The 3 Ways to Succeed at Content Marketing When Everybody in the World is Doing Content Marketing

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Jay Baer Blog PostIt’s getting crowded in here.

Marketers always kill the golden goose, and content marketing is next on the chopping block. The volume of content being created now is enormous, and we’re nowhere near the apex of the content creation trend. Companies are creating more and more and more and more content for three reasons:

  • The way they used to market doesn’t work as well as it used to work, and they are grasping at alternatives
  • Content marketing works for them, and they know it
  • Content marketing is relatively inexpensive compared to interruption marketing, so they figure they might as well give it a shot

Some content being produced today is smart, inspirational, effective and downright fantastic. More of it is the exact opposite, the worst kind of ready, fire, aim flotsam and jetsam that the digital realm produces in spades.

My friend Mark Schaefer, a superior blogger/author/podcaster is deeply concerned about the volume of content production upsetting the entire apple cart and making content unsustainable as a marketing stratagem even for the good guys with pure hearts and good intentions. In a series of posts at his {grow} blog, he theorizes that a reckoning is coming: a point where so much content fills the pipeline that creators cannot break through the wall of noise, making it no longer cost-effective to produce content at all. Market researcher extraordinaire Tom Webster (and Mark’s podcast co-host) has also sounded an alarm about content marketing being a short-term arbitrage opportunity that may begin to fail once all the inefficiencies currently present in the information marketplace are removed.

I agree that change will come. I disagree that this in any way unusual, or a rationale to not get involved in content marketing.

Certainly, more content being created will make it more difficult to succeed as a content marketer. That’s axiomatic, and is 100% about economics and 0% about content marketing per se. When competition increases for ANYTHING (customers, attention, pizza sales, bird seed, real estate) smart players adapt and survive, and less-astute players continue to embrace the status quo and slowly dig their own graves.

Eventually, the content boom will weed out the weak and the lazy and the misguided (tweet this), the same way the SEO boom, display ad boom, PPC boom, email boom, and social media boom culled those herds. Some day, people who aren’t disproportionately adept at content won’t succeed with content marketing as a major part of their communications and engagement program; nor should they.

Eventually, everything is impacted by change and competition. That’s not unique to content marketing in the least.

Change doesn’t matter. It’s what you do about change that matters. (tweet this)

HotDogGIFclip11CompressedThese are the three ways you can continue to succeed with content marketing when the content marketing industry starts to feel as overstuffed as Joey Chestnut on July 5.


When content gets tough, you may have to do things dissimilar to the other guys. That might mean (and I hope it does) making your content so useful, people would pay for it if you asked them to do so (a Youtility approach). Or, you might have to use new techniques to break through, such as this innovative video infographic from Vidyard. Maybe you explore and colonize a new topical sub-niche for your content?


When content success requires more than just showing up to the dance, perhaps you might have to make your content “better” and more polished. This is the “make your content matter” approach often advocated by Ann Handley from MarketingProfs and Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose from Content Marketing Institute. Whether it’s graphic design, comprehensiveness, emotional appeal or other factors, you may need to invest more in your content marketing “bricks” to stay ahead of the game. (for an overview of the Convince & Convert Bricks vs. Feathers approach to content strategy, see this post and graphic)


When the content marketing boom is in full effect (I give it 24 months), you may need to find a way to scale content creation in a time and cost-effective fashion. This is the premise of “low effort” content that is championed by my friends at Compendium (now part of Oracle). I’m a big believer in this approach, whereby you create mechanisms for your customers and employees to create large volumes of straightforward content via email inquiry, online form, product reviews, testimonials, etc. I call this concept Cooperative Content, and I believe it will eventually dominate polished content due to its significant economic advantages, and the ability to use technology to achieve scale. Software packages like Captora are already in the market, helping brands perform content marketing gap analyses, and then automatically creating hundreds of topic-focused landing pages in minutes. Tech-assisted content creation will be huge in 2015.  


That’s it. That’s the list. There are only 3 ways to succeed when faced with increasing competition: differentiation, excellence, or scale (tweet this). Some day, you’ll need to adopt one or more of these approaches to maintain content marketing effectiveness. Will you?


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