Content Shock and Content Ignition: A Conversation with Mark Schaefer

by Jeannie Walters

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I think intuitively we all accept we’re inundated with more information and content than anyone can actually process. But do you realize how fast this is building? In just a few years, the amount of information on the web is expected to increase 500%!!!

How can anyone break through the noise?

I had the great opportunity to discuss this and other ideas with Mark Schaefer, marketing expert and blogger, speaker and author of several best-selling books. His latest book, The Content Code, illustrates how any business can ignite their content to lead to actual business results. Mark was the latest guest on Crack The Customer Code, the podcast I co-host with Adam Toporek.

Mark got me thinking about content, the overwhelming pace of information today, and where the real power of content lies.

Creating an audience or delivering content doesn’t provide any economic value.

This is the essential problem statement Mark has been “obsessed” with over the last few years. He refers to this as content shock, and I think that’s a very apt description. We are all overwhelmed as consumers of information, and understanding how people are being affected is key to understanding what to do about this dilemma as a content provider.

It’s difficult to market anything in this environment, and it’s going to get a lot harder.

For example, as we develop new ways of delivering content, information density just becomes more complicated. Podcasts, for instance, are growing in number every day. And Facebook, while still a social behemoth, states that a typical user can see up to 1,500 stories a day!

Producing great content doesn’t actually lead to any economic value. Building an audience doesn’t move the needle, either. It’s about igniting that content into something people want to share. Sharing content is advocacy; it’s something we do to say we support an idea. A social “like” is “lightly bonding” with the content, according to Mark.

Content ignition

These ideas, which Mark calls social transmission and content ignition, require a new mindset about who, why and how our content moves. This means developing a whole new set of core competencies for marketing in this new way.

How can we work around these obstacles?

The dynamic moving the needle is not the content, but the sharing and advocacy of those who consume the content.

Being genuine is part of what works, especially when it comes to the millennial buyers. As Mark so wisely put it, “You can’t buy their influence, you have to earn their advocacy.”

In The Content Code, Mark outlines the six strategies to ignite your content. Only one of them takes money. It’s not linear, it’s full of ideas you can take and build your own kind of plan.

There is a way forward, even if it’s intimidating.

I learned a lot from this discussion, and I think you will, too.

content ignition

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Jeannie Walters

Jeannie Walters is the CEO/Founder of Experience Investigators, a global Customer Experience consulting firm. She has 20 years of experience helping companies improve loyalty and retention, employee engagement, and overall customer experience. Jeannie is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP,) a charter member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA,) a Professional Member of the National Speakers Association, LinkedIn Learning instructor, TEDx speaker, and President-Elect of the National Speakers Association Illinois chapter. Learn more here.

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