The notion of “content shock” is that consumers have a finite number of minutes they can dedicate to consuming content, and as the odds of your
content being found and read or viewed diminish, the cost of producing that content becomes untenable.
I don’t buy the idea of content shock for a lot of reasons, many of which I articulated here
. One of the points I make in this post is that few content marketers are trying to get everybody to read their posts. We target niches, where people who have an interest in our content will be more likely to find it.
In arguing that content shock is inevitable, one commenter to a Content Marketing Institute post
said that the fact good content targets niches doesn’t matter. Filip Galetic wrote:
People still have only 24 hours a day to spend on activities, and content is competing not just with content about the same niche, neither with just the content about OTHER niches (as people typically have more than one interest), but also social activities, work, sport, hobbies and a multitude of other ways people spend their time.
A niche, however, can be a powerful thing. Consider the very targeted niche of bank customers seeking customer service. NatWest, a British bank, identified questions being asked via Twitter over and over again. Rather than type in a response for each iteration of the same question, the bank (working with its ad agency) created six-second Vine videos that provide the solution, such as this one:
The process here is one content marketers should consider carefully. A customer asked a specific question and the company responded with ready-to-share content that took the customer all of six seconds to consume. I don’t care if the customer had reached his allotted time for content consumption; he would take six seconds to solve his problem.
(Hat tip to the Twitter Advertising Blog
for reporting the NatWest case study.)
Warby Parker is taking the idea to an even farther extreme. The online vision-wear company is responding to individual email questions with video responses, emailing the video back to the customer. The customer is bound to watch the video—it contains the answer to their query, after all. But Warby Parker has also found that its video replies are circulated about 80 times.
In a Mobile Marketer
article, RSS Research managing partner Steve Rowen says:
How clever is that? You’re taking what was a problem, you made the customer (pleased), and they’ve gone out an on average shared it with 80 people. So now the word spreads very quickly that you’re really good with customer service.
Those 80 shares are most likely viewed since they come via email from a trusted source rather than from yet another email marketer. And they’re very likely viewed even if the email arrives after they recipient has decided they’ve had all the content they can take for one day.
Warby Parker doesn’t use just email, though. Like NatWest, they respond to tweets by sharing a link to the video on YouTube. For example:
By no stretch of the imagination can this be seen as slick, overproduced content; nor does it require deep pockets or big budgets. What it does require is engaged employees who create and share the content. But for the few minutes it took to record, upload and respond, this one under-a-minute video produced about 200 views. More importantly, it contributes, along with similar video responses and other content, to building a sparkling customer service reputation.
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If you can apply thinking like this, content shock will remain a myth you can let others worry about.
Shel Holtz is principal of Holtz Communication + Technology. A version of this story first appeared on his blog a shel of my former self.