The Global Warming Of Content Marketing

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Jay Dillon

Director of Strategy and Creative at Inbound Experts
Jay is a digital marketer and producer whose creative and technical skills have developed digital brand strategies and sales campaigns using a range of complex internet applications from stand-alone websites through to Facebook API integrations.
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Ever since author/consultant Mark Schaefer published “Content Shock: Why content marketing is not a sustainable strategy,” there has been a wave of debate, speculation and significant opinions on the future of content marketing. Schaefer explained this shock principle as “The emerging marketing epoch defined when exponentially increasing volumes of content intersect our limited human capacity to consume it.” Therefore a content marketing strategy may not be economically viable in the future. The idea being that “content shock” will cause:

  • Deep pockets to win
  • The entry barriers become impossibly high
  • The economics created by Content Shock will eventually drive many content creators out of business

While it’s certainly plausible that content shock is a real phenomenon that marketers will need to face for many industries, its implications are debatable. All industries go through a golden age. For the online content marketing industry, it evolved and took off with the Internet and hit gold with the very strong demand by consumers in awe of being able to click away to feed their desire for information. Thus, the volume of free web-based content has been exploding at a ridiculous rate (content saturation). According to Schaefer, this “content shock” will give way to the three points above.

Survival of the fittest content

In this article we’ll bring back valid optimism to the table by debating each of his points. Bottom line, however, my opinion is this: like with any industry, after its peak, comes its refining (Darwin’s theory anyone? Only the best in the business will survive, but definitely not by or because of those three limiting points).

  • Deep pockets win? Only to a certain point. Yes, money is a huge advantage and can make up for a lot but ultimately you can not standardise skills/people and there will always be those who are more adept, creative and able to think outside the box.
  • Entry barriers will become impossibly high? Entry has never been so easy in the digital age. The real challenge lies in getting your voice heard above the rest. Think of all the useless content that goes viral on the Internet that’s not associated with a business. If anything, weeding out the useless would be nice (for those of us who dislike spam) but anyone can get started, the key is to keep going with a solid content marketing strategy.
  • The economics of Content Shock will force many content creators out of business? The reality is, the main reason why businesses go out of business is because they’re bad at running a business. Content is not the main factor in this and blogger Marcus Sheridan makes an excellent point in his article by stating:

“As for content creators, those that truly understand *how* to do content marketing, as well as how to *use* content marketing will be incredibly successful—always.”

Yes, our ability to consume content now feels more finite because the truth is; there are only so many hours of our day that we can dedicate to reading the ever-inflating content driven intra-web. Even if we were to “consume” content while we eat, work or drive, there is always a limit. Does this lead to saturation? Yes. Will it lead to the end of competitive content marketing? No. Simply because, as long as people seek information, great content will prevail.

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