Many marketers like to talk about “snackable” content these days. Experts claim that audiences have a limited attention span. That people won’t read or “consume” anything that takes more than five minutes.
The assumption: If your content is too long, you’ll lose people’s interest and they’ll move on to something else.
I agree that marketers should be as concise as possible. We should be clear and direct. We should say only what’s required. We shouldn’t waste people’s time.
But it bothers me when marketers worry about length first…and worry about the actual content second. That approach goes against the fundamentals of content and inbound marketing.
Yes, consumers already see a lot of content. They’re exposed to millions of articles, tweets, videos, snaps and pictures. To stand out, however, marketers need to offer something more unique, more provocative or more entertaining than everyone else. Something more valuable. The answer isn’t necessarily to offer something shorter.
Besides, it’s not true that audiences hate long content. Studies show that long content tends to get more links and more traffic. While many marketers are focusing on listicles and clickbaits, many readers are looking for depth. Many readers want to go beyond the surface and will search for long reads that offer compelling and interesting content.
I’m not saying short posts and videoes don’t have value. Personally, 9 out of 10 articles I read and share are listicles. But as marketers, we shouldn’t back away from doing deep work in pursuit of snackable content.
Remember: content marketing works when it’s useful. So our primary goal shouldn’t be to create short content. We can’t expect people to pay attention to us, to give us a moment of their time, if what we have to offer isn’t truly valuable. Length should be a consideration—not the goal.
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