The Great Content Deluge: Are Audiences Oversaturated in Content?
“How to create an endless backlog of content.”
“Five tips for creating more blog content.”
“Never run out of content ideas again.”
We’ve all seen blog titles like these. And they come from a place of good intentions, in general: content marketers are constantly charged with creating a higher volume of content in the name of building audiences and elevating domain authority and page ranking. That’s understandable. We learned years ago that Google tends to favour sites that have a high volume and variety of fresh, relevant content.
But are we suffering from a flood of content that is breaking through the levees? Are our audiences starting to drown in the tides of content saturation? Is this the beginning of the Great Deluge of Content?
The time volume seized the skies
The answer, in our humble estimation, is yes and no.
We all know businesses, especially in the B2B space, thrive on the creation, marketing, and recycling of high-quality content. The critical qualifier here is “high-quality”.
In the pressure of creating content for the sake of lead generation, brand identity, sales, and SEO, content marketers have simply felt the need to keep pace with what they feel is an acceptable level of volume of content while also maintaining a degree of quality of content. However, too often the latter has suffered in the name of the former.
I’ve been guilty of this offence. In our ceaseless search for new ideas, fellow content marketers, how often have we simply settled for a “Five Tips to” or an “Eight Things You’re Not Doing” title more in the name of attracting attention and site visits and less in the name of offering intrinsic value that can’t be found elsewhere? Of offering new insights – be they relatable or not – that readers haven’t found elsewhere? And all in the name of providing a high volume and regular cadence of SEO-friendly content that may or may not resonate with our readers.
The storm yet watered an arid plain
Yes, these blog posts and eBooks and guides and webinars can have value and in many cases they don’t. And in many cases they do. Look, while some of our ideas and insights might not be groundbreaking or discoverable elsewhere, in general we’d like to think they do provide some value to the audience. Especially – and here’s where I assert there’s a positive to be found in this Content Deluge – if the content is highly industry specific.
Think about all of the niche industry publications and vendors out there who are now trying to provide valuable, vendor-neutral content that will attract audiences, build authority and, eventually, nurture sales. Some 20 to 30 years ago members of these industry verticals and sub-verticals – think manufacturing, hospitality, public policy, etc. – only had sporadic and advertising-laden trade and industry publications to rely on for deep insight into industry developments, news, and best practices. Generally delivered by snail mail and curtailed by the – let’s be honest – often limited graphic design appeal, these publications could only capture a narrow base of their intended audience, and only through limited means of engagement. Further, besides a letters-to-the-editor section, there was no real forum for discussion; no place for community engagement.
That’s not to say physical publications don’t still have their place, but look at the tools content marketers seeking to engage their various segmented audiences now have at their disposal today: emails, blogs, webinars, whitepapers, eBooks, infographics, social channels, interactive content. The list goes on. The ways we can reach our desired audiences with nuanced, industry-specific, value-added content on a timely basis these days is beyond compare. The floodgates, in other words, are open, and that’s a good thing. Thing is, we have to make it informative, substantiated, truthful, and – most importantly – of high quality and high relevance. Which reminds me of a great post by Dave Schools where he suggested two very simple qualities that make successful content.
The sun of quality cracked through the clouds
Yes, we are in the midst of this Content Deluge. It’s overwhelming and, to be honest, a lot of it doesn’t offer a ton of fresh insight, was published in the belief it would improve SEO, and ultimately fosters a lot of white noise in the eyes of our audiences. And this in an era where, somewhere between social media and smartphones, attention spans are a precious commodity. (Although it’s not so much that attention spans are shrinking, it’s more that attention spans are very much task-dependent. But that’s another story.) But if we always place content quality and relevance ahead of volume and consistently remember our audience ought to override all our other considerations – that our content, in essence, serves our readers – we can overcome this oversaturation, keep the levees intact, and ride out the storm.
Trying to create great content that resonates with readers? Take a look at The Modern Marketers Guide to Content Creation today.