What content shock means for influencer relations

Mark Schaefer coined the phrase content shock to describe the situation where content marketers produce so much volume that people can’t consume it. Last week I heard three leading professionals speak at a Techmap event to discuss implications for content marketers.

Emily Turner described the evolution of content over the last 20 years, from static repositories in the 1990s to interactive content development driven by readers’ direct input. On the basis of this experience, it’s possible to develop better ideas about what content to develop. Now data helps us to build personas about our customers. Often organisations need to insulate their social media teams from the company to allow them to focus on customers, spreading from social and online ads to email and direct interactions that eventually generate reviews and endorsement. Entrepreneurs like Social Chain produce parodies that can help content go viral.
Content is shared for different reasons:

  • bring value – enrich
  • define ourselves – reinforce
  • grow relationships – connect
  • show we care – support
  • find meaning in life – discovery.

Using these approaches can help brands to develop. OneDirection had no music for a year: they made their fans find hidden recordings. Bieber’s fans earn a virtual currency for engagement, which buys experiences. These approaches require broad skills, and life-long learning, from influencers.

Doug Kessler, co-founder of Velocity Partners, examined the idea that content marketing is not a sustainable strategy. Charts where lines cross help structure rhetoric, and Mark’s article which advanced the content shock idea has a chart that outlines the idea that it’s uneconomical to write. Since Gutenberg, we have had the issue that there’s more stuff to read than one could actually read. However, now most people don’t have even an overview of what in being written in their areas of interest because of the uneven granularity, change and quality. That said, content is not fungible. A supply chain manager has granular, specific needs and there is less competition for her or his attention because here are fewer content producers looking for fewer eyeballs: Justin Beiber is not fighting you if you are in a niche. Also, dynamic markets mean that new content is highly valued. Quality is essential: readers can tell the difference between strong and weak content.

Compelling content is needed: you can’t copy what others do and beat them. Desired outcomes build cumulatively. Home-runs create higher and higher spikes, because people will come back in higher and higher value to content that suggests brand quality. Good content, therefore:

  • attractively projects success
  • signals expertise and experience
  • is honest, and
  • grabs attention.

What does this mean for influencer relations professionals? Stay in your sweet spot: not just what you know, but also what your prospects care about. More challengingly, be emotional in the right way for B2B, which is by understanding what it feels like to be doing the work and in the client’s shoes.

Duncan Chapple

Duncan Chapple is the preeminent consultant on optimising international analyst relations and the value created by analyst firms. As SageCircle research director, Chapple directs programs that assess and increase the business value of relationships with industry analysts and sourcing advisors.