As doom-and-gloom as content shock sounds (Part I), there is significant dissent in the marketing community as to the likelihood that it would truly shake things up. In fact, there are several arguments that refute the integrity of the content shock theory.
Truly great content, like cream, will always rise to the top. While this may be true in some regards, the fact remains that in a content-shocked world, there would only be a comparatively few media outlets where that content would even have the chance to do well. Even now, when content marketing still reigns supreme, there are still a large number of site operators that simply don’t have the resources to really make a dent in the market.
In line with the theory that great content rises above the rest, Schaefer’s belief that companies with greater resources can, for all intents and purposes, buy up competitors, has also met considerable resistance. The fact remains, those resources can buy the services of great content writers, allowing that company to put out more quality content that the little guys. While great content may not be limited to the bigger sites, that great content can be purchased, at the right price.
There is no doubt as to the increase inefficiency that modern technology affords its users. This is best evidenced by the momentous shifts in marketing strategies that brought about modern content marketing. It’s becoming more and more common for users to consume information across multiple platforms, something that really has never happened before. As wearable technology and reality augmentation become viable for mass consumption, finding a way to consume information certainly isn’t the issue. What continues to be the problem is time: there are still 24 hours in the day, and not all hours spent awake are feasible times for data consumption. This, as stated previously, is at the root of the theory of content shock: too much content, and not enough time. Users can have as many gadgets they could possibly have, but time will always restrict their ability to surf the Internet.
Combatting Content Shock
While some defenses against content shock hold more water than others, the fact that there will be some over-saturation of consumers remains clear. What will set sites apart from each other is how they choose to accept they will need to modify their marketing strategy, and how aggressively they approach that change.
Perhaps the most aggressive approach for a site is to simply flood the market with high-quality content. This move–a bona fide blitzkrieg of the market–would make it more difficult for competitors to get their content read, but it also requires a great amount of work.
Simply flooding readers with tons of content that they want to read seems like something too optimistic; if it were truly a viable option, why wouldn’t sites do it more often? But quality keyword research, analytics looking into what readers respond to more positively, and competitor research will help the site to effectively achieve the desired shock and awe effect.
For some, the “shock and awe” approach just isn’t practical. Another way to brace for content shock is to make the content more personal. Part of the appeal of the Internet is that it is a place where information can be easily reached, anonymously. But just as readers are growing tired of the barrage of content coming at them, so too are they tired of the lack of personality that some of the information has. They want to have some sort of interaction with the person whose content they are reading.
Personalizing content encompasses more than just social media; responding to blog comments and email drip campaigns. A social media strategy that is more than just showing you are active can go a long way. Getting people to know you instead of your work will allow you to keep your readers, whereas they might stop reading some of the other websites that they frequent, because they don’t feel any sort of connection.
Finally, Schaefer mentions something far more psychological than desiring human interaction. Sigmund Freud’s “pleasure principle” dictates that humans intrinsically desire to experience pleasure more than anything else. Does that mean your content should become NSFW? No, it means that the focus of your posts should shift to providing fun, moving, and interesting articles.
To think that content shock is some sort of doomsday for moderately successful businesses and sites that rely on content marketing is foolish. It is merely an opportunity to tweak their strategy, and to take stock of just how they do business. The desire for quality posts will always be there, regardless of how many there are. What this indicates is a shift of demand in response to an overabundance of supply.
[This post originally appeared on Visual.ly.]