By Rachel Foster published February 23, 2011

The 3 Big Myths of B2B Content Marketing

Content marketing is hot right now. According to the B2B Content Marketing: 2010 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends report, 51% of B2B marketers plan to increase their content marketing budgets within the next year. That’s because publishing compelling content can help you attract customers, increase your brand awareness, promote your thought leadership and bring more visitors to your website. And that’s just a short list of benefits!

However, you may have come across a few myths that are preventing you from getting the greatest ROI from your content marketing efforts. If you’re in the early stages of a content marketing strategy, you may believe at least one of the following myths.

Myth #1: If I tweet it, they will read it

Reality: It takes more than simply publishing a blog or posting a tweet to bring visitors to your website. Sysomos recently revealed that the average lifespan of a tweet is one hour–meaning that if no one retweets you within an hour, you’ll have to either try again later or post something more compelling.

The same thing applies to the rest of your content. Only a limited number of people will subscribe to your blog or trade their contact information to download a white paper. If you want to reach a larger audience, you should make your content available in different formats on different channels. For example, you can turn a series of blog posts into a white paper or make a video of an educational presentation and share it with your social networks.

Myth #2: The number one purpose of developing content is to make search engines like me

Reality: Publishing keyword-rich content can improve your search engine rankings and bring more visitors to your website, but those visitors won’t stick around unless your content is engaging. Don’t try to get to the top of the search engines by stuffing your social media content and website with keywords. This makes your copy boring and tells your readers, “I wrote this for Google–not for you.”

Instead, write about topics that interest your readers. When readers find your content valuable, they will share it with their networks. The inbound links to your website will do more to improve your Google rankings than stuffing your copy with keywords.

Myth #3: Content marketing is a great way to sell my products and services

Reality: You have a huge opportunity to attract customers with your content. However, many marketers turn their blogs, white papers and social media messages into blatant sales pitches. If you try to pitch to potential customers before they get a chance to know, like and trust you, they will tune out. The bulk of your content should educate potential customers and help solve one of their key problems. Once your prospects view you as a trusted and helpful resource, they will be more likely to turn to you if they need your product or service.

What about you? What content marketing myths have you encountered? Feel free to share your comments below.

Author: Rachel Foster

Rachel Foster is a B2B copywriter and CEO of Fresh Perspective Copywriting. She helps her clients improve their response rates, clearly communicate complex messages and generate high-quality leads. Rachel has taught white paper, sell sheet and case study writing for MarketingProfs. She is also one of the Online Marketing Institute’s Top 40+ Digital Strategists in Marketing for 2014. You can connect with Rachel on LinkedIn, follow her on Twitter or check out her B2B marketing blog

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  • Michael Brenner

    Great job Rachel! I love myth busting posts and you nailed the right ones. Bottom line is that if we produce content that helps people, we win!

    • Rachel Foster

      Hi Michael,

      Thanks for your comment! I was working on another myth about jumping in without a plan, but that can be a whole other blog post. I’m glad you enjoyed the post.


      • Gowthaman

        “I wrote this for Google–not for you.” Haha i lol’ed
        Writing for the users is always better than stuffing some keywords and throw around some content on your site. And i completely agree with you on the twitter thingy. Btw heard recently that Google has slapped Article Directories. Your thoughts on that? And do you think that spreading the same content with backlink to multiple sites is any good?

        • Rachel

          Here’s an article that explains how Google is taking action against content farms that produce tons of low-quality articles – I think it’s more important to publish your content in places where your target audience will see it. That’s why it could be better to submit an article to a blog or trade publication that reaches your audience, as opposed to 1,000 general article sites. Your audience will also be more likely to share your content, give you links and improve your SEO rankings.

  • Arthur Lyons

    So right. You can’t fake good content marketing. It must be done right. Doing the social marketing promotion of your content, and ensuring the keywords are there are important, but Rachel does a good job of pointing out that if it isn’t great content to begin with, it won’t attract and engage the target audience.

    • Rachel

      Hi Arthur,

      Thanks for you comment! It’s very true that your content quality matters. Your readers can tell when something is written with their needs in mind, rather than just to push out content for content’s sake.


  • G Neil Human Resources

    Myth number One I hear a lot…ANY content is good content. Nonsense! But so many people believe it, and sadly, sometimes the people who believe it are running Google’s search algorithm.

    • Rachel

      Thanks for your comment. Another point about myth number one is that some organizations publish content without taking the time to build relationships with their audience. I may write another post about this soon.

  • Brian Hansford

    Rachel is on a roll this week! These myths are all accurate. Content should be educational, informative, engaging, and even entertaining. “If you tweet it, they will come” is a HUGE myth. Social media is a channel to promote and discuss content. It is not THE channel. I also agree that many orgs make the mistake of engaging in heavy sales pitches with their content.

    Brian Hansford

    • Rachel

      Thanks, Brian! I attended an AMA panel last week, and they discussed how some organizations are putting all their efforts into social media. While social media is a great tool, you have to put it in a bigger toolbox.


