I’ve seen the self-satisfied look of the content marketer when discussing email marketing. So-called “inbound” marketing is deemed superior to “outbound” marketing techniques, such as email. We content marketers like to brag about how we attract attention rather than just pumping up the volume and sending more emails. And, to a point, we’re right. But maybe we’re reaching the point where we are wrong.

More and more, I see content marketers falling into the same trap as email marketers. When the response rate falls for your email marketing campaign, you have two ways to fix it. The first way is to make your emails more relevant, more compelling–better. That’s the hard way. The easy way is to send out more emails.

At least that seems like the easy way, because we all know how to do it, and it takes very little time to decide and execute. But that’s just the short-term approach. Because in the long run, merely sending more emails can’t possibly work.

Think about it. If someone sends you three emails in a day, then ramps it up to six, then 20, then–where does it end? In the final analysis, you have to make the email more relevant–better.

So, what does this have to do with content marketing? Everything. While we all acutely feel the time suck that is our email inboxes, the truth is that our attention has limits outside of email, also. If you think that it’s good to have 100 case studies and great to have 3,000, you are making the same mistake as the email marketer. Your pile of content will collapse under its own weight.

To win at content marketing, you can’t just pump up the volume. You can’t just produce more and more content and expect that will get more attention. Your customer has only so much time and attention to give–and every year each of us becomes more ruthless with doling out our attention.

In content marketing, you must make your content more relevant to your customer to command attention. No one is saying that it’s easy–but it’s easier than failing, which is what you’ll do if you just keep spewing more and more content that matters less and less.