About four years ago, in 2014, professional marketing blogger Mark Schaefer coined the term “content shock” to describe the massive distribution of content across digital marketing channels.
At the time, Schaefer predicted that content consumers would eventually feel overwhelmed and saturated with the amount of material online. As a result, there could be a decrease in engagement levels among audiences, which means that your target market might not end up reading or sharing your content.
Four years later, the phenomenon of content shock seems to be more pronounced. Consumers always seem to be on their mobile device or other internet technologies, which in turn influences content creators to overload the internet with content.
The sheer amount of content on the internet can overwhelm consumers:
- An average Facebook user has more than 1,500 articles that can appear in his or her News Feed.
- From a sample of 100 million posts published in 2017, there has been a 50% reduction in social sharing of articles and stories compared with figures from 2015, according to BuzzSumo’s Contend Trends 2018 Report.
- WordPress has also suffered a blow in terms of declining content views.
- By 2019, the world wide web will hold 500% more information than it could accommodate five years ago.
Content shock, or content saturation, may come with serious implications for your business, especially if you’re using content marketing for B2B lead generation. Here are some ways that content shock may be affecting your business:
Paying for Your Content to Reach Consumers
As the amount of online material continues to increase, it will likely cost you more time and money to make your content stand out. Thus, your marketing team may now use paid ads or sponsored posts to make sure the content about your brand, goods, or services gets through to your intended audience
One aspect of paid promotions involves buying ad space in native advertising platforms, which then publish your ads in various paid ad ecosystems, such as social media platforms and recommendation widgets. For the unfamiliar, native advertising refers to when you contribute paid content that resembles the editorial content of the platform on which your material is published.
Boosted ads, such as the ones you see on Facebook, are another form of paid promotion. Because boosted ads appear higher than non-boosted posts on users’ newsfeeds, there’s more of a guarantee that more potential customers will see and notice your content.
Customers now use many different ways to find the right type of content on the internet, so you’ll want to make sure that your content strategy integrates the various forms of paid media.
Exceeding Industry Standards
Entrepreneurship is one of the offshoots of the digital revolution. Each month, more than 500,000 business startups enter the market, thanks to modern technology that makes it easy for entrepreneurs to launch their business ideas. Startups also look to content marketing to promote their new venture and help their business flourish.
With more and more companies producing fresh content, you also need to outdo your competitors by creating original, high-quality posts and articles for your niche market. The goal is to establish yourself as an industry expert or thought leader who provides valuable information that online consumers will take time to read and share.
4 Techniques for Developing Engaging Content in the Age of Saturation
Here are some ways you can achieve a higher rate of audience engagement through your content and stand out in the age of saturation.
- Make Your Content Immersive: Many consumers live a digital lifestyle and are online around the clock. This kind of lifestyle is said to theoretically increase the number of hours that people have in a day, from 24 hours to 31 hours and 28 minutes. People have become great multi-taskers and can do more with their day, such as eat, talk to someone on the phone, and browse the internet at the same. To help your content successfully compete for your audience’s attention, you could create immersive content using augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR) technologies. Use 360-degree videos to enhance potential customers’ experience with your business, or tell a story about your brand.
- Analyze Your Content-Performance Data: The bitcoin example in the early part of this article shows how easy it can be for certain markets to become saturated with content. Luckily, there are tools, such as BuzzSumo, Dataminr, SEMrush, to mention a few, that show you available materials, so you could identify which gap to fill as you create your content marketing plan. Data analytic tools also let you compare different content types to help you determine which ones get a lot of shares or open up meaningful conversations with your social media followers.
- Take Advantage of User-Generated Content: User-generated content (UGC) refers to content your customers, followers, or business partners create. Because it’s not your brand that’s creating the content directly, the trust factor that comes from UGC campaigns is considerably high. For example, photo essays perform especially well on Instagram, where you can more easily increase your follower base and connect with other users. UGC ensures you’re still publishing content without the hard work of creating it all yourself.
- Use Different Sources of Content Discovery: Content distribution is equally as important as content creation. Don’t rely on Google or social media alone to get people to discover your brand and engage with your content. Use different sources to serve up content to consumers, depending on where your audience is. For example, you could use mobile notifications, email newsletters, and blogs to distribute your content. You should use more than just search engines and social media to reach the largest audience possible.
Make Content Shock Work for Your Business
Content can be a key driver to business success. You don’t have to worry about content shock if there’s customer value behind the content you offer to your audience. Whenever you adopt customer-focused content development techniques, your company will stand out as a brand that provides the right type and amount of the content your audience needs.
If you're interested in discussing your current marketing strategy and how you can further align that with your brand and voice, we invite you to schedule an inbound marketing consultation with our team. You can also check out our marketing explainer videos if you have any questions specifically on content marketing.
Guest Blog Contributor: Ralph Wunsch is working as a web publishing consultant for Writebrain, a blog analytics tool. He is currently based in South Africa. He has knowledge in online publishing and blogging from his experience in online media management. His other interests include business, media, and pop culture.