We’ve Reached Peak Content – So What’s Next?

Photographed by Dominic Loneragan. Please Credit Dominic Loneragan.
SHARE
THIS



There are not enough human attention minutes to warrant all the content produced. But what are marketers to do about it, asks Storyation’s Head of Content Lauren Quaintance?

Before there was content there was journalism. For much of the two decades that I worked for media companies we had the luxury of a captive audience who had very little choice about how – and where – they got their information.

One of my old bosses at Fairfax Media, the incomparable Jack Matthews, used to talk about this pre-digital period as an age of scarcity. A few large publishers owned the multi-million dollar printing presses which gave them a monopoly on distribution.

The amount of content and the advertising inventory was finite and that (helpfully) kept prices high. And then technology changed everything.

If the analog age was one of scarcity then the digital age is one of abundance. The barrier to entry is so low that literally anyone with a computer can be a publisher. Media companies are trapped in a frantic race for attention churning out hundreds of pieces of content a day with fewer and fewer staff.

BuzzFeed produces more than 200 stories per day and rising while the Huffington Post floods the internet with 1200 pieces of content every day.

If publishers are trapped in a volume game, then it seems like brands have blindly followed suit. Recent TrackMaven analysis of 50 million pieces of marketing content from 22,567 brands found that in 2015 content output per brand increased 35 per cent. Crucially, though, over the same period engagement dropped by 17 per cent. An earlier study from BuzzSumo showed that 50 per cent of content gets 8 shares or less and 75 per cent gets zero links.

All of which supports the idea that we have reached “peak content” – the point at which the volume of content outstrips consumer demand. There are literally not enough human attention minutes to warrant the billions of pieces of content produced every day.

Peak content isn’t a new idea, but fewer people are talking about what marketers can do to address it. It’s obvious enough that the focus needs to shift from quantity to quality but what exactly does that mean?

At its heart content marketing is a value exchange. How do marketers produce content that is so good, so original and so useful that the audience will spend time with it instead of taking a bath or going for a run (or any of the other things human beings like to do?)

Carve out an ownable position

Too few brands spend enough time defining what subjects they can own. Just because you sell travel insurance doesn’t mean that you should start dishing out advice on where to go on holiday. You may not be a credible source and you’ll face stiff competition from other publishers across the web.

Figure out what it is that you can legitimately talk about that lines up with your brand purpose and make sure it’s a position you can own.

Find a unique angle on an old topic

There are no new topics in the world, just new angles. Sadly, sometimes content marketers don’t know the difference which means their content can be generic. Without an angle you won’t have title that will inspire anyone to spend those limited attention minutes.

Topic: A guide to getting a mortgage. (“I think I’ll take a bath instead of reading this.”) Angle: Six Mistakes Home Buyers Make Again and Again. (“I might just have a quick look at this.”)

Don’t interview your typewriter

The kind of content that will quickly sink is the kind that is thinly researched. Use journalists, not copywriters, and make sure that your articles reference sources and studies and include interviews and case studies.

Too often brands are, to use an old journalism expression, “interviewing their typewriter” and writing posts that are little more than common sense.

Consider going long and wide and deep

Long form content won’t be right for every kind of piece but it’s a great way to create something with real utility around a complex topic. This might be an eBook around a B2B topic such as Social Selling for Small Business or it could be the Ultimate Guide to Home Renovation for consumers.

And longer content gets better search results with stories over 2,000 words featuring more often in the top 10 results of search queries.

Finally, it goes without saying that you need to invest in an amplification strategy. In the age of abundance there is no room for hoping your content will be found. Even the best performing content has often had a kick start with a highly targeted paid campaign.

So while “peak content” might sound cataclysmic for content marketers it’s really just a timely reminder to focus on the value exchange between you and your audience. If the audience is sacrificing their precious attention time – what are you offering in return?

Lauren Quaintance is co-founder and head of content for Storyation

 

Latest News

Diesel Unveils Latest Oddball “Capsule” Campaign That Puts An End to Boring Meetings
  • Campaigns

Diesel Unveils Latest Oddball “Capsule” Campaign That Puts An End to Boring Meetings

Italian fashion brand Diesel has unveiled its latest campaign and it’s possibly one of the nuttiest yet. The work of Publicis Italy, the campaign is titled “The Capsule” and is a playful dig at tedious work meetings. “The Capsule” is a prototypical new (and purposefully uncomfortable) meeting room designed to keep conference and gathering times […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Publicis Launches Its Second 2018 Internship Program
  • Media

Publicis Launches Its Second 2018 Internship Program

Publicis Media has announced its second 2018 winter Internship Program to seek out exceptional talent from a range of universities and faculties in Sydney and Melbourne, following the success of its inaugural program earlier this year. Intern candidates will again be selected based on a diverse skill set including science, technology, business, psychology and mathematical […]