  • Luis

    Great summary Rachel. Liked so much I quoted you on a piece I wrote. Thanks for the insight.

    • Rachel

      Hi Luis,

      Thanks for writing another blog post about this. I’ll check it out soon!


  • Luis

    Sorry for the error on the url. It should be:

  • Patricia Redsicker

    Really liked your article Rachel – especially the “if you tweet it they’ll read it” – I’m definitely guilty of that one ;). Thanks a bunch.

    • Rachel

      You’re welcome! I’m glad you liked the post.

  • Katie McCaskey

    Rachel, great stuff. I had a query today that reflects each of these myths. It laughably went like this: “I need six 450 word articles just like these [example] but rewritten for [my industry], and a 15,000 word e-book on Facebook marketing [targeting my industry]”. The assumption was that the “magic traffic formula” was as simplistic as copying what works for others, nearly verbatim, and thinking only of search, not of audience. (I won’t tell you the proposed budget. Then you’d REALLY laugh!) Thanks for helping expose these myths!

    • Rachel

      Hi Katie,

      Thanks for your comment. If only it was that easy!


  • AquteIntel

    Myth #2 is one that as a small business, it’s always difficult to stick to – you want to write for your readers/clients, but at the same time the power of Google is so overwhelming that you keep gravitating towards what will make Google happy.

    • Rachel

      Thanks for your comment. I believe that the best thing to do for your search engine rankings is to write content with your target audience in mind. Include keywords they are searching for in your blog post title and meta tags. You can also use keywords in the body copy and as links – as long as you don’t stuff the copy with keywords. I believe Google can tell when you stuff your copy with keywords and will penalize you for it.

  • Jay Olson

    Good advice Rachel. I especially loved your point in myth 1. It’s a good reminder to look for ways to make your content available via multiple channels. Individual tweets typically have short life spans.

    • Rachel

      Hi Jay,

      Thanks for your comment. I attended an American Marketing Association panel last week, and the panelists discussed this. They said that your content is more likely to spread if you use blogs and videos. If you keep your content in a closed community, such as only on Facebook or Twitter, your message will be less likely to spread. It makes a lot of sense.


  • Olalah Njenga

    The most spot on tips around content marketing I’ve seen so far. You really nailed this one. I’ve been telling my B2B clients this for years and yet . . . they want to believe the hype. You’ve made my day.

    • Rachel

      Hi Olalah,

      Wow. Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed the post.


  • Steven Parker

    Great observations Rachel! Here’s another I would add, as a fellow B2B copywriter. Some people think that Content Marketing somehow “replaces” great copywriting and renders it obsolete. The mistake they make is in believing that copywriting by definition always violates your myth #3 — that it’s synonymous with hit-em-over-the-head, overly aggressive selling. As I’m sure you’ll agree, great copywriting is persuasion delivered by a thoughtful friend instead of a pushy salesperson. Content Marketing does up the ante, in a way, on copywriting. It demands great copywriting, and that means everyone must be able to tell the good from the bad. For those of us in the business, though, that’s nothing new.

    • Rachel

      Hi Steven,

      Thanks for your comment. Your point is very true. I believe Copyblogger recently posted something about the differences between copywriting and content marketing and how it is necessary to combine both for a successful marketing strategy.


  • Molly

    Great tips! Here at Dyadcomp, we try to lead by example by offering our clients useful content for our users, not just for search engines. I know that these are actually really common mistakes that many small businesses can make when attempting to engage in effective content marketing. Will make sure to share this tips with them.

    thanks again!

    Molly Griffin

    • Rachel

      Hi Molly,

      Thanks for your comment. I’m glad you enjoyed the post.


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  • Cheri Wiles

    I so agree with the “if I tweet it, they will read it” comment! Twitter is fun, educational and engaging. It can both open and shut doors. It allows you to reach out to prospects and reach in to the thoughts of our peers. It is not, however, magic.

    • Rachel

      Hi Cheri,

      Thanks for your comment. Yes, many people think that opening a Twitter account will magically solve all their marketing problems. You may be interested in checking out this interview with Dave Fleet, where he discusses how social media is not a magic bullet –


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  • Markwojtasiak

    One myth I have learned over the past few years is that “one size fits all”…we all know this is not the case. What appeals to one B2B customer does not to another. Content needs to be re purposed in as many ways as our various B2B customers consume (whitepaper, blog, video, infographic, eBook, etc), and that may even mean in analog form. Yes..some still want the printed hard copy.

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  • sears card payment

    Thank something that this is going to be worked on.

  • dougkessler

    Great post.  All myths I recognise (and have been guilty of falling for).

    Here’s another:

    A download is a win.
    Yes, it’s a step on the road to a win, but it doesn’t mean the person has read the piece or was moved by it to do something.  We’re all seduced by ‘validation metrics’ like these but they’re not the real deal.