This post will demonstrate in simple economic terms why content marketing — the hottest marketing trend around — may not be a sustainable strategy for many businesses.
Like any good discussion on economics, this is rooted in the very simple concept of supply and demand. When supply exceeds demand, prices fall. But in the world of content marketing, the prices cannot fall because the “price” of the content is already zero — we give it away for free. So, to get people to consume our content, we actually have to pay them to do it, and as the supply of content explodes, we will have to pay our customers increasing amounts to the point where it is not feasible any more.
There is no controversy and there is no problem, quite frankly. Business evolves. The content marketing ideas that worked three years ago may not work now. That should be no surprise to any one, given the rapid rate of change in our business.
The challenge in all of this is to think critically and be aware of the changes in your business. Don’t keep doing something because that’s what you did last year. Consider new strategies focused not just on content but on content ignition — the economic value of content that is not seen and shared is zero. Consider the dramatic changes in content forms, distribution, and evolving roles of the social media platforms.
Mark Schaefers original post about content shock got a huge response from the blogosphere. In this post, he addresses the six common themes of those against the concept.
This harsh reality is confirmed by Buzzsumos analysis of 1m articles in a research project with Moz. They found that 50% of articles get 8 shares or less and even fewer links. No two ways about it, that’s tough.They take a detailed look at the issue of content shock, why content fails and what you can do to improve your odds.
Ultimately, the equation is the same as it always has been: Quality content will win, regardless of how deep the pockets of the company producing it. That quality content will spread more quickly given the application of savvy social marketing techniques.
But the capacity for consuming content will continue unabated regardless of the amount of content available. For most people — as evidenced by the Northwestern study — it’s as simple as this: I can stand all the quality content you can throw at me, as long as it’s about the stuff I’m interested in.
The information age is arriving at its natural conclusion and we’re all drowning in it. In 2015, Gartner’s “Hype Cycle” moved content marketing into the “trough of disillusionment” phase. With good reason — it’s getting harder and harder to get results with content marketing.
What Can Marketers Do?
“In principle, I agree with much of what Mark Schaefer said about the massive increases in the volume of content, but at this point in time, I don’t see any market space that’s particularly crowded. With the right creativity, drive, and focus, there remain many possible paths to content marketing success in nearly any industry.”
If you haven’t yet heard of ‘content shock’ then you may be an unknowing victim of its effects. Here is what you need to know about it – and how you can avoid it.
Content shock doesn’t get as much attention as it should because, well – it’s scary. It means change. It means strategizing in new ways. It means looking at our content marketing strategies with fresh, unbiased eyes. That’s a hard thing to make ourselves do.
So let’s get real. How is content shock really affecting your brand and your content marketing strategy? How can you adapt to the times without throwing out the entire content marketing playbook?