The phrase “Content Shock” sounds like a title for a bad movie. One in which a rouge robot with artificial intelligence, named Artie, takes over a power grid with the plan to create an electromagnetic shock that will destroy all modern technological devices. Artie thinks that technology causes humanity’s current state of unhappiness, thus his plan to use an electromagnetic shock would ultimately make humanity more content. It is a content shock. Get it?
Ridiculous movie plots aside; "Content Shock" is a real term. A term coined by Mark Schaefer earlier this year, in this article, "Content Shock is an emerging marketing epoch defined when exponentially increasing volumes of content intersect our limited human capacity to consume it.” Basically, as more and more content becomes available to consumers there is a point in the future where that amount will surpass our ability to consume it.
Schaefer’s "Content Shock" sent waves through the content marketing community. Though a bit dramatic, particularly his claim that we are on a content marketing cliff, he does make a couple of valid points. I will readily admit that there is a lot of content available on the Internet; most of it is not so good and some of it very good. I also think it is safe to assume that large corporations will naturally garner more attention than the small guys.
But are we Facing a Content Cliff? Is This The End of Content Marketing?
We cannot deny that an over saturation of content is inevitable and it will be impossible in the near future to consume it all. It’s already pretty difficult to keep up with news stories, blogs, print media, and the massive amount of other sources of content. Sure, technology will compensate by providing new apps or devices to help consumers manage the massive amount of content available. But I fear, like Schaefer, that we are approaching a point where it will be beyond our human capacity to actively engage with even 10% of all created content. This is where the quality of content is going makes a difference.
Mass Content vs. Enterprise Content
When it comes to types of content, particularly on the Internet, I like to divide content into two different categories, Mass Content and Enterprise Content. Mass Content is exactly what it sounds like; it’s mass-produced and has very little cultural or economic value. It is the "Jersey Shore" or "Basketball Wives" of TV, content that doesn't do anything beside distract and confuse. While on the other hand there is what I call Enterprise Content. Not only is this content interesting and worth reading, it also creates a fan base and brings in leads that can be turned into sales. Unlike Mass Content, which aims to distract, good Enterprise Content educates and informs.
Enterprise Content is knowledge that not only resonates with consumers but also sells. Essentially it is a way to ensure consumers continue to pay attention to your brand. [inlinetweet prefix="null" tweeter="null" suffix="via @bizonmarketst"]David Ogilvy had it right when he said, “If it doesn’t sell, it isn’t creative.”[/inlinetweet] To overcome "Content Shock," we as marketers must continue to create high quality and engaging content.