Kidding Yourself With Content

When I was a kid we watched 7 channels of TV. There were 3 networks (no Fox yet), 3 independent stations (more than in most markets), and PBS. By the time I had my kids we had many more channels available – Nielsen would tell you that by 1995 the average home had 45. Today the number is closer to 189 in the typical home and with all the movie and sports channels the number in my house is well over 300. That’s a lot of content and I consume only a fraction of what is available.

I bring this up today because I read an excellent study called The Content Marketing Paradox. You can read through the deck here. It was written by the folks at Track Maven and it was eye-opening. As the Research Brief folks summarized it:

The study found the output of content per brand increased 78% from the start of 2013 to the end of 2014, but content engagement decreased 60%. Brands are generating a higher volume of content per channel, but individual pieces of content are receiving fewer interactions

On social networks, brand-generated content is seeing the lowest engagement rates now than anytime in 2013 and 2014, and 43% of professionally marketed blog posts receive fewer than 10 interactions. Marketers are distributing more content on more channels, while simultaneously complaining about how hard it is to cut through the noise.

This was the most meaningful statement in the piece for me:

As channels have proliferated, technologies have emerged to help marketers more efficiently produce and broadcast content, which has in turn increased the total volume being generated. But as the data above show, marketers’ “more is better” approach is not an effective response to channel explosion. Stated differently, marketers are getting better at distributing content, but are not getting better at creating content worth distributing.

So ask yourself this:  why are producing the content we are?  Who is reading and interacting?  What results have we measured?  Most importantly, how is our relationship with our customers and with consumers as a whole being enhanced by our efforts?  The silence may be deafening if the above data are to be believed.  Maybe we’re just kidding ourselves?

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