How to increase attention span? Use a Message Map! Break Through in 7 Seconds

Customers Tune Out So Quickly, What Can Content Marketers Do?

Content marketers are in a war to win customers’ attention. Are you prepared to win?

Content Overload: When You Produce More Content Than Consumers Can Consume
Marketers produce more and more content, but the number of attention customers can pay has maxed out.

Thanks to content overload, more and more content marketing just gets ignored. Now you need a strategy that makes your content even more competitive.

Today’s infographic on how to win attention with content marketing can help you.

To win the first glance from customers, you must capture their attention in just 7 seconds. Why is that crucial? Because the average American’s attention span is only 8 seconds long.

Social media and news media value brevity. So do your audiences.

We see evidence of short attention spans all around:

  • More than half (55%) of webpage users spend fewer than 15 seconds active on a page, says Tony Hale, CEO of Chartbeat.
  • Videos on Vine average 6.5 seconds.
  • Twitter limits a message to 140 characters, a limitation that has become a virtue. Unfortunately, due to its business woes, Twitter may start to allow longer posts up to 10,000 characters – a strategic mistake that would wreck its purpose as the world’s biggest headline-writing contest.
  • The average quote in the New York Times runs 19 to 20 words, says Ann Wylie of Wylie Communications. The most common length of a Times quote, she found: is just 7 words.
  • In the 1930s and 1940s, the average shot in a movie lasted 10 seconds. But movies made since 2000 feature average shot lengths of less than 4 seconds, says Dr. Carmen Simon of Rexi Media.

Content marketers have only seconds to catch customers’ attention. So, when you do, it’s time to capitalize on the opportunity.

Make sure your message expands effortlessly, like an accordion, from short to medium to long forms — while staying consistent. Your content marketing gains that kind of flexibility with a 1-Page Message MapTM.

How to Win Attention with Content Marketing: Infographic
Start with short content that captures customers’ attention, and earn the right to share longer and longer content.

Over time, content marketers can command a growing share of your customers’ attention by “laddering up” from short to longer pieces of content.

This infographic illustrates the approach of laddering up from short-form to long-form content (left to right). I use this framework to help clients create an expandable message, plan a portfolio with content assets of different lengths, and schedule the content marketing calendar.

The first battle you must win is to catch 7 seconds of attention. That amounts to 23 words (or less) for a headline, a Tweet, an email subject line, a sound bite in news media, or an elevator pitch. Your first 23 words need to be awesome for your customer to go forward.

Next, offer content that’s a little longer. Make it 2 minutes or 400 words long, in a webpage, a news release, blog, short video, infographic, or social media post.

Then, work your way up to 5 minutes or 1,000 words of text. That includes a long webpage, news release, blog, video, magazine article, or a short presentation.

When you’ve gotten this far successfully, it’s time to offer your customer meaty content – 20 minutes or 4,000 words. In this category, create speeches, white papers, e-books, reports, long articles, long presentations, and videos.

To my surprise, at Tellabs, we learned that our longest-form content, specifically white papers, was also our most-read content. That’s the kind of insight only analytics can show you.

If your content that runs longer than 20 minutes, it’s easier to think about it as a series of chunks of 20-minute-long content. Most people just can’t sustain full attention for any longer than 20 minutes.

In events and presentations, change up the format to reboot your audience’s attention at least every 20 minutes. Changing up even more often may help keep more of your audience tuned in. Just don’t overdo it.

Are you ready to capture customers’ attention in only 7 seconds?

We can prepare you to win that battle for attention, with a 1-Page Message Map.