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Is 'content shock' real?

The sheer volume of content available on the internet is fast becoming overwhelming for consumers: a phenomenon that has been colloquially dubbed 'content shock'. But just how serious is the issue?

Signals indicate that the reach of brands on Facebook and other popular social media channels is declining to the point that companies are beginning to reconsider their strategies for producing and sharing content. A recent study by BuzzSumo found that half of selected posts from respected content destinations (including the likes of Buffer, Copyblogger and MOZ) received eight or fewer shares, illustrating that even the most popular sites are not immune to this precipitous drop in social shares.

In short, audiences are experiencing fatigue due to the vast amounts of content at their disposal – and the days of creating a high-quality piece of content, sharing it on social media and expecting it to go viral are over. Companies need to understand that, as marketing consultant Mark Schaefer puts it, "great content alone does not 'rise to the top'. Great content alone is no longer the finish line. It is the starting line. The answer is not in simply producing more content, or even better content. It requires a new focus."

The reality remains that great content is only valuable if it is actually seen and engaged with – ultimately contributing toward greater brand awareness, advocacy and, of course, conversions. The salient point for brands, therefore, is to ensure that content is not simply being generated as a box-ticking exercise – but rather conceived within a strategic framework constructed around clear business objectives.

In practice, this means that rather than simple producing large volumes of content 'for the sake of it', brands should focus on using smart technology to build strong, data-informed audience profiles, identify the needs and interests of their customer segments at each stage of the purchase journey, and then serve highly relevant, targeted content at the appropriate touch points. By presenting customers with fewer (but more relevant, personalised and timely) pieces of content, business can avoid the pitfalls of so-called content shock.

Swiss design company Vitra AG is using censhare software to effectively deploy marketing campaigns across multiple channels and touch points, for a better customer experience. To find out more, take a look at our Vitra case study.