Content Marketing and the Tsunami of Spam

BIA Kelsey Conference Content Marketing Panel John DennyI was honored to be invited last week to speak on content marketing at the BIA/Kelsey Leading in Local conference in Austin, on a panel moderated by the Senior Analyst Jed Williams. During the panel I talked about several foundational themes related to content marketing that seemed to generate some conversation (you can read a full recap of the panel here on the Kelsey Blog), so  I’ve expanded my panel comments for all those who might be interested in what we talked about.

Over several days of the conference, several speakers talked about the importance of “cranking it up” when it comes to content marketing.  If you are writing one blog post a week, increasing that to two, five or even seven a week will give you exponentially bigger results.  If you post content on social channels once a day- crank that puppy up to three, five or ten a day, and watch your numbers soar.  More is Better!

It all sounds great, and many in the crowd seemed psyched up to go home and rev up that content machine. Yet, there is only one challenge with this line of thought—one amply illustrated by a few recent stats:

As IBM has reported- over 90% of the world’s data and information has been created in the last two years alone.

Once you’ve pondered that fact, then take a look at one of the most popular social channels for content marketers today—Facebook. There are over 138 million daily users of Facebook right now, many of whom are sharing copious amounts of factoids and photos from their lives which are flooding into the newsfeeds of their friends.  Add to that the 18 million pages operated by businesses and other entities eagerly competing to pump content into your newsfeed.  It’s come to a point this year—as Facebook just reported—that when the typical user logs onto the social network there is an average of 1500 pieces of content that could potentially show up in their newsfeed, and that must be sorted out via a complex algorithm in order to get down to the prioritized  few you will ever actually see.

What that stat illustrates is the fundamental reality that the world is not facing a content drought. In fact, over the last few years we’re seeing an exponentially accelerating information and content explosion. One— as I pointed out at the conference— that is fueled by a large quantity of super useful and vital cat videos and Viagra info-papers. Yes- a whole lot of what is being cranked out there today is of such bottom of the barrel low quality, that one of Google’s publically avowed missions over the last few years has been to figure out new ways—like AuthorRank– to sort out the tiny percentage of truly useful and relevant content from the sky-rocketing tsunami of spam that is over-whelming the world.

So if you’re a marketer, and you believe in content marketing (the whole approach of inbound vs interruptive advertising)—what exactly do you do about this?

The first step is to not mindlessly crank out more stuff, but start with a unique and differentiating approach that is built on a solid foundation of search optimization. Being found by customers who are searching for information on what you are selling, is the end goal. That means you need to think in terms of unique slices of your market that you can realistically compete for, then translate those slices—via rigorous keyword research—to a target group of keyword phrases.  After that you build your content around those keyword phrases, and promote via your social media outposts, like Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

You also need to make sure the home base you are building it on—your site—is actually readable by the search engines.  Too many businesses end up with sites built in flash or wacky content management systems that the engines can never read—relegating much of their hard work on content to oblivion, since no one will ever find it.

So those are just a few ideas for you to think about as you approach content marketing for your business.  And hopefully the next time someone tells you to crank up your cat video machine to dominate your market,  you’ll know what to tell them.


John’s digital experience dates back over two decades, to before the web was born. He is currently VP Marketing for Advance Digital, and is a regular writer and speaker on topics including Search, Social Media, Content Marketing, Local Media and the Digital Marketing Revolution.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *