How long do you concentrate on the average piece of content? In this increasingly digitalised and mobile world, it’s all too easy to fall victim to mindless scrolling as we go about our daily lives; scrolling without taking that much of anything in. In short, the struggle to create content for short attention spans is real.
Think about it. Whether you’re checking your social media feed, live streaming or replying to messages, it’s impossible to remember a time when we didn’t have a screen to hand. What did people do back in the day when they were waiting for a taxi or a friend to show up? Stare blankly into space? It boggles the mind.
Of course, whilst multi-tasking is all well and good, this overload of information right at our fingertips isn’t always a positive thing. In fact, it seems like we’re so busy scrolling and searching for the next engaging nugget of information, we’re barely reading the stuff in the first place.
Last year, Forbes reported that 59% of all links shared on social networks aren’t actually clicked on – so, six times out of 10, we’re sharing without even reading. Additionally, research by Chartbeat found that less than one-third of those who do stick around for long enough to get past the headline, read beyond the first one-third of an article.
As you can imagine, this creates a meaty challenge for content marketers to sink their teeth into. These days we need to be creating content that engages those with a goldfish mentality – here are a few top tips on how to do it:
1. Get on the video bandwagon
The video train is about to leave the station and, take my word for it, those who don’t hop on board at some point soon will find they have a lot of catching up to do. Hubspot research found that consumers rated video as the number one form of content that they consume thoroughly with 55% claiming to pay close attention to video rather than simply skimming. Of course, it’s important to mix it up in order to appeal to different content preferences. Just make sure video is on your radar.
2. Make quality a priority
Whilst you might want to keep those content cogs churning and ensure you are consistently delivering new material to your audience – short attention spans need fodder, after all -it’s imperative you don’t sacrifice quality in your efforts.
First and foremost, make sure that you’re giving your audience what they want by conducting research such as social media polls and surveys to find out what they’re really hungry for. You can also conduct competitor analysis to find out what sort of content is driving engagement across a variety of channels.
But as well as ensuring your topics are bang on point, consider creating a style guide or editorial checklist to make sure your team are all on the same page and your content remains consistently at the same high standard.
3. Consider thought leadership
Investing in thought leadership gives your brand’s content the edge in a saturated marketplace, and it’s not as difficult to implement as some people think. Take a look at your company or even at yourself – you know your business and industry inside out, so what topics are you uniquely placed to cover? Even if you don’t write the piece yourself, you should certainly get someone to write up your two cents worth – it might not seem like much to you but could be worth its weight in gold to a competitor.
You might also want to consider interviewing industry professionals; it’s a great way of ensuring you have plenty of new ideas and a wealth of expertise to offer your audience. Plus, positioning yourself as a thought leader serves to boost the credibility and showcase the expertise of your brand. Even those with short attention spans can’t help but look twice.
4. Pay attention to structure
Our minds are likely to switch off when confronted with lengthy, rambling sentences and intimidatingly dense blocks of text. It’s more important than ever to structure content appropriately – think in terms of a clear, organised layout with lists and bullet points to facilitate skim-reading. Additionally, don’t drone on for too long – get to the point and deliver what you promise in the headline.
5. Consider using professionals
Ultimately, producing content that ticks all the boxes of today’s audience presents a challenge for any time-strapped business. To get your content creation right, it can’t just be treated as an add-on to someone’s existing role. If you decide to outsource, you could end up saving time and money whilst taking advantage of a content creation company’s expertise. We know how best to deal with short attention spans – get in touch today if you’d like to find out more.