Don’t Let Content Shock Zap Your Practice

Every day, 92,000 articles are posted to the Web, 144,000 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube and 1.8 billion photos are shared. That is one whole heckuva lot of content and it’s only going to grow. According to the latest forecast from Cisco, global Internet traffic will increase three-fold over the next 5 years, reaching 1.6 zettabytes — 1.6 trillion gigabytes — per year.

Those are some shocking numbers, so much so that that they’ve even given rise to a term to describe the phenomenon: Content shock, which originator Mark Schaefer defines as:

The emerging marketing epoch defined when exponentially increasing volumes of content intersect our limited human capacity to consume it.

It’s basically supply and demand for the digital age: The amount of content (supply) is rapidly outpacing the amount that people can consume (demand). The upshot isn’t lower prices, however, but rather, the devaluation of every bit of content that goes unseen.

So how do you avoid that fate? According to digital marketing expert Dan Dark, the first step is to recognize that every piece of content you produce should be driven by two goals: Yours and your audience’s:

Marketing Goals include getting visitors to your website, getting them to convert (by watching videos, downloading articles, etc.), boosting your name recognition, etc.

Audience Goals include gathering information, resolving questions, getting a better sense about your practice philosophy and core values.

Focusing on the latter, says Dark, will help you determine how to approach the former to create what he calls High-Impact Content:

This is where high-impact content – content that has more investment in time and money in the creation, and which is more targeted and offers a clearer message – comes into play. These are videos, blogs, pictures, essays and graphics that are not about just about engaging, but also about activating your audience.

It is content that is memorable, shareable, supports your practice values and, most important, tries to resolve site visitors’ issues and concerns instead of trying to sell them products and procedures. Factor in people’s increasing immunity to sales pitches and the constant content-parsing tinkering from search engines and social networks, and the upshot is inescapable: Create high-impact content or you’ll have no impact at all.

As Dark puts it,

The overarching trend in all user-experience changes across all major platforms is to give the people more of what they want to see and less of everything else – including branded content… Good high-impact content is about sharing and educating your audience and less about marketing to them.

We’ll look at some of the ways to boost the impact of your content in subsequent posts.

About Rob Lovitt

Rob Lovitt is a longtime writer and editor who believes every good business has a great story to tell. He has written for dozens of magazines and websites, including NBCnews.com, Expedia.com and the inflight magazines of Alaska, Horizon and Frontier airlines.

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