Is Content Marketing Unsustainable?

Content guru Mark Schaefer once posited that we were heading for a content shock: that the volume of created content is much higher than the available human hours needed to consume it. The implication is that to attract people to content, creators will have to spend larger and larger sums of money to win their attention, killing any hope of the initial return on investment in creating that content in the first place.

In some ways, Schaefer’s totally right: the business world’s current content marketing practices – to say nothing of a 24-hour news cycle and millions of options on streaming services – are unsustainable. A lot of produced content isn’t even that good, but it clutters up our timelines, newsfeeds, and all else just the same. The result is an overwhelming glut of options, where people spend up to 11 hours a day consuming content with no end yet in sight.

We know – these are dire facts for anyone to share, let alone a content marketing agency! But before you think we’re abandoning content here at MediaFace, we’ll argue that this doesn’t mean an end to content. Instead, we think a focus on Schaefer’s word – “sustainability” – is so important. In fact, examining content marketing practices to cut down on “waste” mirrors most of the sustainability moves we already practice in our businesses.


Build a Sustainable Content Strategy

What are some of the sustainability strategies you have in your workplace? It might be keeping a recycling bin near every trash can, or moving to a paperless filing system. Your content strategy also deserves that kind of forethought. Think about what kinds of content you’ll put out and how ensure that it’s quality content people would want to consume, instead of “fast” content that will end up in digital oblivion. The hard but useful question of “does anyone care?” applies here – ask it when you’re about to embark on a new content initiative, and look to historic data to see what topics and types of content tend to underperform to help you answer.


Reuse Content to Extend its Lifespan (and keep it working for you)

Unless you’re a Kardashian, our CEO Lisa says that “you’re probably accustomed to wearing the same clothes over and over again.” If you can reuse your clothes, you can reuse your content. When we’re planning out our editorial calendar, existing posts go right up there with new ones. In fact, our winter round-up of 2019 “best of the blog” posts that we shared over Twitter and LinkedIn last month resulted in 20 per cent of our impressions and 50 per cent of our engagements on those channels – and that was during the slow holiday season. Just because it’s old, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t resonate – and think of how much your ROI increases when you get secondary (or tertiary!) use out of a piece.


As our physical environment requires less wasteful behaviour, so too does our digital environment. A sustainable content strategy based on evergreen content is the answer. If you’re looking for help transforming your content into a lean, green, ROI machine, contact our marketing advisory.


Photo by Noah Buscher on Unsplash.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.