Published May 28, 2015
What is ‘content shock’?
‘Content shock’ is a fairly recent phrase used to describe the oversaturation of information available online and offline. It’s the sheer glut of articles, videos, photos, and infographics out there which users simply don’t have the time to find and consume – much less actively engage with – and the resulting pressure on marketers to produce content that stands out.
How does this information overload affect content marketing?
Marketer Mark Schaefer – who coined the term content shock in early 2014 – argued that the concept makes “content marketing as we know it” unsustainable. According to this logic, most marketing departments and agencies simply won’t have the capabilities to create enough content to generate ROI.
However: Truly great content is rare, so demand will continue to be huge
Schaefer’s concerns about information overload are valid, but they mainly apply to disposable content of negligible quality and limited consequence. Copyblogger Media describes this type of content scathingly:
We’re all familiar with the most overproduced form of content. It’s mass-produced, formulaic, and often cynical. It’s ‘content’ the same way that Keeping Up with the Kardashians is ‘entertainment’.
So what makes content great? And how will people find it?
If you’re concerned no one would notice if you stopped publishing social content, you’re probably doing it wrong.
To see if you’re on the right track, ask yourself: are you getting organic engagement (e.g. retweets, favourites, likes, comments) or do you rely on paid reach to give you views? The latter strategy isn’t sustainable; as Michael Zimbalist said at Social Media Week New York, “Many marketers are obsessed with reach, often to the detriment of the quality of content. However, any brand can buy reach – attention is the only metric that cannot be bought, and it is fast becoming clear it is the most important.” Also consider if your audience analytics – do they match your target audience (e.g. by age, location, profession)? And do your content marketing activities demonstrate genuine ROI – do they have an effect on your business, such as generating new leads?
Copyblogger Media divides engaging content into ‘Conversiting’ (content that’s “just great advertising”) and ‘Rainmaker content’, which “serve[s] a business purpose in attracting a larger prospect base, bringing in leads, nurturing and educating those leads, and paving the way for a sale.” This type of content is original, thoughtful, and accessible while addressing (and sometimes solving) the audience’s problems.
Next week we’ll take a closer look at how to create great content and making sure it gets found – including what common obstacles stand in the way (and how to overcome them).
To learn more about content marketing, take a look at our tips for raising your content marketing game – and if you’re looking to improve your own content strategy, just get in touch on 01483 746 650 or email Hello@somethingbig.co.uk. Also keep an eye on our Twitter feed for more content insights!
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