There is, as the saying goes, “nothing new under the sun”, however, every day we get bombarded with new content. New ways of doing things are always vying for prominence in my inbox and new websites are springing up to compete for my attention.

It’s all new, new, new.

Except it isn’t.

I get emails from a couple of blogging websites dealing pretty much exclusively with SEO and content marketing. It’s my job to know what’s happening and pass this on, in turn, to my customers, or hopefully, potential customers.

In my role as a content marketing type, is to create content that people will find useful, engaging and maybe entertaining. I base a lot of that content on these other blogs. I don’t copy, I re-purpose.

For example, I might see something that’s fascinating but is very technical and obviously targeted towards us SEO geeks. I know that a lot of my customers won’t have a clue what a lot of the words in it mean. Not in a patronising way, it’s just that in the marketing world we tend to make words up. It’s as if the English language isn’t “rich” enough.

So I’ll take the general premise of the article and re-write it so that it suits accountants or manufacturing companies or maybe even plumbers.

I then publish it and send it out to my email list or post it on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn in the hope that people might read it, digest it and perhaps action it.

And then I realised that I’m just adding to the problem. Is any of what I say new?

Realising It’s Not New

One of the bloggers I follow is Neil Patel. He’s brilliant. His blog posts are long, in-depth, involved and always entertaining.

I cranked up Inbox and searched for “Tools”.

I scrolled down to that past year and found about 20 posts that provided some kind of advice about what tools to use in content marketing.

Such titles as:

  • 75 Content Marketing Tools You Can’t Live Without
  • Want More Effective Content Promotion? Choose From These 15 Tools
  • 26 Tools to Help You Increase Your Blog’s Performance
  • 17 Tools That’ll Take Your Social Media Marketing Results to The Next Level
  • Don’t Blog Unless You Use These 11 Tools

As you can see, they all say pretty much the same thing. Basically, “here are some tools that will help your marketing” and either one of them will do the job in showing me how to be a better marketer.

Granted, the headlines are clickable, Neil’s good at that, but they all answer the same question – “How do I market my content?”

Also, not surprisingly, they often contain the same tools. For example, Buffer and Buzzsumo are very popular tools in the content marketing landscape, so they get mentioned multiple times.

This is the same from many of the SEO advice type websites. They’re all telling me the same thing.

Use this bunch of tools, do this with your content, and then promote it in this way. It’s all the same, but different.

Recycling

I’ve noticed many bloggers and websites do this. They recycle the same old content time and time again, simply updating it slightly (because apps change regularly) and promoting it in a new way that adds a different slant on the argument.

Some others go even further. My Facebook feed has numerous examples of articles being re-posted that are exactly the same as one posted a few months ago. It sometimes gets more views, likes and shares, too. But it’s the same stuff.

Are we really that shallow that we accept all this?

Of course we are, we’ve been accepting it for years in the form of TV shows, news items, and magazine columns.

A magazine I have just cancelled aimed to tell me recently “Everything I needed to know about f-stop”. I looked back at my old copies, and what do you know? They’ve already covered it, twice in twelve months.

And as the sun begins to shine, we’ll no doubt get many TV programs regurgitating the same “here’s how to spring clean your house using nothing but a J-cloth and some white vinegar” articles that they’ve been doing for years.

Why this isn’t a bad thing

Of course, you may be thinking that the above few sentences are the work of an angry marketer, looking to vent his spleen about the poor state of content today, but I’m going to do a quick bait and switch here because, in my heart of hearts, I know that all of this is good.

You see, there are nearly 800,000 people born in the UK every year, that means that, accounting for youth mortality (sorry to go dark for a second), people leaving the country and other reasons, there must be about 500,000 people turning 18 each year, i.e. becoming adults.

Factor in the amount of people who are changing careers, qualifying, or just getting new jobs, each day there are tens, if not hundreds of thousands of people who not only haven’t seen your content, they probably didn’t even have the means to.

But there’s also another thing we’re forgetting. People forget.

Most of the news I receive each morning is forgotten about by the afternoon, as proved by the fact I just went through my “saved links” on Facebook and honestly couldn’t remember reading half of them.

I also took a look at a bunch of articles I’d written, and published, just six months ago. I couldn’t remember writing some of them.

You see, the problem with all of this content is that is creates overload. Our prospects and customers are constantly being bombarded with it so they eventually just zone out and forget what they’ve just read.

Engaging with an audience, then, becomes tough. In order to stand out, our content needs to be more engaging, more useful and more entertaining than everyone else’s, but we also need to do more of it.

How to get noticed in this crazy world full of content

Many new site owners I speak to can’t get going with their blogging because they’re already overwhelmed. They see others that have been in the business for decades writing content every day, and they feel they just can’t compete.

So my answer to that is, don’t.

In fact, here are three things you can do to ensure your content gets read and actioned based on my own experience, and also the tactics of people like Neil Patel.

Write the same, but different

Somebody has written a really great blog post about how to replace roofing tiles. Nuts, you were going to do that. Well do it anyway and make it better.

Can you write more about the subject? Does the original author cover absolutely everything there is to know about replacing tiles and can you do better?

Maybe the article covers everything but it’s as dull as dishwater. Some people are terrible at writing (but at least they write), so can you make it better?

Cover it from a different angle, and publish it and let the public decide.

Recycle old content

If you’ve been blogging as long as me then you’ll have lots of content going back years that’s probably relevant, but maybe a bit out of date.

Applications and websites you mention might have updated or certain key-presses don’t work anymore, so go back and revist your old content and see if you can re-write it for a new set of readers.

Maybe some of it is just plain wrong now. Great!

Take your old, wrong, content and explain how that was then, this is now. Make a big deal about the fact you’ve just gone back and looked and found something that needs to be altered. Send this out to your email list and have fun with it.

Above all, don’t be afraid to do it

Some of the most basic and universally known information is going to be new to someone.

A few weeks ago, I watched a science program on TV where they showed the amazing properties of liquid nitrogen on a rose plant and a banana.

Surely everyone knew what happens when you dip either of these objects into this liquid?

Well, it seems not. Their Twitter stream was a mixture of people who had just had their eyes opened to this amazingly rich new thing called “science” and others who were deriding it for being so basic as to be embarrassing.

It happens in all walks of life.

A few months ago we met a new SEO client and his first question was “what does SEO stand for?”

This was a business person who knew his stuff. Not SEO, of course, but he was successful in his own sphere of influence.

So back to the original question – can marketers compete with the torrent of knowledge?

The short answer is yes.

As long as you realise a couple of fundamental truths about content, you’ll be fine, and those are:

  • There’s lots of content, but it’s not all new and if you ignore most of it, you’re going to be OK.
  • You need to create content, too, but you don’t need to keep making new stuff, some of the best examples of content marketing tactics are simply re-using old stuff.
  • You don’t need to be an Einstein or have to write degree-level articles in order to compete. You’ll have some knowledge that is second nature to you and others like you, but which to another demographic is completely mind-blowing.

So go blow their minds!