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Content marketing. It is the buzziest of all buzz words in the digital marketing and business worlds. The need to create high-quality, original relevant content is continually stated and restated. And for good reason: consumers increasingly turn to the web for answers, for information, for entertainment, for connection. But have we reached a point where there is simply too much content? And if so, how does your brand combat it and reach your audience effectively?

What is ‘Content Shock’?

Mark Schaefer coined the term ‘content shock,’ calling it a ‘new phase in the evolution of content-based marketing.’ Consider this: the amount of web-based content is growing exponentially. As memory and storage capacity increases in our computer and mobile devices, we’re constantly creating new content to fill it up. By2020, the volume of content will increase by 600 per cent.

At the same time, we’re still only human. We cannot consume all of this content. In other words, the supply will outpace the demand. This means, says Schaefer, that brands essential ‘pay’ consumers more and more to get them to interact with the same amount of content. (That is, it costs more and more to produce, host and promote content even as consumer demand is flat.)

Here’s the rub, though: consumers still expect to access high-quality (and oftentimes, free) content. Brands cannot simply stop being media producers. The question is, how can they fight content shock?

Creating Content People Want

Some tips:

Do what everyone is doing – but do it more and better

Schaefer suggests that brands deploy a ‘shock and awe’ strategy – that is, they create so much great content, that they create content shock in their competition. This is admittedly time-consuming and pricey, but there are ways you can increase value and lower costs.

One tool that you should put into your arsenal is Evernote. You can share ideas with colleagues, peers, advisors and influencers, and use the app to organize them so you have a steady supply of content ideas.

(Evernote screenshot)

This is important because you have to overwhelm your competition with high-quality content. To do this, you it is imperative that you’re up to date on industry trends and events. Read as much as you can, from news aggregators and influencers in your niche.

Mix It Up

Use a variety of media, including video, slide presentations, webcasts, podcasts, audio and infographics, to appeal to a wide audience. ‘Bite-sized’ content is easily digested – and just as easily shared. Long-form content is still a valuable commodity, but you need to engage people right from the start and then draw them into explore more in-depth pieces.

Leverage the Power of Influencers

You can find your industry or niche’s most powerful influencers with services like Klout, PeerIndex and Kred. Look for people who are active and who share other people’s content. Once you identify influencers, follow their blogs and interact with them in an authentic way.

Share a ‘best of’ list of great content, and include influencer articles or posts. Summarize one of their best articles and give (lots) credit. Keep the conversation going. When people share, thank them. Share their content in return (if it has value to your audience!).

Whether you buy into the idea of ‘content shock’ or not, there is no doubt that the amount of content available is expanding at an astonishing rate. You can fight the shock and stoke demand by creating an abundance of original high-quality content and ensuring people share it.

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