Starcom Ramps Up Customer Experience Offering With Three Senior Appointments
  • Media

Starcom Ramps Up Customer Experience Offering With Three Senior Appointments

Starcom Australia has announced three new national leadership team roles to deliver on positive customer experiences and ‘Return on Experience’ for clients. ‘Return on Experience’ (ROE) is an additional measure that works in tandem with Return On Investment (ROI). The Media Futures report found that ROE, which combines business and human outcomes, is the most valuable measurement for […]

Marc Edward Agency Snares PR Account For Cruiseco Australia
  • Marketing

Marc Edward Agency Snares PR Account For Cruiseco Australia

Experiential marketing firm Marc Edward Agency (MEA) announced the addition of Cruiseco Australia as client for its communications division. Following on from its execution of the Cruiseco 17th Annual Conference in Brisbane earlier this year, MEA has been appointed as the cruise specialist’s PR agency of record. Cruiseco CEO Amanda McClelland said: “Having demonstrated their […]

Why All Email Should Be Mobile First
  • Opinion

Why All Email Should Be Mobile First

In this guest post, Engaging.io’s Matias Bezzo (pictured below) says with the rise of the smartphone and the inundation of emails, the two should NOT be mutually exclusive… About eight years ago I went to an Adobe Creative Cloud summit, this was when Adobe had just moved to a cloud-based application and revamped all their products. The […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Ten’s Damien Fleming Follows Ricky Ponting To Seven’s Cricket Commentary Box
  • Media

Ten’s Damien Fleming Follows Ricky Ponting To Seven’s Cricket Commentary Box

Seven has pinched another of Ten’s cricket commentators, announcing former Australian fast bowler Damien Fleming will join the team when the broadcaster starts airing games in December. Fleming was commentating on Ten’s Big Bash League (BBL), however, the network was left without any cricket rights when Seven (in a JV with Foxtel) secured all the […]

39th AWARD Awards Winners Announced
  • Media

39th AWARD Awards Winners Announced

The winners of the 39th annual AWARD Awards were announced tonight in a celebration of the most outstanding creative communications work in the Asia Pacific region. The theme for the night was “Count Yourself Lucky” and didn’t disappoint with a record number of golds being presented. Held at Carriageworks as part of the Semi Permanent […]

Women In Media Profile: Zeina Khodr
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Zeina Khodr

When B&T was offered to interview a lady named “Zeina”, we initially thought it was the warrior princess herself.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Q&A With Cannes Chairman Terry Savage
  • Advertising
  • Media

Q&A With Cannes Chairman Terry Savage

If you mistakenly thought this was an interview with Kojak's Telly Savalas, as it turns out, it's even better than that.

Optus To Phase Out Virgin Mobile Brand
  • Marketing

Optus To Phase Out Virgin Mobile Brand

Didn't much fancy that Telstra story above? Well, perhaps B&T could tempt you with this tasty Optus tickler instead.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
AKQA R&D Teams Up With Google For Semi Permanent 2018
  • Media

AKQA R&D Teams Up With Google For Semi Permanent 2018

AKQA R&D in collaboration with Google has developed a process called Somesthetic Transfer. It uses machine learning to take both the style and texture of an artwork and apply it to another image to be 3D printed with a UV printer. The works will be displayed at Semi Permanent 2018 in Sydney from Thursday 24 […]

WPP’s Health & Wellness To Unveil ‘How Design Can Save A Life” For Vivid
  • Marketing
  • Media

WPP’s Health & Wellness To Unveil ‘How Design Can Save A Life” For Vivid

Design students from Torrens University’s Billy Blue College of Design have partnered with WPP AUNZ’s Health & Wellness division to decode clinical data on ‘Medicinal Marijuana in the Treatment of Epilepsy’. Their creative solutions will be presented at a Vivid Ideas Exchange titled ‘Design can save your life: how can creativity improve comprehension of health data?’ […]

Diversity Case Study Series: The Royals
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media

Diversity Case Study Series: The Royals

If you read one diversity case study on B&T today, make it this one. Not that there's any others to choose from, really.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Cricket Australia Finds New Major Sponsor
  • Marketing

Cricket Australia Finds New Major Sponsor

B&T was going to insert a homage to Sherbert's classic "Howzat" here before realising it was naff and showed our age.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
PHD Wins HSBC Global Media Account
  • Media

PHD Wins HSBC Global Media Account

ICYMI, PHD has FTW the HSBC business IRL. It's not so much a LOL or NSFW, but a TL;DR. Ahh, forget the whole thing.

InMoment Accelerates APAC Expansion With Key Acquisition
  • Media

InMoment Accelerates APAC Expansion With Key Acquisition

Customer experience (CX) intelligence platform, InMoment, has expanded into Australia and New Zealand with the acquisition of customer experience agency, brandXP and appointment of Claire Fastier as its APAC business head.

