 'quick-win, lottery ticket' marketers are the ones screaming the loudest for attention, so they're often the ones well-meaning internet newbies will listen to first. We can just hope they figure out the slime behind those messages and get back rolling up their sleeves for white-hat methods that'll give them a much better long-term ROI.

      • Anthony B. says:

        Well when you are first starting you WANT the events and not the process that goes with them. People are like "Oh awesome, they made that much in that little amount of time!?!?!?"

        We know better from being in the business for a long while. It is almost a necessary evil to get the results that you crave, it also gets rid of a lot of people that wouldn't make the cut anyway.

        If you aren't constantly learning and testing and doing, you aren't at the level to accept the real responsibility of running an online business because it is just that, a business.

  4. Great post mate and i agreed with your points,
    There are so many big lies out there by the so called gurus and if you're not careful enough, they will certainly lead you astray.

    The best thing is to always chose the people you listens to. There should be people that you trust and they've really proven themselves to be good content marketers.

    If you follow everyone that claims to be a content marketing king, you will soon realize how much time you've squandered listening to them.

  5. Orvel sternberg says:

    Your blog post was a reminder of a truism : GREAT content/products/advertising/mfg/books , etc will always sell or be bought.
    INFERIOR will not.
    Strive to be the best and you're good-to-go.
    Awesome post.
    Thanks.