Do you ever feel like the Internet has become way too cluttered and crowded? That there are too many ads and messages chasing too few audience members? That it’s becoming harder and harder to reach the people you want to reach, and that the old rules of blogging and content marketing aren’t working as well as they used to? If so, you’re not alone!
There is a widely shared blog article on Medium that discusses how we are now reaching the age of “Peak Content.” With so many content creators – people on social media, bloggers, brands and publishers – competing for attention, the world of content marketing has become a race to the bottom – with lots of click bait and low-quality cheap content that’s just chasing the latest trending topics on social media, but isn’t really building a loyal audience or solving people’s problems. If the Internet keeps getting crowded with too much cheap content, people are going to stop paying attention altogether.
As bloggers, content marketers and business people, we need to adopt some “new rules” for the age of Peak Content, such as:
- Make your content count. Every piece of content needs to be higher quality and well worth reading – even if it’s long form. People will read longer stories if they’re good. Resist the urge to chase eyeballs with clickbait – people feel cheated if they click on a link that turns out to be useless or derivative; you might have gained a short-term click but you lost the chance to build a longer-term relationship that would have been much more valuable. It’s fine to comment on the latest trends or include some pop culture in your business-related content, even if you want to get a bit creative or irreverent with it – for example, I wrote a very popular article for Entrepreneur about “sales lessons from Better Call Saul.” But don’t incorporate trending keywords just for the sake of trying to get traffic. Make sure your content has integrity and is relevant to your audience, without cheap shortcuts or gimmicks.
- Be authentic. People respond strongly to authentic human stories – we are social creatures and social media is ultimately supposed to bring us all together in a spirit of sharing, right? Then how come so much business blogging and content marketing is artificial and shiny and relentlessly optimistic? Don’t be afraid to be more gritty and unsparing in your storytelling. Be human. Be real. Be vulnerable. Share stories not just of big successes, but also of learning experiences, mistakes and pitfalls. Talk about how your business almost went bankrupt, or what you learned from losing a big sale. Open up to your audience, and they will trust you more – building trust is the most important job of your content marketing.
- Be creative. Great advertising still has a place in the world of “Peak Content,” as long as it really helps people and is relevant to people’s concerns. Just because content comes from a brand or a company doesn’t mean it has to be boring and self-serving. We are still barely scratching the surface with what is possible for creative storytelling on the Internet. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Even if you fall short of your goals, it’s better to try to be interesting than to be boring.
The era of “Peak Content” is upon us, but that doesn’t mean bloggers and content marketers are doomed – it just means we need to adjust our standards and expectations for what content marketing should be. By doubling down on value, authenticity, and creativity, bloggers can strengthen their bonds with their audiences. Clickbait and cheap gimmicks won’t work forever, but real human communication and powerful storytelling will always endure.
This article was a contribution by Gregg Schwartz, who is the vice president of sales and marketing at Strategic Sales & Marketing, a lead-generation firm based in Connecticut. His company helps technology companies and various startups and small-to-mid-size businesses in the business-to-business sales category generate sales leads and improve their sales processes