Guest post by Russel Cooke
Back in January Mark Schaefer, author of “Social Media Explained” and “Return On Influence,” wrote a blog post that shook up the content marketing world. In the post, Schaefer made the argument that the supply for content has greatly outpaced the demand, making it near impossible for users to consume it in the limited time they have each day.
Schaefer also predicted that larger players with deep pockets will crowd smaller competitors out of the market by making the barrier to entry almost impossibly high.
The Internet was abuzz with Schaefer’s content shock theory and that included multiple rebuttals, including Shel Holtz whose counter post “Six reasons there will be no Content Shock” was cited by the Content Marketing Institute.
How To Get Your Content Seen
Whether or not content shock will cause dramatic shifts in the content marketing industry, it is important for smaller brands to know how they can be seen in today’s conglomerate-driven world. Here are some things to keep in mind when creating your next content project:
Don’t skimp on quality
The onset of information overload among readers is no reason to get sloppy. Put your best foot forward and continue to create great content. Focus on being relevant, entertaining and timely. If you consistently take these concepts to heart when creating content, you’ll also be creating shareable content. Shareable content will be vital in tackling content shock. Just because you build it does not mean they will come. Give your users something worth reading and sharing.
Dominate the market
One content shock fighting strategy suggested by Schaefer himself during the Demand Success PR and Marketing Conference in June 2014 is probably also the most unlikely to work, with one exception (that we’ll get to). He said marketers interested in grabbing readers’ eyes should flood the market with their content, thereby making it more likely their article will be seen over the competitor’s. Unless you have a team of content creators working around the clock to churn out content it’s unlikely this will be a viable strategy.
But what about the exception noted earlier? Dominating the market is an easier and accomplishable goal if your market is small. Marketers working in small niches may have the resources available to crowd “the other guy” out of the space, especially if the competition is asleep at the wheel. Knowing your niche is vital in deciding whether or not to put this plan into action.
Maybe you can’t produce as much content as your larger competitor, but you can be better than him. Figure out what your competitor’s content weakness is and capitalize on it with your own work.
Answer more questions, solve more problems, offer better tips, publish more in-depth guides – just do whatever it takes to be the best. This requires tenacity, but then again so does being in business at all.
By providing more value you’ll rise to the top.
Personalize your content
If you want to truly stand out in the crowd and guarantee that your content moves to the top, you need to be deeply personal. This is especially important if you want to reach younger consumers, as a 2012 study from Bazaar Voice found that Millennials trust people, not brands when making a purchase. Readers should be able to put a face and name to the content your company is creating.
Invest in promotions
Amplify your content with sponsorships and promotions. Typically, 20-30% of a budget is spent on the creation of content, while a staggering 70%-80% is spent on content amplification. Considering that getting the word out about great content is much more difficult than creating it,these figures are not totally shocking, and they indicate the importance of amplifying content.
Yes, this will cost money. Define a budget and apply it smartly. Thoroughly research your audience and your chosen media outlets before spending a single dime. For example, a B2B enterprise will probably have more luck promoting content on Twitter than they might on Facebook.
It’s no secret that some marketing campaigns succeed thanks to a dose of luck and when dealing with content shock, it’s no different. The critical thing is to be ready for your “lucky” break so you can take advantage of it the moment it happens.
So far most users have been able to keep up with marketers, but as American media consumption will average 15.5 hours a day by 2015, it seems unlikely that they will be able to keep up with the flow of content available to them. For those not overwhelmed by the amount of content, there just simply isn’t enough time to consume it.
How are you fighting information overload? What strategies have you found to be most effective in getting your content seen by the right audience?
Russel Cooke is a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) specialist and journalist based in Louisville, KY. His work often covers social media, CRM, and content marketing. He is a firm advocate of responsible content marketing, and thoroughly enjoys writing about the topic. You can follow him on Twitter @RusselCooke2.