The silver lining in the bad news about content marketing

bad news about content marketing

There is a steady drumbeat of bad news about content marketing …

  • The output of content per brand increased by 78 percent in one year, but content engagement decreased by 60 percent at the same time.
  • On social networks, brand-generated content is seeing the lowest engagement rates now than any other time. BuzzSumo reported that even the best content creators are seeing dramatic declines in social referrals.
  • 50 percent of professionally-marketed blog posts receive fewer than eight social shares.
  • Content Marketing Institute, the relentless cheerleader for all things content, reported in their new research that satisfaction with the measurable results of content marketing slipped from 38 percent to 30 percent in just a year.

TrackMaven report concluded that a majority of professional marketing content fails to have an impact and calls this “the darkest picture to date of content marketing.”

BuzzSumo’s analytics genius Steve Rayson recently wrote:

Whilst in earlier years it was possible that if you produced good content it would get found and shared, almost by virtue of its quality, this is no longer the case. There is now so much content that even producing great content is not enough.

But despite the gloom, here is a fundamental truth: Content Marketing works. Which of course is part of the problem.

In fact, the more it works, the more people invest in content. The more content, the more competition. The more competition, the more it costs to compete just to maintain the gains … and this is exactly what we’re seeing in the marketplace right now.

The trick is adjusting to these new realities. How do we overcome that level of information density? How do we assign value to our work? And how do we produce content that rises above the noise?

That is the topic of our new podcast episode and one that will surely make you think and perhaps it will even cheer you up in the midst of all this gloomy news. There is a path forward, but we need to adjust to these new realities instead of denying them. Here’s how:

If you can’t access the podcast above, click on this link to listen to Episode 70

Please support our extraordinary sponsors. Our content is free because of their generosity.

Many thanks to our friend Scott Monty for the awesome show intro. Be sure to check out his amazing newsletter The Full Monty, the best weekly curation of digital news.

BuzzSumoBuzzSumo is the world’s best way to discover, analyze and amplify your content. Run over to BuzzSumo today for a 14 day free trial and use the coupon MARKETING-COMPANION to get 20% off BuzzSumo for the first six months. Beyond data, BuzzSumo offers priceless insights to take your marketing to the next level.

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Our podcast is also brougvoices heard mediaht to you by Voices Heard Media. Please check out this tremendous resource for scaling social media engagement. Take a look at building an engaged and relevant audience through innovative new games, contests, analytics, polling platforms, and other innovations.

Illustration courtesy Flickr CC and Surian Soosay

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  • Racer721

    Hi mark. This has been one of my favourite podcasts episodes from the Marketing Companion. I was wondering if most of the content still out there is more promotional (or branded content) about one’s products or services vs. focused on the audience (content brand) as per Tom’s comments?

    Also, You are correct in that eventually answers to questions will dry up if you are focused just on the product or service or even industry. However, I do believe customers will always have questions (some that they don’t know they are asking yet) that you have to just dig a little deeper on whether that is looking at your analytics, seo research or just do more customer research/feedback.

    I had a conversation with Marcus Sheridan the other day and we talked about the same thing in the content marketing space. It’s kind of ironic that the content about “content marketing” is becoming super saturated because more and more people are following the advice that thought-leaders like you, the content marketing institute, hubspot, etc.. They in turn are creating content about content marketing and it is becoming a content exploding circle. he mentioned it is so hard to rank for the term content marketing and even for niche terms. How niche do you have to go now to rank? You probably have to focus on location and specific industry. (i.e. content marketing calgary agriculture landscaping)

    i do believe if you do your audience research correctly, focus on creating content they want (everyday, evergreen, heroic) and do it in some creative way I do believe you can stand out, even in a saturated market like “content marketing”.

  • Racer721

    Hi mark. This has been one of my favourite podcasts episodes from the Marketing Companion. I was wondering if most of the content still out there is more promotional (or branded content) about one’s products or services vs. focused on the audience (content brand) as per Tom’s comments?

    Also, You are correct in that eventually answers to questions will dry up if you are focused just on the product or service or even industry. However, I do believe customers will always have questions (some that they don’t know they are asking yet) that you have to just dig a little deeper on whether that is looking at your analytics, seo research or just do more customer research/feedback.

    I had a conversation with Marcus Sheridan the other day and we talked about the same thing in the content marketing space. It’s kind of ironic that the content about “content marketing” is becoming super saturated because more and more people are following the advice that thought-leaders like you, the content marketing institute, hubspot, etc.. They in turn are creating content about content marketing and it is becoming a content exploding circle. he mentioned it is so hard to rank for the term content marketing and even for niche terms. How niche do you have to go now to rank? You probably have to focus on location and specific industry. (i.e. content marketing calgary agriculture landscaping)

    i do believe if you do your audience research correctly, focus on creating content they want (everyday, evergreen, heroic) and do it in some creative way I do believe you can stand out, even in a saturated market like “content marketing”.

  • Well, it kind of sounds like you answered your own question : )

    A niche has to be big enough to sustain your business. If you get too niche you’ll fail because you need critical mass to run your business. For example, if I wanted to dominate the niche for “mimes in Pittsburgh” I probably won’t get much traction.

    Marcus and I sort of agree and sort of disagree. At a very high level, you have to ask yourself, will a content marketing technique that worked five years ago still work today? Maybe, but probably not as well today Yes, there are still some wide open spaces but even those are closing quickly and we are all being swallowed up by the rising tide of content everywhere.

    I don’t think any reasonable person can deny that content shock is real and happening to almost every business and website. The research is kind of overwhelming at this point. So I contend we must adjust from what worked five years ago and not be stuck in the past. Content marketing works and will always work but we need to go through a period of re-invention.

    Thanks so much for your excellent comment!

  • Well, it kind of sounds like you answered your own question : )

    A niche has to be big enough to sustain your business. If you get too niche you’ll fail because you need critical mass to run your business. For example, if I wanted to dominate the niche for “mimes in Pittsburgh” I probably won’t get much traction.

    Marcus and I sort of agree and sort of disagree. At a very high level, you have to ask yourself, will a content marketing technique that worked five years ago still work today? Maybe, but probably not as well today Yes, there are still some wide open spaces but even those are closing quickly and we are all being swallowed up by the rising tide of content everywhere.

    I don’t think any reasonable person can deny that content shock is real and happening to almost every business and website. The research is kind of overwhelming at this point. So I contend we must adjust from what worked five years ago and not be stuck in the past. Content marketing works and will always work but we need to go through a period of re-invention.

    Thanks so much for your excellent comment!

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