I recently read a well thought out post on Moz.com from Rand Fishkin about the likelihood of content fatigue over time as more and more content is produced and published on a vast array of marketing channels across the web. He talked about considerable reductions in visibility of brand posts, lower earning amplification among other warning signs. While I agree on many accounts (by nature of the math and economics—more content means more competition), I also thought it might be nice to look on the bright side of content fatigue—the fact that more competition brings out true innovation.
I’m sure I’m not the first person to get on Facebook and see 1,000 different memes all using the same picture. The “content fatigue” is very real in this instance, but guess what—I almost always look at them. I mean, what can it hurt? Takes me two seconds to pull up the pic and read the caption. If it’s one I’ve seen before, I quickly disregard it and secretly judge the person that shared it as being “out of the loop.” But then, out of the blue, I come across one with a truly clever caption and I laugh. It may have been a picture I’ve seen a thousand times, but with the right content, it becomes hilarious and for a split second I think about sharing it. This is a small, stupid example, but it showcases what I’m talking about. Competition is what drives any industry to be better, to innovate, and to stand above the rest. Isn’t that we are all looking for anyway, the best of an industry? The content industry is no different. Competition is what truly makes content great.
So to be fair, I completely agree with Rand’s bottom line where he says, “Whatever you’re doing in content strategy, production, and promotion today had better be so runaway incredible that you can earn and own audience soon…” but it’s the part afterwards I have to disagree with. He says, “before the world of content (potentially) goes from the wild west, to an overcrowded, hyper-competitive field where standing out to jaded, fatigued consumers is 10x harder than it is today.” I don’t think it should necessarily be viewed as a race against time for an easy out, I think it’s more of a reminder that crap content will get you crap results—so plan accordingly.
So to help prove my way of thinking, here are my supplemental points of why more competition and more content doesn’t necessarily mean it’s impossible to stand out:
While I do think it’s safe to say that content fatigue is a real thing, I also think it’s safe to say that content creators will adapt and innovate to stay on top. This is both a stressful and exciting concept. For marketers, it means that rather than hammering out a thousand “Top 10 lists” or “How To’s”, try diversifying your content portfolio. Be brave enough to try creating content that you wouldn’t normally do to help you see what’s working. Think outside the box and be prepared to fail. In the end, we should be excited to see how content evolves as competition pushes it to be better.