June 29, 2017

Helping PR pros make smarter decisions

Find, Sift, Filter, and Sort–Addressing Content Shock

Find, Sift, Filter, and Sort–Addressing Content Shock

So, this is what happens when you wait more than 24 hours to write a blog post.

Someone else writes it for you.

Okay–not exactly. But Shel Holtz has written a great piece challenging some of the points made in Mark Schaefer’s post describing the coming “Content Shock.” Christopher Penn took a look at what the volume of content means for public relations, adding another dimension to the discussion.

The benefit of waiting is that I get to learn from several viewpoints, digest the information, and form my own opinion on the matter. For the most part, I agree with Shel: “content shock” is another name for “information overload,” “attention crash,” and myriad other descriptions that have been bandied about describing the inability to process the glut of information out there. I just think that it is unlikely there is a content cliff over which we are about to tumble. We are not facing “peak content.”

However, I do think some people and some companies WILL stop producing content.

This is okay. In some cases, what they are producing is crap, and no one is reading it for a reason. Particularly from a business perspective, if the content isn’t meeting the business objectives it should be done away with. Simple ROI–“real” Return on Investment–is at work here. If the return isn’t worth the investment, stop. Figure out what can meet objectives, and do that.

Some will move to formats that will make more sense for them. If a decorator or designer shifts from blogging to Pinterest or Instagram, they are still producing content, but now it’s visual. First, a visual format probably makes more sense for their industry. Second, images are processed more quickly so their audience will actually be able to consume more content in the same amount of time; this is more content-shift than content crash.

What I feel is Shel’s most important point is worth repeating here: quality content finds a way to surface. (I had typed “always finds a way to surface” and I deleted “always.” I’m sure there are brilliant items out there that remain undiscovered as yet.) For the most part, quality content will be shared–even if deep pockets aren’t behind it. Does the content with “deep pocket” support have an advantage? Sure. But that doesn’t guarantee success.

Mark Schaefer’s post has resonated with many readers because it seems so logical. There is a ton of content out there. We know we can’t read it all. 

For those of us who are old enough to remember a time before Google, we used to worry about the ability to find the right content. This was a search problem. We now have all kinds of tools to aid people in finding content–including CustomScoop.

Sometimes, there is a feeling of overwhelm when I walk into my local library. There are so many books–so many *good* books–I can’t read them all. So, I limit my scope. I have a list of what I want to read, so I work off of that. Or I ask for recommendations from friends or the library staff. I use a search process and a filtering process that work for me. The same is true about content online–the inability to find quality content is a search problem, and the inability to consume content is a filtering problem.

Thank you to Mark Schaefer, Shel Holtz, and Christopher Penn for producing quality content–all of which made it through my filters.

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About The Author

Jennifer Zingsheim Phillips is the founder of 4L Strategies, and has worked in communications and public affairs for just over 20 years. Her background includes work in politics, government, lobbying, public affairs PR work, content creation, and digital and social communications and media analysis.

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