In this new world of content shock, it’s more important than ever to keep afloat. Here’s our tips on how to survive the oncoming content congestion.

“Never before have so many people with so little to say said so much to so few.”

This playful interpretation of a famous Churchill saying hits on a truth that we’ve all recently experienced as consumers. A feeling of being completely overwhelmed by choice of content – and not always good content – which is vying for our limited amount of attention. This phenomenon already has a catchy name ‘content shock’

By every measure, we’re drowning in content. A proliferation of publishers over the last decade has every channel overflowing with media; great for consumers, not so good for your brand. In this new world of content saturation, it’s more important than ever to keep afloat.

Pop quiz: did you know that 24 posts are published on WordPress sites around the world every second? That’s a staggering 83.6 million new posts a month. But it hasn’t always been this way. A quick glance at the graph below shows the explosion of content that we’ve witnessed over the last 10 years.

The number of posts published from blogs hosted on WordPress since 2006

The number of posts published from blogs hosted on WordPress since 2006 

As the volume of content published continues to increase, new topic areas get rapidly saturated. For many brands, their category is fast ‘filling up’. So, what can be done? Here’s a few lifelines to help your brand survive this new oncoming glut:

1. Invest in original, authoritative content

According to recent research from BuzzSumo, 70% of content published now gets zero backlinks, meaning most sites are missing a key factor in ranking highly in search engines. However, sites that have built a strong reputation for original, authoritative content continue to earn links. So, don’t make your blog all-things to all-people, but focus on topics on which you can provide real insight and have something genuinely valuable to say. That may also mean creating less, but higher quality output.

2. Keep the customer in mind

Before you produce any content, think about what the consumer is seeking to do and how your brand can help. Map out key opportunities at each stage of the customer journey and think about how your content can be relevant and helpful. If you haven’t already, create target personas of your key audiences and write an editorial mission statement to keep all of your content focused.

3. Give up the clickbait

Clickbait style headlines and listicles are far less effective at generating social engagement than they once were. Most users have been overexposed to sensational titles like ’21 pictures that will shock you’ or ‘5 things you should never do’. So don’t go chasing shares with hyperbolic headlines, as you may end up alienating your audience.

Content shock quote

4. Don’t rely on organic shares

Due to Facebook algorithm changes and increased competition, social sharing of content has been cut in half since 2015. This has led to a sharp decline in highly sought-after viral posts that gain hundreds of thousands of shares. The hope of creating content for it to spread ‘naturally’ is now effectively wasted money. Be willing to invest in paid promotion to give your content a much-needed boost.

5. Use new formats and neglected channels

If there are key channels where your competitors aren’t, then consider making a land-grab to your advantage. For example, becoming the first in your market to have a killer YouTube channel could quickly build your audience and put you in a leading position. But beware of overlooking channels in search of ‘shiny’ new ones. For example, email is often neglected but consistently produces good ROI.

As seminal thinker Mark Schaefer puts it: “How and when the “content shock” occurs will vary greatly by business, by industry, by content saturation in a niche, by a lot of other factors. For some the crunch might be years away, for some it is happening now.” The question is, how do you plan on cutting through the content congestion?

If you would like some advice on how to start planning your brand’s strategy to combat content shock, get in touch with Joe Johnston on 0117 9270100 or email him at joe.johnston@saintnicks.uk.com.