Content shock; content overload; content glut – you’ve likely heard such terms being bandied about.
But what do they mean?
Undoubtedly, there is a deluge of information today, arguably making it difficult for your business to stand out from the crowd.
Prospects are overwhelmed by this tsunami of content and they’re learning to filter it out.
Welcome to the era of content shock.
Except, maybe, that’s not strictly true.
The debate is not new. Marketing authorities have been arguing for years over whether content is losing its inherent power in the marketing mix.
But, for many companies, the question is still unresolved.
Perhaps you’re not yet sold on content; maybe you’re “doing” content, but it’s not delivering the results you’d hoped; or perhaps you just want content to serve you better.
Just this month, Copyblogger’s 'The Lede' delivered a podcast that continued the debate. It asked: “Should we fear content shock? (Or could it actually be a good thing?)”.
The fact is, content is relevant to everything you do – yes, still - but creating remarkable, stand-out content is not a simple task
Is there really too much content?
Back in January 2014, Mark Schaefer wrote a blog post about “content shock”.
He described this as: “The emerging market epoch… when exponentially increasing volumes of content intersect our limited human capacity to consume it.”
This, he argued, would eventually make a content strategy economically unsustainable for all but the richest and largest companies in many industries.
Schaefer generated a huge amount of interest online and his post attracted almost 400 comments. 1,750 people tweeted the post, over 870 shared it on Facebook and more than 700 shared it on LinkedIn.
What both Simone and Sheridan argued was that, while Schaefer made a number of very valid points, the right type of content would never be under threat.
Simone called this “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”.
She argued that while there is certainly a glut of content, “there is not a glut of content that is useful, passionate, individual, and interesting”.
Meanwhile, Sheridan said that content marketing could be defined as “a business’ ability to be the most helpful and effective teachers in the world at what they do”.
He argued that consumers will always find the time to research what is important to them.
Therefore, content that fulfils these requirements will always rise above the noise.
Remarkable content will rise to the top
So there’s no denying that there is already a lot of content out there.
This kind of content answers people’s questions, solves their problems and addresses them on a human level.
It means you can still connect with your ideal customers - even if there is already a lot of existing content in your industry.
And your audience numbers don’t have to be huge.
Copyblogger’s VP of Rainmaker.fm, Jerod Morris, said: “Yes, it may be harder to build an audience of a million, but you don’t need an audience of a million, for the most part. You need your 1,000. You need your 10,000.
“The concept of content shock, if you have good content, is not preventing you from doing that.”
In fact, content shock might actually make your content better because you know you’re up against lots of competition.
It’s a case of really knowing who your ideal customer is – and adopting a content creation strategy specifically around their interests, fears and aspirations.
Large companies with deep pockets might have a bigger chunk of the audience – but that’s ok.
As CopyBlogger's VP of Marketing, Robert Bruce, said in the podcast: “You’re not looking for numbers. You’re looking for the right numbers, the right people.”
You don't have to be number one in Google, you don't need millions of subscribers to your blog and you don't have to sit at the top of the iTunes chart.
Remarkable content will always find an audience.
It looks like content is still king. Shocker!