Imagine if a brand regularly involved their customers and community in content creation and the inspiration to share and engage that would result. Focus a lot more on promoting and sharing your content. Ask your audience what they want. You also need to stand out as a brand. Secondly, spend less time creating more content and more time creating compelling content that addresses a subject like no other piece of content on that topic has thus far. These will future-proof your marketing. This can come in the form of media outreach, influencer marketing, and native advertising via social, email, programmatic, and editorial.” – Co-founder and VP of Audience Ron Sela “To future proof content, you should always ask yourself four questions while creating or reviewing the content. Additionally, visuals are important in the next stage of social media and content marketing. Think better content. Bring together data about your content, your customers or users, and your business to inform your content strategy now and evolve or optimize it over time.
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Two years ago, well-known blogger Mark Schaefer coined the term “content shock” to describe an inevitable reality in the digital marketing world: too much content and not enough time to consume all of it.
Using simple economic terms, he argued that the “supply” of web content is doubling every nine to 24 months, while “demand”—which is Internet users’ ability to consume content—is finite. Even if mobile devices have allowed us to increase media usage to 12 hours and nine minutes per day, there’s only so much texting and tweeting we can do during the wee hours of the night.
Content creators have known for a while now that a big problem has been looming on the horizon. But much like climate change deniers, some were hoping the uncomfortable truth would go away and that, somehow, the possibilities of content creation would be limitless.
They were wrong.
Content shock is a real thing, and it’s already here. (highlight to tweet) Nowadays, it’s no longer enough to produce “great content”—you have to give it legs through a combination of factors, such as influencer marketing, brand development, and social proof.
And even then, it can fail to return the expected results. Take a look, for example, at how the average shares per content item published on authoritative sites such as Buffer, Copyblogger, and Social Media Examiner steadily decreased over the course of 2015.
Meanwhile, the smartest content creators out there are busy figuring out how to find untapped content niches and, in Schaefer’s words, “igniting” content so it “rises to the top.”
Insights from Top Content Marketers
At Visme, we were so intrigued by the challenge posed by content shock that we reached out to 43 top content marketers and social media influencers and asked them: What’s your best advice for future proofing your content strategy against “content shock” and “content fatigue”?
Here is what they had to say in their own words. Influencers’ complete answers can be viewed in the e-book below, and for those who would rather skim through their most actionable advice, tweetable quote cards are provided in the next section.
“It is a continuous process. It means keeping an eye on emerging content trends and networks that are cutting through the growing noise and clutter. The fast changing social and mobile web demands it. That means testing emerging networks and content like Snapchat, Instagram stories, and live streaming. What worked last year doesn’t mean it will work today. The use of ‘Artificial Intelligence’ and marketing automation will also become vital to scaling and measuring your marketing effectiveness.”
“The overabundance of content that gets ignored is an issue for marketers that don’t differentiate or engage their audience to participate in content creation. Imagine if a brand regularly involved their customers and community in content creation and the inspiration to share and engage that would result. Co-creating content with customers and a community that shares values and interest with the brand is powerful and sustainable content that stands out and energizes all involved.”
“The best way to protect against future content shock and content fatigue is to utilize your content to build up your own content delivery networks. If you imagine being able to create a piece of content and then being able to put this content in the hands of potentially hundreds of thousands of interested audience members, this can be achieved by building up your own active social media followings, by building up your email lists, and by becoming a perceived leader in your niche, at least in the eyes of your audience. By doing this you not only create an active marketplace for your products or services—you also build up something that helps guarantee you remain relevant and active in the eyes of your audience.”
There are a few things that businesses can do to buffer against the sheer volume of content online:
- Create quality content that helps your audience solve a problem. Write content that makes a difference for them and be consistent. Consistency trumps many things.
- Focus on “core content”—this is content that is quality and lives on your website, podcast, or video blog. Try to create at least one quality piece of core content every week.
- Focus a lot more on promoting and sharing your content. Creating the content is just the beginning. You should be building followers and engagement on at least one or two key social platforms with systems in place to share content that drives people back to a platform that you own. Create micro-content on other platforms by all means, or use live video to engage followers, but keep your core content on your website where it is not controlled by another platform.
- Learn to love ads. Use them to promote your core content. Algorithms are not going away, and now is the time to get savvy with advertising on Facebook.
- Ask your audience what they want. Run surveys, or ask in your pages or groups. The more you know about their needs, the better content you can create that catches attention and gets them to take action.
“Put in more work and effort than you think your competition would be able to justify. If you can produce something that has your competitors’ visual team throwing up their hands and saying, ‘We don’t have that kind of time or money!,’ you’ve found a way to stand out.”
– Founder of Moz
“Take a complicated idea, and present it in a clear way. The value of visual media is to make it easier/quicker to understand what you’re trying to communicate, not to be an infographic version of a blog post.”
– Co-Founder of Web Profits
“My strategy for next year is to (a) create even more content and (b) repurpose/pay to promote the best performers like crazy. The result is that you get both higher quantity, because you’re trying out so many new pieces, and higher quality, because you’re getting much more mileage from the top performing pieces.”
“Content is becoming more visual and interactive with the use of video, which removes considerable risk of any fatigue. As long as we continue letting the audience participate in shaping the content, I don’t think there will be fatigue. We feed off of their responses and feedback, which helps us come up with new and innovative content, whereas traditional mediums previously used did not allow for this interaction, so it’s easy to see why people would get tired of advertisements.”
– Founder of Due
“You can cut through the noise if you’re adding value, not more noise. You also need to stand out as a brand. There’s so much poor quality visual content out there. Write better content than anyone else. If you’re not, then you can’t stand out!”
“The best you can do is… well, the best you can do. You can’t future-proof your content, but you can become a great content marketer by locking into your audience’s wants and needs and consistently delivering content that educates, entertains, and inspires them. Obviously, you can’t slow down the fire hose that sprays content online every minute, but you can commit to creating and publishing more useful content, optimizing it for search, and stepping up your distribution in the channels where your ideal audience plays ball.”
“Content fatigue has actually been around for sometime. In Japan, they have been saying this since 1998. It’s simply supply and demand. The only way to future-proof your content strategy, then, is to have a data-driven approach. Tweak your content publishing frequency and content according to how your fans engage with your visual content. It sounds simple, but marketing departments tend to want to push content and stick to editorial calendars without having an adaptive approach, which is especially important with visual social.”
“Nothing could be further from the truth. Content strategy is an iterative process. It can and should be reviewed at least biannually, preferably quarterly. That’s how you future-proof it. By continual evaluation, now and in the future.”
“Build a solid base of trusted connections! Your fans will never get bored of your content if you continue to create quality stuff.
The best part? They will happily share it for you. When that happens, it has much greater chance of being opened and shared by others because it isn’t deemed as promotional content from the brand itself.
These people may then turn into fans, and the cycle continues . . .”
“To avoid content shock and fatigue, create content on topics your audience genuinely cares about. Spend more time searching for high-quality topics to explore with your content that directly impact your customer base in a meaningful way, like solving a problem, disputing a common myth, entertaining them, etc.
Secondly, spend less time creating more content and more time creating compelling content that addresses a subject like no other piece of content on that topic has thus far. Review the search results on the subject you’re covering, and identify how to dive into the same subject in more impactful ways than existing resources already ranking from competitors and others.”
“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. There probably won’t be a time when your audience is tired of content that’s too…