The Inbound Playbook

How Can Brands Stay Afloat The Rising Tide Of ‘Content Shock’?

16 Nov 2017

It’s almost four years since Mark Schaefer introduced the term ‘Content Shock’ to the world. 

Since then his blog titled, Content Shock: Why content marketing is not a sustainable strategy”, has been receiving mixed reviews from critics and has raised eyebrows of many thought leaders around the globe... 

Some second his ‘content shock’ theory and see ‘content creation’ as a questionable exercise in value; some take it as a natural phenomenon impacted by change and competition, not unique to Content Marketing per se; while others are brushing-off the idea as a mere spin-off on, or a new label for ‘information overload’

In the post Mark Schaefer warns of the impending ‘Content Shock’: The emerging marketing epoch defined when exponentially increasing volumes of content intersect our human capacity to consume it.” 

Simply put; the amount of content produced has become so massive that the total human attention falls short in consuming this ‘vastness’ of content ‘glut’


He believes that, “Every human has a physiological, inviolable limit to the amount of content they can consume”; thus making Content Marketing an un-sustainable approach for most organisations and marketers; and will only function as a ‘private’ playground for the ones with ‘deep pockets’… 

Meaning, the ‘entry barriers’ for marketers to cut through the content ‘noise’ and to make themselves heard to find success, will go through the roof! – Hence the ‘Content Shock’ and the supposed ‘death’ of Content Marketing. 

To start off with; we are without any shred of doubt, overwhelmed with insurmountable amount of content; and whether we call it ‘content shock’, ‘information overload’ or Attention Crash’  - as consumers, we are quite adept at using the tools, filters, apps and search engines to fish out the content we so desire, from the vast ‘ocean’ of content on the internet. 


It’s sellers and marketers, who face the plight of content shock, if you will – especially for those who are trying to enter an already saturated niche where a ‘giant’ of a competitor is already pushing a decade worth of quality content to its target audience. 

One way of competing and making yourself ‘seen’ in this situation is –as Mark says- by emptying your ‘deep’ pockets in exchange for a costly marketing strategy. 

However, money is not the only ‘ticket’ to your marketing success – Here are a few tips by which brands, regardless of their industries, products, audiences and size of their pockets, can ride the tide of ‘content shock’  and make themselves visible: 

1. Create Immersive Content

One sure fire way to stand out from the rest is to capitalise on the latest technological buzz to give your audience a unique brand experience. 

Immersive Content such as VR and 360-degree video on social media are increasingly meeting audiences’ eyeballs on many industry verticals. A recent study claims that people are likely to buy from brands that use ‘Virtual Reality’. 

Take for example how the shoe company Toms uses ‘immersive storytelling’ approach through a Virtual Reality Video, to take viewers to a remote village in Peru; where they could experience a ‘shoe giving’ trip to kids in a school:  

Or take the 360-degree video drive of Mercedes’s latest SL model along the Pacific Coast Highway in California:


While enjoying the drive, the users are also able to look around the car and explore its features. They could look through the sunroof and even see the vast stretch of Pacific Ocean when they glanced towards the right. 

And here’s yet another immersive content from Marriot in the form of ‘VR Teleporters’ which gives passersby  a 4d virtual travel experience of its hotels in major cities and its surroundings. 

In the video below, newlyweds are given virtual honeymoon trips to London and Hawaii through the teleporter, which uses live-action video and a mix of CGI and 4D technologies. 


2. Take The ‘Early-Mover’ Advantage

It’s true that today we are swamped with a colossal amount of content on every known industry, market or idea under the sun. Yet, it’s also true there are tons of markets where content production is ‘half-hearted’ and no one has essentially tapped its full potential – That’s where you should move and claim that ‘Early-mover’ advantage. 

Even though big brands with ‘deep pockets’ or your competitors are on the top of their game; you can always carve a specific niche in that market and establish your name in that space

Or take Instagram and Snapchat for that matter. A few years ago, no one thought these new photo/video sharing apps would amount to anything, other than function as a medium for entertainment for millennials – Today these channels are considered as the most effective medium to base your content strategy on. Instagram is now so popular they recently had to launch an algorithm in order to prioritise updates.

From celebrities, brands to common people, today about 800 million of monthly active users are on the Instagram and 300 million of them are on Snapchat today. Celebrity entrepreneurs like Gary Vaynerchuk is one of such early movers who has successfully carved a profitable niche for him in the Facebook-Video and other social media markets. His show #AskGaryVee Show on Facebook where he interviews experts, celebrities and thought leaders, is watched by millions around the globe: 


3. Engage with Influencers 

In the Content Marketing world today, the ‘cream doesn’t always easily rise to the top’. No matter how brilliant your content, you need some sort of promotional strategy to get your message out there. It could be via emails, blogs, social media, webinars or via the help of ‘influencers’ in your industry. 

It is believed that Just 3% of individuals generate 90% of the impact online!

And guess who these 3% comprise of? Yes, they are the ‘influencers’ - Those celebrated few topic experts, thought leaders, brand advocates, journalists, bloggers, industry analysts and successful entrepreneurs who are in the top of their game; and who possess the capacity to influence your buyers’ decisions

Imagine if expert marketers like Ann Handley tweets a link to one of your blogposts to her 33,000 Twitter followers; and your blog traffic boosts by 1000% in a day – That’s the kind of exposure you will be getting with ‘Influencer marketing’. 

However, to harness that power, you need to be able to build a good rapport with them before any influencer agrees to put in a good word for you. 

One way to start connecting with them is to feature their quotes in your article; or if possible asking them to contribute to your article by answering a few questions; which (link to the article) they’ll be happy to tweet or post as it gives them the incentive. 

You could also follow your influencer’s blog articles and post thought-provoking comments on them to get noticed and start a conversation. If you want to up your game, you can always do a video review of their books and post a link to them; or you could even conduct a podcast or webinar on the topics your chosen Influencer regularly writes about. 


‘Content Shock’ may have increased the competition for content marketers, but in no way has it stifled the possibilities for creative minds to deliver quality content; and bring value to their target audience through innovative and smart content marketing strategies! 

If you'd like further assistance or would like to discuss anything covered today, we'd love to hear from you.

Call Andy Fox (me) on (03) 5249 5570 or email

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