The Content Arms Race and the Death of Single Author Blogs

by Marcus Sheridan

content arms race

In so many ways, content, from a business and digital perspective, has become a modern day arms race.

Company “A” starts blogging twice a week.

Company “B” doesn’t want to be outdone and blogs 3 times a week.

Company “A” reacts with the addition of a video blog twice a week, on top of their other two articles.

Company “B” responds with a new podcast, a video campaign, and articles 5 days a week.

And on and on and on.

Believe it or not, that’s where every industry is headed—who can get the most content out to the masses, in as many ways as possible, on as many platforms as possible…and fast.

In some ways this is good, in others it is bad.

As a byproduct, some content will stink. Other companies will do exceptional things. It is what it is.

The Fall of Single-Author Blogs

But it will also open up a Pandora’s box of dominoes that will continue to fall over the coming years.

From a business perspective, one of those dominoes that is going to fall will be the death of the single-author blog.

Now before you roll your eyes at my statement, understand that when I say “death,” I’m referring to the great demise, not the total extinction, of an act that has changed the world of business and marketing as we know it.

But think about it for a second. If you look at the top marketing blogs in the world today, what do 90% have in common?

Yep, they’re all multi-author blogs. (Pretty much every single-author blog that is extremely popular in this realm has been popular for at least a few years, so please don’t start telling me about Seth Godin.)

Furthermore, if you look at the ones that really took off the most in 2012—blogs like the Content Marketing Institute and Convince and Convert (both went from popular to really popular)—they followed the same pattern—rich content with in-depth articles, daily posting schedules, and multiple authors.

One of the blogs that helped establish this trend 3 years ago was Michael Stelzner’s Social Media Examiner and since that time more and more are following suite, for good reason, as the system works, and is necessary to attain the highest level of success.

Social Media Examiner

The model of Social Media Examiner with daily, rich content by multiple authors is a growing trend of many successful blogs.

I mention “marketing” blogs here because of the fact that the CSI (content saturation index) for this particular industry is incredibly high, which means to rise to the top as a blog (or website, same thing really) you’ve got to be doing some amazing things, for a long stretch of time.

Although such isn’t necessarily the current case in low CSI industries, mark my words that it will be within the next few years after every industry has accepted content marketing similar to the way everyone has now accepted the need to have a company website.

Not Able to Keep Up

I’d be lying if I said this “content demand” wasn’t something I’ve often thought about. Naturally being someone who wants to be one of the best in my field, I’d like for individuals and businesses around the globe to recognize The Sales Lion as a premier hub of inbound and content marketing information.

But the simple fact is this—I won’t get it there myself.

Why?

To make a long answer short, I can’t out do the work of a team. It’s that simple.

So I either change the TSL model and do guest posts with daily, ultra-rich content, or I continue along my current path of modest growth, hoping that my best-selling book that gets translated in 84 languages is the impetus to blogging stardom ;-)

Understand folks that I’m not at all crying the blues here. In fact, I’m just making a simple observation about the state of this industry.

Content Insourcing will become a standard part of business culture

This is also exactly why I work my hardest to help every company I consult with leverage the power of their employees to produce content. Because of the arms race, one person writing articles for a larger organization is foolish when compared to what can be done if synergy and team work are in effect amongst all employees.

I call this process of producing content by multiple employees “insourcing,” and although it’s not a common practice yet with most organizations, I can see it being a standard part of one’s job description for most companies within the next 3-5 years.

Insourcing

As talked about previously here at TSL, companies like US Waterproofing that leverage the power of their employees to produce content will set the bar for their industries and own the digital web.

Sure, some folks will squawk at those numbers, but if these last few years are any indication of where we’re all headed, the arms race isn’t about to slow down whatsoever. In fact, just the opposite is true.

Which brings me back to my original point. As smaller bloggers and businesses look at the leaders of their industry (the ones that are at the top of the content production heap), I can see many being left with two choices:

1. Give up on the idea of content marketing

2. Join the big boys and leverage numbers

Sure, there will be exceptions and “tweeners”, but this is how I see it going down.

As for me, I think I’ll just stick with my current style, counting on the tortoise to eventually win the race…at least for now ;-)

Your Turn:

I’m curious to know if you agree with my premise here or think I’m way off base. Do you see less and less single-author blogs, especially from businesses, in the future? Also, do you think the Content Saturation Index of most industries will make the barrier to entry incredibly difficult?

Jump in folks, I’d love to know your thoughts.

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