Nowadays the world of online content is downright saturated. There are millions of people who all claim to be "experts" in their chosen field. There are literally more than 600 million blogs. And apparently everyone in the world has their own podcast. How exactly did that happen? Why is the content world so full of redundant (and often bad) content, and how can you fight it?
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Content marketing has been a popular strategy for entrepreneurs in virtually all industries for the past decade. It synergizes with dozens of other online marketing tactics, including search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, and email marketing, and offers one of the highest return on investment (ROI) of any marketing strategy. Accordingly, it is easy to see why content marketing has become so popular.
But these days the world of online content is downright saturated. There are millions of people who claim to be "experts" in their chosen field. There are literally more than 600 million blogs. And apparently everyone in the world has their own podcast.
How exactly did that happen? Why is the content world so full of redundant (and often bad) content, and how can you fight it?
Google is losing the battle
First, we need to consider the loss of Google to poor quality content. Over the years, Google has applied ever stricter standards to its search engine algorithm, removing content with little effort that was only intended to help a website rank higher on search engine results pages (SERPs). Updates like Panda have helped set new standards for content quality on the web, and updates like Hummingbird have applied new "semantic search" features to take into account context rather than keyword matches.
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Despite these updates, almost any website can get Google first for a given search as long as it continues to write and publish more content. Content is understandably the best way to improve search rankings, and search rankings remain the best way to get your brand noticed. So it makes sense that people keep finding ways to manipulate the system in their favor.
The mutual benefit of the dilemma
To make matters worse, both authors and editors can benefit from the production of content. Publishing sites are encouraged to publish a wide range of posts from different authors, index more content, and increase their domain authority. At the same time, writers are constantly looking for new publishing opportunities where they can build their own authority and gain more visibility for their content.
These two types of parties have created a kind of ecosystem where content posting and sharing is free and easy. While most publishers have content standards, writers are practically encouraged to produce the lowest quality work that can meet the expectations of publishers and platforms like Google.
Abuse of title
Everyone claims to be an expert on something these days. Because people are often responsible for writing their own titles and bios, they have a free hand to describe themselves as they want. Without much verifiable evidence, they can call themselves a “serial entrepreneur” or “technology consultant” and get away with writing on topics they have minimal understanding. This practice has become ubiquitous and has impaired the ability of “real” experts to be discovered by people who need them.
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Mimicry and replication
Content marketing is an environment that is ripe for mimicry and replication. When someone is successful in the content marketing world, other writers see them as an example and try to recreate the process that led them to success. This eventually leads to a self-sustaining environment where large audiences repeat the same tactic over and over without adding to the conversation. It is a self-continuing problem.
Bots and Automation
It doesn't help that it is becoming increasingly popular for content marketers to turn to bots and automation to write new articles and syndicate their work. While most content creation bots are not yet high enough to fool plagiarism checkers or the Google algorithm, there may soon come a time when it is difficult to distinguish the work of a robot from the work of a human. In that case, this problem will only get worse.
How to beat the saturated market
What steps can you take to overcome this saturation and really make your content stand out?
- Offer new information. Try to provide your audience with unique anecdotes, original research, or other forms of really new information. Tell them something they have never heard before.
- Talk to a niche audience. Do not try to use a general audience. Instead, speak to a very specific, focused demographic and differentiate yourself from your competitors.
- Connect directly with your readers. Don't just produce content. Talk to your readers and try to build a real community from the ground up.
- Weave multiple strategies together. Content marketing is just a strategy. So try to use it in concert with a variety of other strategies.
Content marketing is alive and well, but we owe it to ourselves and our readers to write the best possible content – and not to add to the saturation problem. Prioritize quality and differentiation in your own material and don't fall into the traps that publishers, authors and search engines have set.