content marketingContent is king. Bill Gates’ famous prediction is more than 15 years old but it has never been more relevant for marketers. No matter what industry you’re in, no matter what kind of product you produce, the only way to grow your business online is through content. We’ve developed a lot of genres and a lot of names for online marketing; social media, mobile, blog, email. They all come down to content; they are all content marketing.

More and more brands are adopting a content-based strategy, which creates a problem. We may be heading towards a watershed moment; we may have created a world filled with too many content marketers.

The Content Marketing Overload

Think about the blogs, social posts or emails you’ve read recently. Do they have a common theme? Were the majority Christmas related? What about November, was every post centered on the election? Or Felix Baumgartner in October? The Olympics in July? I’m not talking about news content here, I’m talking about marketing content.

Brands, bloggers and marketers build content marketing strategies around current events. We all do it. We know that everyone else is going to do it too, but we post them anyway. There aren’t any marketers out there who think they’re original when they list five things insurance agents can learn from Santa. If there are, they’re deluded.

It is, technically, a good idea. We write about the things that customers are talking about and searching for online. Festive posts even give us the chance to have a bit of fun. But if we are all using the same tricks and creating the same types of posts, who suffers? Our readers, fans, followers and prospects do. They are subjected to the same tired old ideas over and over again.

What happens next year, or the year after? Will the 12 days of IT support still feel like a relevant post to a market that read last year’s post, 12 days of Email Archiving? Or a rival brand’s post that makes similar points under the title Is Your IT Support Naughty or Nice? As more brands adopt content marketing strategies, the market just gets more saturated. And everybody starts to die slowly of boredom.

What’s Wrong With Your Content Strategy?

The arguments for these kinds of posts make sense. Content marketing works by creating content that gets found, read and shared online. Creating content around topical ideas is logical. But if your content gets found because of the festive spin, rather than the practical marketing element, what kind of traffic will it get?

If you write a blog about auto insurance, using the Grinch who stole Christmas for a holiday touch, you want the auto insurance content to shine through. You don’t want it to be found by Dr. Seuss fans who are too young to own cars. So your SEO work and sharing strategy will all be aimed at adult auto insurance buyers. If that’s the case, why bother talking about the Grinch? 

There may have been a time, now may still be that time, when that extra festive spin would make the post stand out. But that time will pass. People will suffer from topical spin fatigue. Sooner or later, readers will be relieved to read posts that don’t use bad puns and forced logic to squeeze topical stories into posts about industrial irrigation. As marketers, how do we prepare for that fatigue? How can we fix our content marketing strategies?

It’s simple, just be original. Originality is what every writer strives for, there’s no reason content marketers should be any different. We should create new ideas and find genuine and interesting twists to put on our content. We should find our own ways to be exciting, interesting or funny, rather than jumping on a bandwagon. 

I am not suggesting that we never post topical content again. That would be insane. But we should strive for something more. We should aim to create original content that stands out on its own, without using a topical story as a crutch. Either that or we come up with some kind of rota system. I’ll put myself down for all Rudolf related posts next December.

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