If you’re marketing online at the moment you’re probably carrying out some form of content marketing. But if everyone’s carrying out content marketing what happens? Expect the content crunch to happen at some point, this is the point where no matter how much content you create as a marketer you’ll get very little or no traction from it.
It’s just a case of supply and demand; there are a finite number of people on the internet consuming content, however as more and more businesses start to produce content to attract content consumer the less valuable each piece of content becomes to the consumer.
The amount of free content out there is growing at an exponential rate, with the amount of content out there doubling every nine months or so. But if we accept our ability to consume that content is finite (whether it be blog posts, press releases, social media posts, podcasts, videos etc) there is a limit to the amount that can be consumed.
At the point where there is so much content out there, companies will have to invest more in content creation than the revenue is worth to the business, the more profitable businesses will drive this brute force domination of online marketing, whilst businesses with established rankings will continue to benefit in the rankings from the value of their existing brand with less content creation and it’s this point we’re entering the Content Shock phase that Mark Schaefer discussed, in which “content supply is exponentially exploding while content demand is flat” – perhaps that’s what’s happening now!
Just to keep the same number of visitors I had to GrowTraffic in 2010 I have to create more content that’s more in depth, more thought provoking, more everything, as soon as I stop creating content I start to drop – and this is a domain with years of high rankings for terms such as freelance seo consultant, seo consultant etc as well as great user stats.
The ability of the public to consume content has grown over time and has followed various online technological breakthroughs, we’ve had scrolls, books, the printing press, newspapers, radio, television and the internet and all these have changed the speed and the way in which we consume content. Mobile phones have enabled us to consume content wherever we are, increasing the amount of content we can consume.
As marketers we’ve believed all we’ve got to do is produce great content and it’s a problem with our content if it doesn’t perform for us. Perhaps ill performing content isn’t because it’s poor content, but simply that there is so much content out there it’s lost in the crowd.
- Money wins out in the end
With any form of saturated media, those with deep pockets will win out – if you can afford to brute force your business you will get there, create content and create lots of it, however it will cost you more than it has ever cost a business historically to succeed online.
- The barriers to entry are getting higher
As pockets need to be deeper in every niche, those competitors that are able to enter the market, effectively raise the barriers to entry for their competitors attempting to enter the market.
The question for every small business entering the market has to be how do you create an audience from a standing start? Each day you stand still, making plans, coming up with indepth strategies you lose vital time to get in on marketing your business online. It’s getting harder each day/
At some point or another there’s going to come a time when businesses simply can’t justify creating content as a marketing channel, they’ll have to go back to concentrating on offline marketing campaigns or email marketing, or telephone campaigns.
The future of marketing and specifically Content Marketing
If we look back to what’s gone before, the first revolution saw us creating website – I remember I created my first website in 1999, it’s still there after all this time lurking if anyone wants to find it! The second revolution in online marketing was seo, a method for getting a website found in the search engines by using keywords in various forms. The third revolution was enabled by advance at a relatively similar time of social media and mobile technology; this was the content marketing revolution in which people find the information they’re looking for when they need it and wherever they are.
The next revolution will come, and it may completely mitigate Schaefer’s imminent Content Shock, as this new revolution will come in the form of wearable technology and augmented reality. I’d give it 18 months from now before it’s really taking off.
This is going to be a time of interaction and every marketer will want a piece of it! It’s still content though, localised content, micro detail marketing, it’s going to stretch even the most creative marketer and it’s going to have to be informative and fun at the same time.
Ultimately we are still in the content marketing phase, however we’re going to need to make the leap of how that content is triggered by items and locations around the user and how to make that fun – and guess what, there is probably less space in which a consumer can consume content in an augmented reality world.