Marketers Need To Focus On Voice Search Right Now
  • Opinion

Marketers Need To Focus On Voice Search Right Now

In this opinion piece, Performics Australia performance content account director Steve Robinson (pictured below) dives into the hazy relationship between marketers and voice-activated technology. From settling family disputes, (“Hey Google, are fossil fuels really made from dinosaur bones?”) to running a household, (“OK Google, add toothpaste to my shopping list”), voice-activated systems are becoming more […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
SpotX Launches Online Resource Library For Publishers Seeking GDPR Guidance
  • Advertising
  • Media

SpotX Launches Online Resource Library For Publishers Seeking GDPR Guidance

Video advertising and monetisation platform SpotX has announced the launch of an online resource library for the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The library can be found on the company’s website and is part of a wider educational initiative by SpotX – which is headquartered in the US and has an office in […]

Daylight Agency Opens Government Division, Hires Legal & Political Expert
  • Marketing

Daylight Agency Opens Government Division, Hires Legal & Political Expert

Integrated communications firm Daylight Agency has cemented its presence in the government and political arena with the appointment of industry veteran David Begg. A practising solicitor for over 28 years, Begg (pictured above) will head up the agency’s new government division. He has extensive experience working with large commercial clients on high-profile regulatory and legal […]

Frost Design Unveils New Look For John Holland
  • Marketing

Frost Design Unveils New Look For John Holland

Frost Design has shown off its comprehensive rebrand of iconic Australian infrastructure and property business John Holland, based around the brand idea of ‘Transforming Lives’. John Holland CEO Joe Barr said Frost was the only branding business who understood that the impact of the rebrand was just as important internally as it would be externally, […]

Women In Media Profile: Jill Johnston
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Jill Johnston

We've got an absolute cracking Women in Media profile today. Not to say it's approved by the Chiropractors' Association.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
First Lady Michelle Obama and President Barack Obama Dance Together at the Presidents Ball
  • Media

Netflix Secures Producer Deal With The Obamas

It seems former US president Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama aren’t quite done with the international spotlight just yet. The Obamas have officially signed a multiyear deal with Netflix, which will see the power couple producing films and series with the streaming giant. According to Netflix, “The Obamas will produce a diverse […]

How To Spot A Trend Versus A Fad
  • Opinion

How To Spot A Trend Versus A Fad

One need only view our editor's hot pink leg warmers today to realise he's neither fad nor trend.

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Why Engagement Is The New Rule Of Content
  • Opinion

Why Engagement Is The New Rule Of Content

And why is B&T running a photo of an engaged couple for this content engagement article? It was either that or a carrot.

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Fairfax Media Recruits 20 Trainee Journalists Across All Its Titles
  • Media

Fairfax Media Recruits 20 Trainee Journalists Across All Its Titles

Fairfax Media has today announced the recruitment of 20 trainee journalists to join the newsrooms of The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Canberra Times, The Australian Financial Review, Brisbane Times and WAtoday. This represents one of Metro’s largest trainee intakes in years and underlines the commitment of the mastheads to fostering a new generation […]

Sydney Australia - November 7, 2011. An extreme close up of an American express card issued by the Australian bank Westpac.
  • Media

AMEX Launches Global Media Review

Are there not enough hours in the day? Are you cheek-by-jowl with your co-workers? Well, hopefully you won't win this.

Sydney Water & Republic of Everyone Create Vinyl Records Made Of Recycled Marine Plastic
  • Campaigns
  • Marketing

Sydney Water & Republic of Everyone Create Vinyl Records Made Of Recycled Marine Plastic

Sydney Water has pioneered a way to create records from marine plastics and, in doing so, encourage more people to join the movement of local clean-up groups rolling up their sleeves every weekend to clean plastics, litter and other pollutants from the city’s beaches and waterways. Plastics are collected by volunteers, then cut in pieces […]

Credit Card Compare Names Its First Head Of Marketing
  • Marketing

Credit Card Compare Names Its First Head Of Marketing

Aussie credit card comparison site Credit Card Compare has announced the appointment of Caroline Raffan as its inaugural head of marketing. Raffan (pictured above) has over 10 years’ experience in brand strategy, campaign development, digital marketing, events, public relations, content creation, market research, advertising, stakeholder management, social media marketing, and project management. She joins Credit […]

Why Programmatic Needs To Become A Branding Machine
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Opinion
  • Technology

Why Programmatic Needs To Become A Branding Machine

In this opinion piece, Phil Murrell (pictured below), country manager for Australia and New Zealand at Sizmek, argues that programmatic ad spend needs to move up the branding funnel. When I started in digital advertising way back in 2004, we got our media insertion orders via the fax machine. We relied on that machine to […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine