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Opinion: Content Shock is Real, but We Will Be Okay

In early January, marketer and blogger Mark Schaefer presented a reasonable and well-thought-out scenario where content marketing meets an untimely end at the hands of information overload, or content shock.  His article sparked a massive conversation within the content marketing community. The first major buzzword of 2014 was born!  But should we be worried?

Content Shock Inception

It certainly can’t be negated that there’s a lot of content out there.  Case in point: a quick search for the term “content shock Mark Schaefer” will give you hundreds of returns on a phrase that was only just coined last month.  Well done, Internet.

contentshockWe cannot wrap our brains around the current size of the Internet, let alone keep up with its exponential growth.  Trying to imagine the depth and scope of the information available for our instant consumption on the Web—even if you only consider what’s written in English—is unfathomable. It’s like sitting on a beach and trying to imagine how many grains of sand there are in the world.  At some point your brain just says, “Nope. Google it.” (By the way, there are roughly seven quintillion, five hundred quadrillion grains just on beaches.)

Users Feel Frustrated When They’re Given Trash

But with all of the content being pumped out by bloggers and marketers by the second, it’s safe to say that the general feel of trying to find good content is like sifting through dirt to hopefully find some gold nuggets.  So the question is not, “Is content shock real?”  The question we should be asking is, “How will we overcome it?”

[Tweet “Quality content will stand the test of Google, and the test of content shock.”]

Internet users as a whole have learned that we have to pick and choose what content we read.  Our time and interests are limited, after all, and we generally despise wasting time on articles that turn out to be advertising garbage.  But therein lies the solution. Stop spouting garbage. Start investing in quality.

Content shock is a natural step in the evolutionary process of the Internet.  If bad content is like dinosaurs, then content shock is the asteroid. The content mills had their fun, but it could not be sustained indefinitely. We also can’t forget that Google will keep fine-tuning itself to ensure that the garbage is kept on search page 53. Quality content will stand the test of Google, and the test of content shock.

shutterstock_92150338It’s Time to Evolve

The fact of the matter is that almost every industry evolves. They have to, because industries are based on fulfilling the needs of consumers.  As the needs of consumers evolve over time, marketers have always kept pace, doing what needs to be done in order to stand out from the crowd and catch their target market’s interest.

Content shock may pose a threat to some of today’s content marketing methods, but as with every industry, the marketers who truly understand their audience and respond to its needs will be successful. If you don’t evolve, your business might just end up going the way of the dinosaurs.

About the author

Victoria Castrillo