At this point, there’s no denying that content marketing is being used by most companies. As companies realize it’s a proven way to attract audiences and convert them, its adoption continues to trend up.
I’m still amazed at the companies that still don’t even have a blog, let alone publish on it frequently enough to get the attention of the google bots and search gods we all must honor if we want to show up on for the keywords our customers are searching for.
But is your industry saturated? In this post, we’ll be looking at how to tell if content marketing saturation has hit your industry. And if so, how can you still leverage it for positive results.
- Content marketing is highly prevalent in just about every industry, making it hard to cut through the noise.
- Publishing frequent and helpful content will help you gain (or at least maintain) search visibility, even in a saturated market
- While it may seem like an escalating cold war, investment in content marketing does not have to break the budget
What Is Content Saturation?
To start, let’s define what we’re talking about with the term content saturation. It describes a phenomenon wherein content is abundant on a topic. It occurs when you develop high-quality content, but it seems near impossible to rank high on search engines.
Why Did Content Marketing Saturation Occur?
Content marketing was once a small fraction of a company’s marketing efforts. A decade ago, brands were still in traditional outbound models, using advertising to win over customers. Then inbound marketing exploded, and businesses began to realize the power of content. Now, we’ve hit content marketing saturation.
Let’s look at some stats:
- WordPress, the most popular content management system (CMS), reports that users produce 70 million new posts a month.
- 91 percent of B2B marketers use content marketing.
- Companies still rate content creation as the top investment in marketing for 2021.
- Blog production increased from 2019 to 2020, according to SEMrush.
These statistics prove that content is everywhere, and companies will continue to invest in and leverage it to reach marketing goals.
So, how did we get here?
Businesses Realized the Value and Ramped up Production
The path became crowded because businesses realized that content marketing ROI was greater than the return on investment from ads. They saw results in search traffic and started feeding buyers more content. Also, consumption of content before making a buying decision keeps increasing. Businesses need more content and have become publishing machines as a result.
That doesn’t mean that the content isn’t high-quality and educational, or that it doesn’t illustrate thought leadership. Proliferation, however, leads to saturation.
Brands Want to Win the Ranking Game
The shift to research online by buyers also fueled the boon. Further, even though Google has highly sophisticated algorithms to deliver the best answer to a searcher’s query, low-quality content still ranks well sometimes. Often it’s a replication of another post. Content is now less unique because businesses recognize they can basically “template” content.
Google, of course, states it wants only high-quality content at the top of its results. They look at lots of things to decide to rank. Yet, we can all agree that top-ranking posts for certain keywords are garbage.
Almost every industry is facing content marketing saturation. If you want to know to what extent, you can take steps to figure this out.
Steps to Evaluate Your Industry’s Content Marketing Saturation
There are several steps you can take to discern where your industry is with content marketing. Analyzing these areas can help you reach a determination.
Simply looking up the Domain Authority for you and your competition is overly simplistic! We help lesser DA websites gain on larger DA competitors all the time!
But here are some evaluation techniques we use to determine how hard we’re gonna have to work:
SEO is fundamental to content marketing. You’re writing content to get found on Google (although please write for humans first, search engines second).
With most SEO strategies, you have a list of target keywords related to your industry and audience. Every keyword has a competitive score. The number is somewhere between zero and one. The closer to one, the higher the competition.
If most of your keywords are close to or at one, many companies are writing about that keyword. It’s a clear indication of saturation.
Emerging Keywords Metrics Spike
Another aspect of SEO that’s critical for saturation evaluation is looking at emerging or trending keyword metrics. In many SEO platforms, you can find emerging keywords related to your topics. Google Trends also provides this information.
If you track these emerging keywords and start to see high peaks in volume, that indicates your audience wants to know about the topic.
Now compare that with competition scores. Hopefully, you started creating content at the beginning of the emergence, but as others flood the internet, it will be harder to maintain rankings.
Social Media Shares Are Declining
Social media shares are somewhat of a vanity metric, but they can offer critical insights. The reality is that people share content a lot of the time because it’s relevant or interesting. If your audience keeps seeing the same types of content, they’ll share it less. Track this metric to determine if shares are declining.
Saturation isn’t the only reason for fewer shares. Your content may just not be enticing, but you should still consider it as a potential sign of saturation. And while social media sharing is driving less traffic to websites overall, it is still helpful to compare your social shares with your competition, especially when considering how often you publish.
If you want to understand the depths of content saturation for your industry, look no further than your competition. You can have direct and indirect competition in content marketing. Direct competitors are those businesses that do what you do.
But publications, associations, and organizations that write about your industry are types of indirect competition as well.
Keeping a close eye on the content from all your “content competitors” will immediately tell you the topics’ saturation level. Continually assess what they are writing about and it’s quality. If you want to understand the exact content you’re up against, this is an important activity.
At this point, you’ve likely concluded saturation is a challenge for your industry. The exception would be a very new or niche business. So, what can you do about it? You’re not going to stop creating content! You just have to do it smarter, better, and more strategically.
How to Counter Content Marketing Saturation
If you want to stand out from the crowd, rank well, and provide quality content to your audience, follow these best practices.
Write 10X Content
10X content is content that’s 10 times better than what’s currently ranking well organically. “Better” usually means it needs to be more in-depth, is longer, has high readability scores, and delivers real takeaways. It also must follow all SEO best practices and use a format that makes it easy to read or scan.
Provide a New Angle
There’s always a different angle on a topic if you get creative. While the content on a subject may be prolific, that doesn’t mean it’s a lost cause. You have to present new information, which could include:
- Examples and case study specific to your company that support your angle.
- Original research, which is a great way to lift your brand’s thought leadership, as well. Survey your industry on key areas to develop a unique perspective.
- Taking a controversial point of view (this doesn’t mean being offensive; rather, take a stand that’s revolutionary but true to your brand). To illustrate this, think about the world of cybersecurity and all the content available. However, much of it focuses on technology, tools, and approaches. It rarely ever focuses on the real problem—the people and their shortcomings.
Insider tip: I like to point to other people’s content and include my different points of view. Or embed someone else’s video or research as a service to my readers. Curating other people’s content is still an effective way to add value to your audience. (See my 199 digital marketing stats as an example.)
Within your broad audience, you should have segments. By segmenting your audience, you can offer more personalized content and appeal more to them. This requires having very specific buying personas and a deep understanding of their challenges and motivations.
For example, if your audience is healthcare, that’s very broad. Each role in healthcare has different ways they may use your software. Get specific with those roles. Talk to doctors, administrators, procurement, and any other decision-maker very intimately. A great blog title could be Everything Hospital Administrators Need to Know About Patient Experience Metrics.
Connect with Your Audience
Emotional marketing is critical to content marketing success. Buyers make decisions with their hearts as much as they do with their minds. If your content has no feeling, it’s not going to add to their journey. Producing content like robots will increase the amount but not the effect!
Check out the video below on why we buy on emotions.
You can inject emotion into your content by considering it as a conversation you’re having directly with them. It’s not boring and cold. It taps into those feelings that your buyers have about their challenges, concerns, and fears. You are extending your content as a hand up to them, focusing on what they most need. You really can’t go wrong with striving to connect with your audience. The result is that your content will build trust and credibility with them.
Content Marketing Saturation Is Here to Stay
While the amount of content will likely only increase, you don’t have to despair. By evaluating your industry’s saturation and then countering it with high-quality, emotional, and original content, you can still reap the results of attracting buyers.
Need help fighting through the masses? We can help.
If you are ready to get more traffic to your site with quality content published consistently, check out our Content Builder Service.