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  • By Izzy House

Death by content

Marketing is like surfing in the ocean. The medium shifts and moves like the tide. If you catch the wave just right, you can get an awesome and successful ride. Catch the wave too early and you just sit there. Catch it too late, it crushes and drowns you as it makes its way to the shore.

Recent history has seen several waves of media. These have included newspapers, radio, TV, magazine, internet, social media, and will include whatever the next thing will be. It has always been the (lucky, talented, fortunate, wealthy) few that has learned how to catch the trends just right. As everyone else clamors to join the movement, the pressure builds. With too much momentum and content, the wave tips and crashes on the shore. The successful surfers learn how to pick up their board and go back out for the next wave. The unlucky ones are dashed to bits.

This can be considered content shock. Mark Schaefer first coined the phrase in his article, Content Shock: Why content marketing is not a sustainable strategy. In his article, he discusses how we get to a point where we have to work harder to be heard and pay more for the privilege. His concern is that people have a finite capacity and can absorb only so much content. As we reach this limit, the cost of doing business increases dramatically. This becomes an unsustainable business model for most.

We have seen this happen many times. For example, how insane did Super Bowl TV ads get? Do you remember how many ads were on TV before streaming came along? It was responsible for 1/3 of our viewing. I don’t know if this is the current television practice because I have quit watching it. Radio got just as stupid. It would feel like for every few minutes of programming, there would be ten minutes of commercials. Again, I do not listen anymore. Just like me, the audiences have escaped.

Some argued that the best content will not have a problem. So, if you are good, don’t worry about it. The best would make it to the top and this was a way of culling of the herd. Right? Some of it does but I think most of it does not. Need proof? All I have to do is look at my feed. Do I see news that is great or important? Do I see quality content? No. I see Husky argues about stealing shoe. I don’t see how this is more important or greater content than the winning Pullitzer prize article about the 780M pills, 1,728 deaths by Eric Eyre.

Don’t get me wrong. I am a total sucker for animal videos. I have wasted days of my life watching them. But, is this the content that is considered the cream rising to the top? I hope not.

Many companies produce content that is thrown at audiences without any regard as to what the audience really wants. We are overloaded with the good, the bad, and the ugly. Audiences gets mired in content that is robotically scheduled without any strategy or regard to the platform that they are using. And it flows constantly. It is too much. It is no wonder that audiences run to the next platform just so they can catch their breath.

Article was written in response to questions for a Full Sail University paper.

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