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What Is Content Shock and How Can You Avoid It?

Whether you call it content shock, content blindness or content fatigue, we’re all growing weary, or perhaps unfazed by, content marketing.

Firstly, what is content shock?

Defined by Mark Schaefer, way back in 2014, content shock is:

“The emerging marketing epoch defined when exponentially increasing volumes of content intersect our limited human capacity to consume it.”

Source: Businesses Grow

In its simplest terms, there is so much “stuff” on the Internet that we’re no longer able to consume it, even when focused on a particular subject.

As content marketing grows, people’s ability to take it all in hasn’t – and never will – until robots take over, of course...

Statistics reveal that the rate at which content is produced and published is doubling every 9 to 24 months, meaning that it has become an impossible feat to consume.

In fact, if other findings are to be believed, 60% of content produced is dull and irrelevant to its target readers. Alternatively, we’d argue that the majority of online content is written without a target audience in mind – automatically making it irrelevant.

Where does this leave content marketers?

Over the years there have been experiments with producing various long-form content types, plus video and audio content, but one thing we’re confident about is that content marketing will remain in its written form for some time to come.

Why? It’s much easier to consume, in terms of the ability to skim-read, in comparison to multi-media formats.

Digital formats of sharing the written word – GIFs and infographics – allow for even speedier ways to digest written communications.

In fact, there are a number of recent studies that suggest the written word beats video for millennials:

“42 percent of adults aged 18 to 29 prefer reading the news, compared to 38 percent who prefer watching it and 19 percent who prefer listening to it.”

Source: Pew Research Center via Contently

You need to know who you’re speaking to, why you’re speaking to them and most importantly, why they want to hear what you have to say – and why they want to hear it from you as opposed to someone else online.

How to avoid content shock 

Target your buyer personas

“Readers are looking for quality content that actually meets their needs and engages them. So as long as you are doing that consistently and distributing through the right channels, your audience will be able to find it and consume it.”

John Hall, Co-founder and CEO of Influence & Co (Source)

Solve problems

“Create quality content that helps your audience solve a problem. Write content that makes a difference for them and be consistent.”

Donna Moritz, Social Media Strategist (Source)

Do as they expect of you

“Lock in our audience’s wants and needs and consistently deliver content that educates, entertains and inspires them.”

Barry Feldman, Founder of Feldman Creative (Source)

Quality over quantity

“Write better content than anyone else. If you’re not, then you can’t stand out.”

Ian Clear, Founder of RazorSocial (Source)

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