Content Marketing

I’ve Hit Peak Content – Can Content Marketing Save Itself?

By November 19, 2013March 6th, 2020No Comments

I’ve hit peak content. Is there some kind of group you can join? I think I need help.

On holiday when you’re meant to be relaxing, I’m one of those sad people who is trying to rewire their brain by reading marketing and business-self-improvement  books. 

However, having reached Tipping Point (Gladwell reference intended) – I’m really not sure if the marketing books and blogs are making anyone a better marketer.

What is Peak Content?

Peak content (adapted from the theory of peak oil) is diagnosed when the maximum rate of content ingestion is reached, after which the rate of inspiration is expected to enter terminal decline.

Can content marketers not inspire on their own subject matter?

Nassim Nicholas Taleb explains this much better than I can: “The high-frequency sterile information (in the media) is leading to a disruption in the noise/signal filtering mechanism.”
An entire industry has popped up around content marketing but most of it misses the point. It’s mostly communications tactics.

Wikipedia helps make my point on what marketing actually is: “Marketing is a set of processes for creating, delivering and communicating value to customers, and managing customer relationships in ways that also benefit the organization and its shareholders.”

The bit the content-focused people miss is that there has to be a great, well-priced, solid product or service behind your likeable and enchanting content or you’re just mindless turd-polishing.


Content marketing is quickly becoming a confidence game. A confidence game is where a con man gives the mark his own confidence, encouraging the mark to in turn trust him. The con artist poses as a trustworthy person seeking another trustworthy person. Replace “con artist” with “content marketer” and “mark” with “marketer” and you’ll see what I mean.

IBM state the amount of “data volume, velocity, and variety is growing at an astounding rate with a full 90% of the world’s data less than two years old.”

To me it feels like most of this data is the blogs of content marketers selling the concept of content marketing to other marketers wanting to be content marketers.

If the customer buying cycle is long and considered, like my content consumption programme, then they are having trouble seeing the wood for the trees.
Firstly there’s too many trees and second, there’s too many chainsaw wielding madmen professing to be lumberjacks.

What is content rehab and how does it help?

Read more broadly.

Don’t be domain dependent (thanks again Mr. Taleb!) Learn from psychology, philosophy, engineering and design. Appreciate each discipline and apply to your own.

Don’t just regurgitate, innovate.

How many social media managers understand the core of sociology or social philosophy? How many have explored the basics of consumer psychology?

Not many. But there’s plenty that can tell you that “people retweet images more – so you know – we need more visual content.” Or “We need to ask questions – because questions are engaging, right?”

Call out the people stating the f**king obvious.

There are plenty of snake-oil peddlers talking about “Likeable” business (you know who you are.)

There’s also a plethora of pedestrian case studies professing to be insight. A lovely example from the Hubspot Blog: “Changing our CTA from to “Share with a friend to see it” to “See Demo” increased conversion by 211%.”

No s**t.

You were asking for your customers to socially share a link or to start a 30 day trial before they can even see a demo of a widget?  Of course it increased. Why the hell was it signed off in the first place?

Look for real marketers to trust

Trust the content from people who’ve been in your shoes and deeply understand and challenge product, pricing, segmentation and overall business strategy.

Don’t be swayed by those whose title contains “content” or a media type (digital/social) or the charlatans who peddle pseudoscience.

If you’re looking for agency help – only people who have the passion for the technical detail and a true understanding of your product, service and market can make compelling content. You’re looking for architects, not builders. Labs not factories.

Get really savvy on data – fast

Leave the generic marketing blogs behind and start your journey into data science to expose statistical biases, vague pseudoscience and the narrative fallacy (where people confirm their belief in facts by weaving their own explanation)

I once heard reported by a “social specialist” that bounce rate from a social source has reduced by 3% at which point most people in the room almost broke into a round of applause.
I sighed, wept and quietly asked: Great! How many actual people did this actually equate to? What was the difference in total traffic via social source? How did this happen? Did we change anything to facilitate depth of engagement? What can we learn?

Are you hitting peak content?

I’d love to hear how you’re entering content marketing rehab – feel free to leave a comment below.

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