Hours of thought, reading and email discussions with other big publishers went into this.
What I set out below is merely the beginning of what will likely be a topic I write about here and there for the next while.
I’ve survived online this long because I’m willing to deal with unpleasant changes upfront. I try to get ahead of things. I learned this after getting creamed by the first Google Penguin.
I had a strong feeling Facebook would screw publishers in the end. I was right. I noticed cracks in organic post reach a year or two before it ended. I had adjusted well in advance and so I’m still going strong.
There’s an equally big change coming down the pipe. It’s imminent.
How you deal with it will dictate whether you survive or lose it all (maybe).
I’ve spent over a week thinking obsessively over this issue. Friends with huge sites have helped tremendously.
In fact, at first, I viewed this solely as a HUGE problem that I would not be able to overcome.
I now see it as an opportunity, but changes must be made.
I will make them. I will put my all into these changes because I have no choice. Not only do I think these changes will help my sites survive, but I think it will help them thrive.
Here is the issue and how I plan to deal with it.
THE ISSUE: Artificial Intelligence Content (AI content).
You’ve no doubt read about it.
It’s coming. In fact, it’s already here. It’s not great content but it won’t take long until it’s good content and then potentially great.
In my view there are two ways to deal with AI content
The first is to invest in an AI content generator when the content is good enough and crank out content like never before before seeking an edge targeting KWs other folks don’t find.
The second option is to publish content so good that AI cannot match it.
My solution will be the second option. Doing so will change how I go about things.
I will continue seeking out KWs that other publishers don’t go after but will also do my best to publish epic content on those topics.
I think the second option (epic content) is best for large established sites with big earnings. You want to protect those sites.
The first option (publish AI content yourself), is viable for newer sites – but treat it more as an experiment to see if it can work. It’s definitely experimental. Who knows if it will work.
I see no reason that Google won’t rank AI content if it’s good content and meets user intent. So for me with my established sites, the solution is to produce better content than what AI produces.
It’s not easy.
I’m going to probably work harder than I ever have.
This will take creativity and a huge, ongoing effort. Outsourcing it for low rates is no longer an option. I do believe if you have the right editor at the helm who sees as you do that you can outsource sites, but that will not be cheap.
Every detail on the site must be attended to.
When will this be required?
I still think good AI content is at least a couple of years away, but years go by fast.
For me, the time to act is right now. I want to get ahead of this.
I believe that if I get ahead of this, not only will I survive, but it’s an opportunity to explode growth.
How is AI content an opportunity?
If more and more sites publish AI content, while they may produce lots of decent content, they will not produce epic content.
I will; at least I hope to.
I may not publish as much volume as AI, but hopefully what I do publish outperforms AI.
Crumbs add up.
Some time I ago I wrote about how I’m happy with crumbs.
That’s the mindset I need to have.
I focus on the KWs I target and leave it at that instead of trying to rank for everything (the AI approach).
When you add up the crumbs, it can add up to decent traffic and revenue.
Should you produce only AI content?
You could. It is another option. There could be an opportunity with AI content by going after clever keywords. I can’t say I won’t test this when good AI content generators are available to most publishers.
It could be a fun experiment, but I don’t expect to put all my eggs into the AI basket.
The AI approach is going head to head with a lot of publishers.
I think the elevated content approach is the better play. I hope it’s the better play.
Which leads to the next problem…
Taking the “epic content” approach means it’s harder to juggle so many sites.
I do not have $100K per month to ensure that all that content is epic with a talented editor at the helm of each site. It’s not possible.
I still haven’t decided what I will do with all those sites. I don’t want to kneejerk at this point. They are growing nicely and earning well. I will continue growing them but be mindful of what is coming.
I really would love to be diversified with several high-earning sites.
They are good sites. The content is good, but it’s not epic. Getting it to epic is a huge effort.
All of the above are prelminary thoughts at this stage. It’s still early but the time to take some action is now.
Quality content has always been an effective strategy. So for now that is what I will do. It will mean publishing less content but that’s okay. It’s necessary. I must adapt.
Please note that I don’t have a crystal ball. I have no idea how all this will shake out. I’m dealing with it as I think best.
I believe you expect that I keep you in the loop with what I’m doing and thinking about and so I bring this up.
Maybe I’m overreacting or worse, paranoid. I hope so, but I doubt it.
You MUST do your own analysis and figure out on your own how you will deal with this. But remember, erring toward better content has always been a sound strategy.
Jon runs the place around here. He pontificates about launching and growing online publishing businesses, aka blogs that make a few bucks. His pride and joy is the email newsletter he publishes that’s “the best blogging email newsletter around.”
Hyperbole? Maybe, but go check it out to see what some readers say.
In all seriousness, Jon is the founder and owner of a digital media company that publishes a variety of web properties visited and beloved by millions of readers monthly. Fatstacks is where he shares a glimpse into his digital publishing business.