Feeding the Beast: The Content Obesity Epidemic

Information OverloadContent is king, they said. You have to market with content, they said. And brands took heed and poured forth enormous amounts of “stuff” across every channel they could find.

The problem, according to Nicola Kemp in Marketing Magazine, is that “any given piece of marketing communications has now somehow earned the label ‘content’.”

“Indeed, at some companies, such is the dependency on this ‘content crutch’ that the very word ‘content’ has replaced the real and pressing need for brands to develop a genuine and creative editorial strategy,” Kemp laments.

How did this happen?

Much of the deluge, Kemp notes, can be attributed to the marketer’s mandate to “feed the virtual beast.” Marketers, absent a valid editorial strategy, simply fill the blank spaces with stuff. And they do it on any platform they can, whether or not they really have a pressing need to be there.

As Google et. al. have moved away from a strict quantity algorithm in determining search results (remember when article marketing was a “thing” about ten years ago?) and are looking more closely at relevance, so are your readers. One swipe and your content is gone from sight.

“Many brands are guilty of attempting to attract consumers’ attention all the time,” Kemper explains. “Indeed, if the content-marketing industry were a guest at a party, there is a good chance that it would be the kind of shouty, attention seeking person who wouldn’t receive an invitation the second time around.”

What’s the solution? According to Josh Graff of LinkedIn, it’s about providing real value. “Brands that aren’t focused on solving their customers’ problems are destined to fail.”

Be that brand that can tell a great story that relates to your fans and future fans. Have a point of view, and be willing to put yourself out there with it. While tapping into the zeitgeist is okay now and then, never forget what your audience needs from you. Make content with a point…to educate, to serve, to enlighten.

Kemp summarizes it well:  “Brands with the courage to step away from their content calendars for long enough to create something genuinely deserving of consumers’ precious time are the ones who will drive this next wave of content marketing.”