Just like how people consume content has changed in the last 20 years, the attention spans of people have seen quite a bit of change too. This is where a lot of businesses are getting it wrong when it comes to their social media and content marketing.

As information increases, attention spans decrease. “Social exhaustion,” Fear of Missing Out (FOMO), and even hashtags are fragmenting and accelerating how audiences are consuming content. A study by Microsoft in 2000 showed that the average attention span was 12 seconds. By 2015, the average attention span was down to only around 8 seconds. However, this is something rarely taken into consideration by businesses when creating content.

The All Too Common “School Report” Approach

Most businesses create social media content (whether it be written, visual, video, or audio) based on how they learned to do reports in school. They may sound nice, look nice, and have all the correct information (often too much information), but that doesn’t mean the content is effective from a marketing standpoint. 

Too much content is concerned with “checking all the boxes” without taking into consideration the audience. Too often content is filled with flowery language trying to sound proper (like using “complimentary” instead of a trigger word like  “free”) or over-used and cliche statements (like everyone’s favorite “during these trying times…”).

Content not only needs to be short, concise, and to the point, but also grab the audience’s attention and stop them from scrolling right on by.

Messaging is the Key to Good Content

With shorter attention spans and more and more content competing for that attention, your content has a fraction of a second before your audience scrolls right on by. Sounding nice, looking nice, and having the right info doesn’t make a difference if no one even takes the time to read/consume it. 

Focus on the messaging in your content: make sure it grabs your intended audience’s attention. Your content also needs to be easily consumable: not long, drawn out copy, even if it sounds nice. Think about how your content will stand out, not blend in. If there is a “click for more” on your post, you’ve lost them. 

Some of the best business advice I ever received was given to me by a potential customer I was forced to give a cold call: “Cut out the hubba bubba and give me the nitty gritty.” It is as true in business as it is in marketing. People just don’t have the attention spans or the time for anything but the “nitty gritty.”

For help with your content strategy and messaging, contact Cognicom Media today.