Content Shock, and what you can do about it…

Roughly a 4 minute read by Amy Richards

Anyone who’s visited the Internet recently will know that we’re living in a content-saturated world. It’s estimated that we now create more new information every two days than we did from the dawn of civilisation until 2003. I’ll just let that blow your mind for a minute…

The proliferation of every kind of content from every different angle is both a dream and a nightmare for content marketers. On the one hand, people are more receptive to content than ever and they’re hanging out right where you want to disseminate your message. On the other hand, the supply of content has far exceeded the demand.

What is content shock?

This phenomenon has been labelled ‘Content Shock’ by Mark Shaefar, and his predictions have so far been scarily accurate. We’re now spending 11 hours per day consuming content (how?!) and yet it’s becoming more difficult for brands to get in front of their audiences. Where once great content would speak for itself, you can no longer rely on making something awesome and letting it run free across the Internet. This is even more true for brands - whilst funny cat videos will always find their way into your newsfeed, if you look behind most ‘viral’ sensations, you’ll see a lot of money and a lot of hard work to put even the most innocuous content at the top of the pile.

Even more worryingly, a recent study by Moz and Buzzsumo found that out of 1 million content pieces across the web, there was a consistently low level of engagement across the board, with 75% of content receiving 0 referring domain links and 50% receiving less than 2 shares. Considering how many of those content pieces have been created by companies or agencies with more than two employees, the pattern seems to be that people aren’t even sharing their own work, let alone the work of anyone else.

A more considered approach

But what can you do about it? We can’t reverse the tide of content that’s flooding the Internet, but taking a more considered approach to content creation can help you get the attention that you’re after. Taking a more considered approach can prevent your content from languishing in the murky corners of the web and make your hard-work worthwhile.

Word Count vs Shares/Referring Domains

Do your research

You wouldn’t launch a product to market without doing at least a cursory bit of research, right? The same needs to be true for your content. Research your audience, what they’re interested in, how they’re consuming content, which platforms they’re using, and what they’re most likely to share. That way you can narrow your focus and fit your message into a format that will be favourably received.

A clear purpose

Why are you creating your content? Having a clear purpose and goal will help you to cut out the chaff and only create content that’s meaningful for your brand, and which advances your marketing goals.

Have a strategy

In today’s Internet, you can’t just hope for the best once you launch your content. Your promotional strategy is just as, if not more, important as the content piece itself. Whether you’re running digital adverts, an online PR campaign or going off the wall with something completely different, you need to be prepared to push your content out there. What’s the point in making something if you’re not willing to shout about it? Use your existing audience and reach out to new people to get your content into the right hands, and if you’ve ticked off the first two points then you’re in the best position you can be.

Work with influencers

More people than ever are becoming content curators online, picking and choosing the content they share as part of their personal brand. Influencers are the very people that you want to be talking about your content and involving them in the process from the beginning could be the best way to get those shares and links that you’re after. Working out who is influential in your market and what kind of content they’re sharing could be the key to getting your content out there, and there’s always the option of looping them in earlier in the process through collaborations and consultancies if that works for you.