With the popularity of content marketing, digital content is proliferating at an extraordinary rate – and all the while, the human attention span is going down. Yes, it’s true! According to recent research, an average human attention span now clocks in at about eight seconds.
For perspective, similar studies showed the “average attention span” was about 12 seconds in 2000. Even back in those halcyon days, however, experts were already pointing out that only 16% of users actually read Web pages, with the vast majority scanning instead.
To make matters worse, Web visitors multitask while on your site.
It seems intuitive, but science suggests multitasking doesn’t work. Cognitively, it doesn’t even exist: Switching between tasks always imposes resource costs on your brain, even when they are well-known or simple tasks.
So – what’s a content marketer to do in a world where goldfish may have longer attention spans than your prospects?
Tips to Improve Your Content Marketing
1 Create Bite-Sized Content
While there is some argument that long-form content is powerful for SEO, people rarely have time to sit down and absorb a 2,000-word essay unless they’re truly passionate about the topic. Brief, concise articles get your point across more easily and motivate social sharing, too.
2 Make Your Signaling Simple
While scanning through content, people easily zoom in on headers and imagery. Each header should clearly communicate one idea. Visual elements, in turn, should guide users as they flow through the content. Loud distractions should be used strategically or not at all.
3 Focus on User Experience
It takes less than a second for a user to notice loading delays on a Web page. A fraction of a second later, it turns into an annoyance. Use compression, caching, and “lazy loading” to simulate seamless loading on all your pages.
4 Personalize Your Content
When content is focused on a user’s intent, it does two things. First, the user finds needed information faster. Second, he or she gives your site more leeway in case there are little delays along the way. That touch of goodwill can make the difference.
In honor of concision, we close this post about 100 words earlier than usual. Use the extra time to review one of your content pieces and make sure it gets the point across fast!