How to avoid inflating the content bubble

Never has so much content been produced by so many, so often. But is there a surplus of content for content's sake now? And how do you make sure yours stands out from the froth?

 How to avoid inflating the content bubble

This week, Charlie Brooker wrote in the Guardian about why he’s decided to rest his weekly column for a while: ‘I've recently been overwhelmed by the sheer amount of jabber in the world: a vast cloud of blah I felt I was contributing to every seven days.’

Hundreds of thousands of organisations create, curate and publish content every day, thanks in part to the natural search benefits of content marketing. Two million blog posts are written each day, 30 billion pieces of content are shared on Facebook each month and 278,000 tweets are sent every minute.

The result is a vast content bubble – what Brooker calls ‘a billion instantly-conjured words on any contemporaneous subject you can think of’. A proliferation of poor-quality content creates background noise that we all have to fight to be heard over.

Are you adding to the content bubble?

Our own State of Digital Copywriting survey found that 66.5% of digital marketing professionals surveyed use product managers and marketers to write content, rather than trained copywriters. And nearly 52% write copy on demand, rather than to a plan.

Could some of them be pumping out content for content’s sake, in absence of any real plan, writing resource or strategy?

Using non-professional writers to create quickly-produced content might deliver some short-term gains – like meeting seo targets, for example. But it fails the greater goal: fostering an emotional bond with users and delivering ROI.

And with so much bland, meaningless content out there, how long until the content bubble bursts and users are so turned off they stop engaging with the good stuff, for fear of the bad?

How can you make your content stand out?

To win any real attention or engagement, your content has to stand out on its merits. That can only be achieved with well-planned, well-executed content that meets users’ specific needs, answers their questions or offers them something original.

This takes more time and skill, but quality should always take precedence over quantity. After all, it’s people, not search engines, who can really affect your bottom line.

  • Do fewer things, but do them well and make them work harder. Instead of incessantly churning out chunks of copy for every channel, write one quality piece that can be edited and reused as a series of tweets, Facebook updates or blog posts.
  • Always put your reader first. Know who you’re writing for, and how each piece of content helps them. If you’re not sure where to start, try establishing user personas as part of your content marketing planning.
  • Think hard about the content you like – any content – and how you can emulate its qualities in your own work.
  • Don’t publish things that add no value or have no originality. Consider what new angle you can bring to a subject, or how you can position it specifically for your audiences.
  • Don’t create content landfill – think about why you’re publishing every piece of content, from a tweet to a product page. If you can’t answer the question, ‘What do I want the user to think, feel or do after reading this?’ then why are you creating that piece of content?