Content shock, an idea set forth by Mark Schaefer, executive director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions, is the idea that the amount of content being created surpasses the human capacity to consume it all. In short, there is too much content for everyone to absorb.
Anyone connected to a digital world gets inundated with social media, blogs, videos, and other online content. They can’t keep up and ignore most content as a result. This makes it harder for companies to be seen, heard, and followed. As a business, you can see the impact of the content shock in very concrete terms: lower click-through rates, higher bounce rates, and fewer conversions.
To combat the glut of content and find an audience who converts, you need a strategy. Here are five ways to deal with content shock in your online marketing efforts.
Think of Your Customer First
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To attract attention and engagement with your online marketing, you have to think about the customer’s needs first. Every piece of content you create — on social media or on your own website — should be useful (or helpful) or offer a positive payoff. You want to:
- Answer their questions.
- Solve their problems.
- Make them feel something good.
If your audience comes to expect a positive payoff when they give you their time, they’re likely to come back more often. When you provide something they need, even if they aren’t aware of it at first, you’ve established a connection. By consistently delivering good information and content, trust builds and leads convert into customers and clients.
Don’t Worry About Reaching Everyone
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Not every business can be an international brand with massive appeal. Nor should you try, unless you have the marketing budget of a large, international brand. With only so many resources available, it’s more important to find your niche and focus on your ideal customer. When you try to reach a broad audience, you risk watering down your message and creating bland, boring content that no one cares about.
Instead, create detailed profiles of your ideal customers, including income, likes, hobbies, and what you imagine their life might look like. Are they married? Do they have a demanding job? With those in mind, make sure your content speaks directly to those profiles. As a result, you’re more likely to reach your ideal customer. Targeted content converts better, in part, because your audience can relate to it.
Focus Your Online Marketing Efforts
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As a company, it’s important to establish a presence in multiple places, most importantly your website and social media platforms where your target audience spends their time. But trying to be everywhere and create conversations with your audience in different places stretches your resources thin and prevents meaningful growth and engagement.
Focus your online marketing on a single platform using shareable content that fits with your product or service. Spend time and effort to tell a story that people care about and can engage with. You’ll want to:
- Show live videos or “Stories” featuring some quirky, funny, or even heart-touching parts of your business.
- Use images featuring places, situations, or feelings your product produces for people, such as the relaxation you’ll feel when your content marketing problem gets solved.
- Create infographics of interesting stats and facts that relate directly or indirectly with your industry.
The point is to become known for something that people enjoy. If they can share it with their own spheres, even better.
Embrace User-Generated Content
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User-generated content is, as the name suggests, content made by users. In this case, it’s the content that your happy and satisfied customers create for you. User-generated content tends to be more popular; it’s shared and viewed more often than your brand’s content. It’s effective because it offers social proof that your product or service works for people and that they’re happy with you.
Content created by your customers most often comes in the form of testimonials or reviews, but those aren’t your only options. Combine your content plan with your chosen social media platform, and you’ll increase your followers and their engagement even more. You can ask your customers to create all kinds of content on your behalf, including:
- Videos of products being opened or used
- Pictures of your product and a specific hashtag
- Contests featuring user-generated content — what they would do if they won, why they deserve to win, content featuring your product, etc.
Make sure to engage with your customers as much as possible when they participate. Like, share, comment, retweet, and/or mention them so they know you’re paying attention.
Work With Bigger Brands or Well-Known Figures
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One option to bring your message to more people in a new and interesting way is to work with brands, names, and companies on a project of mutual interest. You can hire a spokesperson which may be outside of your budget, or you can partner with another brand on a project that provides publicity to you both.
This is especially powerful if your business or brand is involved in or wants to become involved with meaningful causes or local charities. Is there an issue your brand is passionate about? Refugees, the environment, homeless vets, or mental health — whatever it is, you can partner with a bigger brand or name to make an impact and reach a broader audience.
You won’t directly market your business in the same way a blog post or landing page might, but you’ll promote yourself and a cause you’re passionate about. Working with a big name can lead to more press and attention that you won’t generate on your own.
If content shock exists, and there is definite pushback on the idea, it’s an effect of meaningless, unhelpful content. Focusing your efforts and creating content that helps someone, whether a customer or a larger cause, that’s interesting to the people consuming it will always get more attention. And remember, you don’t need everyone’s attention. You only need the attention of people who are willing to spend money with you and who find your content useful and interesting.