Jan 22, 2018 / in Comms Best Practices / by Cision Contributor

Human attention span is at its lowest ever (thanks to technology!).

According to a study by Microsoft, the average human being now has an attention span of eight seconds. This is a sharp decrease from the average attention span of 12 seconds in the year 2000. More shocking, perhaps, is the fact that research from Jampp found that human attention span decreases by a whopping 88 percent every year.

Take a minute to soak that in. Now, think carefully about the implications of this for your content marketing strategy:

In a nutshell, this reveals a few quick facts:

  • People do not have enough patience to read through your content.
  • Even when people want to read your content, if it appears too comprehensive they won’t bother reading it at all.
  • Factors many people do not consider as part of their content strategy — factors such as site speed — matters a great deal.

Here are some tips to protect your content strategy from declining attention spans: 

1. Embrace The KISS (Keep it Simple, Stupid) Principle

There has been a lot of debate over long versus short copy and which is more effective. While both types of content have their place, more often than not the KISS principle wins.

Take it from Nick Dutko, the CEO of Auto Transport Quote Services, “Ultimately, the goal of a solid content marketing strategy is to drive good ROI. There is no point in having content that does not add to your bottom line. For this reason, simple, clear content will always win.”

Research by Nielsen echoes the same thoughts. Nielsen found that people do not read content on web pages. They scan.

As a result, making your content simple and properly formatted by following the tips below will make a great deal of difference: 

  • Highlight important keywords
  • Use bullets to make important points stand out
  • Use subheadings to break out key sections
  • Focus on one idea per paragraph

2. Your Website Accessibility is as Important as Your Entire Content Strategy

When many people plan their content strategy, the technical aspects of their website take the backburner — or it is ignored altogether.

Your content strategy should go beyond just creating content and strategy to help you maximize content created. In fact, website accessibility is much more important than other parts of your strategy. Why? For one, an inaccessible website makes other parts of your content strategy useless. Also, research has established that a single second delay in how long your site takes to load will cost you 7 percent in conversions and that 40 percent of people will simply exit your website if it takes longer than three seconds to load.

It is important to realize that at this point in time, we are more impatient than ever. And very few people will trade extra seconds of their time for reading your content because they feel it is very valuable.

3. If it is Important, It Bears Repeating

If you have yet to hear about the “rule of 7,” it is one important marketing rule to pay attention to. In essence, this rule states that people need to see your offer at least seven times before they really pay attention. 

This is all the more important in an age of declining attention spans.

Key pieces of your content should be repeated. In fact, repetition can be the most powerful part of your content strategy if done right. Here are some tips:

  • Repurpose key pieces of content into different formats (images, videos, slides, text, etc.).
  • Distribute key pieces of content across different channels (email, social media, presentation sites, etc.).
  • Use smart retargeting to get people to see your content again and again.

4. Make Your Content More Engaging

A lot has been written about engagement, so I won’t be beating a dead horse. However, for the uninitiated, or for those who want a very simple idea, I will advise focusing on just two things to make your content more engaging: using humor in your content and telling stories. 

People are so busy and deeply engrossed in their work. If you can lighten up their mood with some good use of humor, it will do wonders for your brand.

We also can’t resist paying attention once stories — especially good stories — are involved. It is how we are wired.

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This post was written by a guest Cision contributor.