Umpteen Signs You're a Marketer Suffering from Content Fatigue

“Content is king” has gone from being a cliché of SEO to the status quo of the web. And if you’re curious as to when this development became official, check out the recently redesigned website for the Coca-Cola Company. Company websites are operating less like, well, company websites, and more like publishers. In turn, marketing teams are expected to act more like editorial bullpens. Unfortunately, modifying a skillset takes more than adding another line to your resume.

While Coke hired their own team of journalists, editors and content marketers to make their lofty ambitions come true, not every organization has the resources or desire for such a big investment. This leaves stalwart marketers to enter into the fray of blogging, video production, meme generating and tweeting, to figure things out as they go. An unfortunate side effect of this action is that the team begins to suffer from content fatigue.

When you first started your venture into content marketing, you had a plethora of ideas and the support of a vast network of team members. Now things have become touch and go. If you or any of your fellow content marketers have experienced one or more of the following symptoms, you may have content fatigue. Luckily, we have some suggested remedies.

You’ve finally caught on to the whole listicle thing.

Everyday it seems like there’s a new trend in social media or a new format to follow. Keep one eye on trends, with another firmly on what will work for your industry.

Your editorial process has more layers than a Vidalia Onion.

It has been said the Devil is in the details and nowhere is this more apparent than within the walls of a corporation, trying to get the go ahead from fifty-eleven people to produce a single piece of content. It has to go from creative to editorial to accounting to legal to that one guy who doesn’t work in your department, but has a knack for these types of things. There really is no cure for bureaucracy except proper planning or streamlining the process. There’s also the chance you can get a major stakeholder on board with something really impactful pretty early to make the process easier.

The only voices on your blog are the ones in your head.

Your blog represents your whole company, but only features one or two dependable contributors. Your blog will be exponentially better by including the voices of various people within and throughout your organization, from senior management to the intern. Engaging content can come from anywhere. You just have to cultivate it.

You’re trying to think of a roundabout way to ask the Senior VP about that blog post he promised you three months ago.

Okay, so getting multiple voices on your blog is easier said than done. It’s unfortunate that the people with the most powerful voices are generally the ones with the least time to actually use them. One thing you can do is to ask them for ideas or topics of interest that they would like exploring, then have someone else expound on them. Further, try something different, such as an interview, to get them to share their knowledge without impacting their time.

You’ve used all of the cat pictures on Getty Images.

FYI, sloths are the next big thing.

You’re wondering how you can apply industry best practices to National Accordion Awareness Day or the Bridges of Madison County.

There’s a lot of low hanging fruit out there. Holidays and current events are great because people are more receptive to content based around what's on top of mind. However, you can't let it become the crutch of your content. Content should say something new, put a twist on expectations, challenging conventions or be entertaining.

The only person liking, commenting on, retweeting or sharing your content is your mom.

Content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes time to build a library of content that will engage your readers, and to develop the right strategy to reach them. It’s an iterative process that you will always, always, always be tweaking and perfecting. Thankfully, your mom is there for support.

Internal deadlines are a reminder that, “Oh! Snap! I need to write that blog.”

It’s okay. It happens. Just don’t make it a habit. Or let it stay a habit.

Your content strategy is, “If I build it, they will come. I hope.”

Producing content for even the narrowest industry requires a strategy. That means, in addition to creating content, you will need to figure out a way to share the content, ensuring the right story gets in front of the right audience at the right time.

Every original idea you have, someone has already done it.

While we don’t advocate being a copycat, we do recommend that you take a second look at your content and think about a few things. Will this say anything new to a different audience? Can I put a unique spin on it? How can I make it more fun? How can I turn this concept on its head or look at it from the view point of Devil’s Advocate.

Nobody brainstorms until they’re in the brainstorm.

Brainstorms often don’t live up to their potential. Instead of a lively discussion of ideas, you get awkward silence. Brainstorming has to become an ongoing independent process. Seed your team with high-level ideas, ask them to think about things that can be disrupted, things that don’t make sense or things they love that might relate to your industry so that they are always brainstorming.

You haven’t read enough third world transit accident stories.

A former creative director of mine told me that when he worked as a reporter, they would use transit accident stories from third world countries to fill in gaps in the publishing schedule. There was always some major accident happening on the transit system and it was usually interesting enough to keep their readers’ interest. There is always going to be a gap in the content schedule, a late blog post, production problems, etc. You need to uncover your sources for quick hit information that can get you through in a pinch, or establish a reservoir of easy to produce content ideas.

You can’t report on current events until its yesterday’s news.

You have to decide if you have the capacity to take advantage of current events as they happen, or if you can prepare for them ahead of time. Kind of like how they print t-shirts for both teams at the Super Bowl.

You’re making up stories where there isn’t one.

Don’t. Seriously, just don’t. These things never end well.

You’re writing a blog about content fatigue.

We’ve all been there. It happens to everyone. It is an ongoing affliction that affects everyone, from the lowliest start-up to the most respected news source. While there is no surefire cure for content fatigue, with proper planning, organization, time and patience, it can become manageable.


Written by Ken Hammond on February 25, 2014


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Ken Hammond