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I recently read a well thought out post on 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.

Sweet Memes are Made of These


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.

Content Karma

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.

 Competition Drives Content

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:

  1. Humans are naturally great at sniffing out superb content—While marketers have a tendency to recycle and reuse sub-par content over and over again to increase exposure (which I agree with Rand, will be hard to do as more content is put out), is that really a bad thing? There’s already a PLETHORA of “meh” content on the web right now. In 10 years, there will be a lot more content, but I have a hard time believing that “virality” won’t still be happening across media channels. If content is good, it’s good. The people decide, and they usually get what they want. Since my immediate social media channels usually consist of people I currently associate with, I have to believe that they will still only post items that they actually find amusing, interesting, or of value. While you’ll always have that one friend (or 5, or 10, or 100) that repost the same boring crap you’ve seen a million times, you’re bound to get good content still running through those channels without feeling the weight of a ton more content. Either that, or I need to make new friends. I have to go with my gut and put my trust in the human race in deciding what’s good or not.
  2. Technology will help us weed out the bad from the good—While I don’t think this is an end-all point, the advancement of content filters can only help the case for good content. There is also something to be said about technology allowing more people to consume content. Not only that, but in 10 years there will be more people to consume the content anyway. Again, I’m not saying technology solves all problems, but innovation in technology will lead to innovation in the creation and consumption of content.
  3. New types of Content are bound to come out—It’s actually pretty exciting to think about this point. What will we come up with, next? Whether it’s images, video, audio, text, touch, experience, content can be packaged in a variety of different ways. Take, for instance, Google Glass. Marketers are already brainstorming ways to advertise and utilize augmented reality technology. What could the next type of content be? I don’t have the answers, but I’ve got some ideas (that I won’t share until I’m good and ready!).

Conclusion—What Should Be Done?

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.

Matt Secrist is the VP of Business Development and co-founder BKA Content, a content creation services company.

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Matt Secrist

Matt Secrist is the VP of Business Development and co-founder BKA Content, a content creation services company.

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