Simple mathematics tells us that content marketing is dead.

Why? Well given that the volume of content on the Web is growing exponentially, doubling every few months, the amount of content out there is – to all practical intents and purposes – pretty much infinite.  But human attention is definitely not infinite, it is very finite. Any finite number divided by infinity is zero, therefore the average attention captured by content marketing is trending to zero.  Therefore content marketing is dead. QED.

That’s the essence of Mark Schaefer’s Content Shock, with a hat tip to Douglas Adams,  in a new post that’s created a shock in content marketing world and that claims that the increasing amounts of time, skill and money needed to attract audiences has made content marketing unviable.  It also detracts focus and resource from what people pay you for, whilst undermining future efforts by further increasing clutter.  It’s called ‘Content Shock’ – too much content, not enough attention.

So whilst you might think it’s cool for your brand to be a film studio or publishing house, the economics of becoming one doesn’t stand up. Better to just pay for attention via interruptive advertising? Perhaps.

Sure, Google’s algorithms combined with exponential increases in landfill marketing are making the brand game of of let’s play at being a film studio/publishing house economically unviable.  There’s an instructive precedent here for content marketers – early soap operas were so-called because they were produced by soap manufacturers themselves – until manufacturer’s realised that what they were really good was manufacturing not making serials.  So they stuck to sponsoring content and advertising in it.

And that’s what content marketing should be about – helping brands sponsor and advertise in content – not produce it.