I deliberately stayed out of the debate last week over Mark Schaefer's blog post, "Content Shock: Why content marketing is not a sustainable strategy." Mark's contention was there's too much content out there, and it will become prohibitively expensive to compete for customer "eyeballs." I stayed on the sidelines because they didn't need me on the field. A raft of content marketing A-Listers immediately took Mr. Schaefer's side or took him to task. Nice job, Mark. That's the way to get people talking.
What's interesting to me, though, is how relevant the conversation is to the vast number of SMBs out there now wondering whether or not to invest in content operations. Seriously? Let's put this discussion into perspective.
Hmmm, not many hands raised... OK, one more question...
If you know the answers, then you already know the value of publishing high quality content on a regular basis. You also know that increasing the amount of that high quality content is likely to accelerate reaching your goals, whatever they may be. So it's really not about over-production, it's about not enough resources to get it done, right?
If you don't know the answers to my last question, then you're just getting started. This is where I see the most potential damage from debates like Mark Schaefer's. Budget decision makers are likely going to latch onto the "too much content" argument and use that as an excuse to suppress or scale back content marketing. If they do, they are shooting themselves in the foot.
Well, the argument over content saturation is largely academic for small-to-medium sized businesses. Ninety percent of them aren't producing enough content to even show up as a blip on the radar screen. The debate is relevant to big brands, for example Microsoft competing against Apple for an increase in 1-2 percent of market share. These guys put out a ton of "content," if you want to call it that. To me, it's mostly mass marketing, and I agree that most of us are tired of that stuff.
For you, the SMB content marketer, your frontier is wide open. You are trying to reach customers one-on-one, and when you do it right, it often leads to a sale. So this is not about quantity of content, it's about quality, relevance (context) and channel choice. How many of your competitors are killing it in that arena? Not so many, right? So, don't let the talking heads scare you. Content marketing is a rising tide, not because it's so popular right now, but because it works.
Photo credit: Dolarz