We Have Reached Internet Content Saturation
I have been a big fan of Mark Schaefer and his books for quite a while. With popular titles like Marketing Rebellion and The Tao of Twitter, he is a pioneer in the field of marketing and works as a consultant for countless large companies around the world.
I recently dove into one of his newer books called The Content Code and many of the ideas that I discovered in this book helped me to change my content strategies over on my YouTube channel. The book’s ideas are mainly focused on written blog content but its principles can easily be applied to other forms of content as well.
While there were many different concepts in the book, there was one thing in particular that stood out and resonated with me as a full-time content creator: content saturation.
All ideas mentioned here are credit of Mark Schaefer and can be found in The Content Code.
We live in a world where the average consumer spends upwards of 9 hours per day consuming content across the internet. With hundreds of platforms and hundreds of thousands of people making content for them, there is a near-unlimited amount of content available online. Millions of YouTube videos, tweets, Reddit posts, Instagram posts, and other pieces of content are posted every hour and even if you spent your entire life trying to consume all of it, you would only manage to see a fraction of what is available.
As social media continues to evolve, content consumption is set to increase drastically, eventually peaking to the point at which every waking hour of the day is fueled by content.
As a full-time content creator on YouTube, these statistics absolutely blew my mind. I knew that people spent a lot of time on the internet, but I had no idea how much of it was focused on watching and reading other people’s ideas. I knew how competitive the industry was, but its scope did not fully resonate with me.
Even with the increase in consumption, there is an even greater increase in the amount of content being created. Between all of the popular platforms, there are an estimated fifty-million creators pumping out videos, posts, and pictures on a consistent basis. No matter how many hours in the day a consumer has, they will never be able to keep up and see all of the content being shoved in their face.
FINDING A NICHE
After hearing these statistics you may be asking: “How do I get ahead as a content creator if consumers have so many options and alternatives?”
Most people assume that you merely have to grind and make as much content as possible, but this just isn’t the case anymore. No matter how many videos or blog posts that you make, you will primarily be contributing to the content saturation that is already making it harder for you to get ahead. It’s a paradox.
The solution is to start by finding a niche. With so many pieces of content being published for large topics and ideas, you need to specify to find the things that other people are looking for. Mark provides some guidelines in the book for anyone trying to determine how saturated a specific topic is. Start by searching for your desired niche in Google and look at the search results to determine its saturation levels.
- > 10,000 pages of results = GO FOR IT! Easy, minimal strategy.
- 10,000–100,000 pages of results = Try, but it may take some work. Follow some principles of the content code.
- 100,000–1,000,000 pages of results = Significant resistance. You are going to need exceptional content and full use of the content code and some investment.
- 1,000,000+ pages of results — Will require significant investment. Oversaturated market.
HOW TO BREAK THROUGH
Sometimes, finding a niche isn’t going to work. You may not have any knowledge about niche topics or you may merely want to make content on more of a broad topic. Regardless, there is always a way. It will most definitely take more work but it is possible.
The first thing that you need to do to break through a saturated topic is to focus on a sub-topic.
For example, if you want to ultimately blog about video games, start with niche genres like survival games, indie games, or racing games. Find a niche that is less occupied than others and become the sole provider of valuable content for that niche. Once you begin to see some growth, expand into other topics.
However, there needs to be more strategy than just “being on the grind”. Too many people think that if they push out 45 articles a day they will automatically begin to grow. However, due to the large amount of content that is already being published across the internet, this is not the case anymore. Focus on making quality content that delivers with an interesting or unique style. Show what makes you different.
The biggest and most important part of Mark’s book has to do with social ignition. If you enter the realm of content creation with the “quantity over quality” approach, you will get nowhere. Instead, you need to make each piece of content to the best of your ability and promote it to achieve ignition. There is no point in creating things and putting them on the internet expecting growth if nobody wants to see them.
In order to embed social ignition into your content, you want to make sure that you make something that is sharable. People love showing new videos and articles to their friends and if you make something that provides value and entertainment, there is already a much greater chance that they will show your stuff off. There are five reasons why people would want to share your content:
- To be useful
- To define ourselves to others
- To grow and nourish relationships
- To get the word out about causes and brands
If you are making tutorials, be short-and-to-the-point and quickly deliver what you promised where people can easily show their friends. If you are trying to appeal to a specific crowd (gamers, hipsters, accountants, etc.), embrace their culture and make them feel like you fit right into their groups. Don’t dip your hand into different social groups with your content and try to appeal to all of them, find a crowd, and stick with it. If you do this, they will begin to share your work.
Furthermore, if you are focusing on making content about a social cause, make sure you know what you are talking about. Make a call to action to make people feel like they need to share your content in order to help the cause. Keep an eye on what you are trying to accomplish and make sure you fully embrace your mission in all instances.
Most content that is shared stems from an emotional connection or idea. Social currency is very valuable and if you create something that people will want to show their friends, you will be ten steps ahead of the competitors.
As I mentioned before, these ideas stem directly from The Content Code. I am not going to go into detail about how to beat content saturation or embed sharability into your content, because the book would be much more proficient in doing that than I would. If any of these ideas resonated with you, I would encourage you to check it out.