Are we in a Content War?

Content War-01

I remember it well – I was in college and I was sitting with a friend at Uptown Espresso on Westlake Ave in South Lake Union, Seattle.  “Create Relevant Content,” he told me.  “This is the most important marketing lesson you will learn.”

Fast forward a few years and here I am, in the belly of the beast.  This week alone, I will shoot (just me) around 10 videos.  This month, my company will release around 80 videos to our members.  Yet again, I will have to clear out about 3 Terabytes of data off of our RAIDed hard drive (at just one of our studios) to make room for the next couple of months at which time I’ll rinse and repeat.

We create a lot of content at my workplace.  And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  Youtube alone adds about 100 hours of video each minute.  Around 500 million tweets are sent per day.  Almost 1.5 billion facebook users have created over 300 petabytes of information.  Almost 300 billion emails are sent, and more than 2 million blog posts are written each day.

That’s a TON of content.

My economics brain goes crazy when thinking about how all of this grows.  Content is truly an example of a positive-sum game.  Storage is cheap (thank you, Moore’s Law), and can keep being added.  There’s nothing stopping from us creating more and more content.

With so much content – you have to wonder – are we all in a content war?  Let’s break it down:

By the nature of creating content, it takes much longer to create content than it does to consume it.  So if we assume that only humans can create content that is going to be valuable, then there will never be enough humans to create enough content that not even one person will consume it.

However – if most people are clambering for their content to be viewed by as many eyes they can get it in front of, than we are all competing to be the number one in that space.  Whether it’s an email sent to one coworker or a viral Youtube videos, we all want that content to be consumed by as many people as it is available/targeted to.

So, while we can produce content that should be consumed, we are all at war with each other for the most precious resource that we all have – time.  The time for people to consume the content we want them to consume.

What’s the solution? Create better content! Content should inform, delight or wow the consumer (or all three).  And let’s be honest – there’s a lot of crap out there.  But if we are all competing for time with better and better content, we will continue to improve on informing, delighting and wowing our consumers.

And that seems like a great thing.

What are your thoughts on the Content War?

  1 comment for “Are we in a Content War?

  1. September 28, 2015 at 9:06 pm

    I agree that content must be compelling… today, much like a bear standing in the river, strategically pawing through the spawning Salmon. To that note, content must be in the right place all the time… “are all at war with each other for the most precious resource that we all have – time” … Google now defines this as “Moments” which create time as we know it.

    I think however that “war” would suggest that content creators would target each other. In fact, there is a tremendous bounty of activity where content is concerned, but I would suggest that the war is against time itself and much less of it… depending party on the context of the words used in the content. Will the reader listen to the content being read by his/her computer? Will the reader understand the points of view or perspective? Will the reader share the content? Will the reader read past the first sentence?

    When we know our opponent, how they think, when they read, what they like and dislike, we can take a more accurate trajectory.

    In the words of Denzel Washington in the movie training day this is chess not checkers.

    Nice way to open the topic of content Nate.

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