It’s been about five years since the concept of content shock was written and caused content marketers to take pause and think about the direction they were going. Have you ever stopped to think about just how much content goes up on the web every day?
Let’s take a look at the latest numbers we could find. According to HostingFacts.com:
4 million blog posts are added to the net every day.
95 million photos and videos are shared to Instagram daily.
500 million tweets are sent every day.
If you didn’t believe we were undergoing content shock before, this should convince you. Content shock is a term that describes the feeling we get when faced with so much new content coming at us at such a rapid pace that we can’t keep up. Content shock is the reason why so many companies are turning to AI solutions like CONCURED to analyze the state of their markets. There is no way even a small army of people could keep up with everything, study it, and come up with an actionable report.
In the face of this reality, how do you even begin to get noticed? It’s a loud and constant roar out there. We depend on search engines, news outlets, curators, and social media to pull the most important messages out but they certainly aren’t guaranteed to pull your pieces out from all the rest. How do you cut through content shock so that your audience actually sees what you have to say?
The answer is not by writing more. That’s absurd, though many companies do it because of a perceived SEO benefit or a fear that their audience will wander away without a constant stream of new content from your brand.
It’s not even about writing better. The original author of the content shock idea says that there are just too many excellent and amazing writers making content out there that it’s not sufficient to just make better content to break through into your audience’s minds. He suggests using content shock as an offensive strategy by finding niches that don’t have much content and flooding it with helpful, high-quality content before your competition has a chance to respond.
Content intelligence tools like CONCURED can help with this. For instance, our tool can analyze your niche to find keywords that your competition is using but you aren’t so you can fill in the gap. It can also analyze what your audience is interested in so you can craft better content for what is at the top of their minds.
For the B2B market, content that brings brand awareness is the true king. Businesses struggle to find heuristics that enable them to decide what is worth paying attention to. Traditionally, this was done through advertising and promotion, but ad-blocking is a regular occurrence now. Content marketing can pick up the slack if you can provide enough value to garner their attention often enough for your brand to sink into their mind.
Building brand awareness is the first step that causes all other B2B marketing to work. So how can you approach this through content marketing and still avoid content shock? First, your content needs a balance of consistency and relevance to your audience. You still need to write often enough that your audience has a reason to come back to your website so they can get exposure to your brand. How often that is will depend on your brand, but a good starting point for B2B is once a week.
Second, it has to be valuable enough for your audience to make them remember what you said. Successful content makes the reader feel like they got something valuable in return for their attention. This doesn’t necessarily have to be “evergreen” content. Few things in business ever stay permanent for too long. A timely article about a current trend in your market is just as good.
Third, your company values need to be expressed through your writing. The information will draw readers in but two companies writing the same information doesn’t make people choose one brand over another. It’s the emotions they’re left with after reading a piece or three that will make your brand stand out. That doesn’t mean you can give bad info. It’s just that good info isn’t sufficient to build strong brand awareness.
A good example of this is the writing at Velocity Partners. They write in a very punchy, and sometimes even a vulgar, style on their pieces. That candor is likely off-putting to a segment of their market, but it makes them even more attractive to a different segment. It’s no question they have a passion for content marketing, but the way that it is expressed sets them apart. They have a voice that sticks in the mind.
Finally, the content has to be aimed at niches and ideas in your market that aren’t already oversaturated with content. Unless you have something that’s completely revolutionary and you have the promotional chops to get that noticed, you’ll want to stay away from the keyword areas where everyone is already shouting. If you can sneak your content into a related keyword set for your audience and control it before your competition does, you’ll have a strong advantage both for brand awareness and for SEO on those terms.
Content shock isn’t going to go away. It may come and go in cycles as marketing channels rise and fall in popularity, but it’s so easy to add content and so many people adding content to the web that it’s a business reality that marketers must cope with. For the B2B arena, our most important task as content marketers is to ensure that awareness of our brands isn’t drowned out by all the noise. By targeting our content to niches that aren’t oversaturated and providing relevant, regular information to readers that reflect your company’s voice, you can navigate through the cacophony and still get noticed.
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