“Creating 1,000 mediocre pieces of content every year is hard. Creating 10 game changing pieces of content every year is hard. Choose your hard.”
I wrote these exact words back in 2020 on LinkedIn.
And back then. Both of these things were hard to do.
But since then a lot has changed.
One of the biggest changes is that creating 1,000 mediocre pieces of content in a year isn’t exactly that hard any more.
You can use AI to create 1,000 mediocre pieces of content in two months.
I’ve seen it happen.
I’ve created mediocre long form content in less than 30 minutes.
I’ve seen brands publish hundreds of new pages a month on the back of AI generated content.
I’ve seen some of these brands skyrocket up the search engine results page and I’ve seen some of these brands brag about their success just to be absolutely destroyed by the algorithm.
In a recent Marketing AI Study conducted by Foundation Inc, the team conducted a survey of marketers and more than 60% of the respondents suggested that AI written content was still a bit or much worse than human created content.
Here’s the findings from the study:
Most marketers think AI creates bad content.
I get that. I think some of them might be biased. But I get the sentiment.
In fact, I 100% agree that most use cases of AI aren’t able to get up to human level standards for pure-play content creation.
Don’t get me wrong:
I also think most of the content being produced today by brands using AI is falling right into the bucket of mediocre content. The mediocrity of content being developed using AI is rooted in an over reliance on the tools and under reliance on the humans.
This isn’t the first time it’s happened in history.
Back in 2018, Elon Musk (pre-Twitter acquisition) was quote as saying that excessive automation was a mistake at Tesla and humans are underrated:
Yes, excessive automation at Tesla was a mistake. To be precise, my mistake. Humans are underrated.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 13, 2018
I think this is where many marketing teams are today.
Over estimating AI.
Under estimating humans.
I’m all-in on artificial intelligence.
But I’m not naive enough to think that the technology today is at a point where brands should fire every writer on their team and let AI do the work.
But it’s the approach so many brands are taking.
Here’s my advice amidst these chaotic times:
Stop taking the easy way out.
The reason why my original question of creating 1,000 mediocre pieces of content vs. 10 game changing pieces of content was a good one back in 2020 was because executing both of these strategies was difficult.
It’s no longer a fair comparison.
Only one of those ideas is hard today.
So right now.
Given the choice…
Here’s where I’d lean:
Create 10 Game Changing Pieces.
While everyone else aggressively goes full speed towards publishing thousands of mediocre pieces – brands can stand out in their industry by publishing a handful of amazing pieces that have the ability to shape culture, the industry at large and help the audience you serve.
Now is the perfect opportunity to go big with your content investment.
When I say “go big” with your content I’m talking about the need to do things that are unscalably laborious.
You need to create content assets that would be close to impossible for a competitor to copy overnight. This is only possible by doing things that are unscalably laborious or rooted in proprietary data / perspectives.
The idea of creating “unscalably laborious” content is something that I really want to stick. You need to be willing to put in unscalable hours to create pieces of content that are going to have a culture shaping impact.
This idea comes from Paul Grahams’ post: Do things that don’t scale.
And the thinking from that piece applies just as much today as it did back when he published it.
Here’s Paul talking about this idea:
It’s a concept that is often thought about for products.
But rarely for content creation.
But in a world where content creation has become automated…
It’s becoming a philosophy that I think more brands should embrace.
Don’t just create content that aligns with the users search intent and the signals, FAQs and insights you’re finding in the SERP. Create content that goes above and beyond anything you’ve seen on the topic.
Here’s why this is a model and approach that works:
Your audience’s inboxes are likely filled with mediocre content.
Your competitors blog is filled with mediocre content.
The SERP is filled with mediocre content.
And the internet is ITCHING for great content.
You have an opportunity to stand out in a sea of mediocrity by creating content assets that are great and have the potential to shape culture.
So go do that.
It won’t be easy. But it will be worth it.
Want to learn how to create Unscalable Content? Get in touch.