No matter how often we are told the average attention span of humans is decreasing (by an almost alarming rate according to some studies), asset managers continue to produce mammoth pieces of content for clients and prospects to consume. Why is that?
Picture the scene. You are going out for dinner, but you don’t have much time and prefer to eat small portions in the evening. You fancy tapas. The friend you’re meeting insists they’ll take care of it and duly sends you the address of the restaurant they’ve booked.
When you arrive, you discover there is solely a three-course set menu on offer and the chef’s pride in serving up only the freshest cuisine means there will be a half hour wait between courses.
Who are you most annoyed at: Your friend for dragging you here under false pretences? The chef for his insistence on doing things ‘his way’? Or yourself for the fact you’re too polite to walk out now?
What does tapas have to do with content?
Every week asset managers undertake the content marketing equivalent of this scenario: trying to force feed their clients the ‘prime cuts’ of their thought leadership. The difference is, when online and anonymous, people are much more likely to figuratively ‘walk out’. That’s if they ever ‘walked in’ or opened the email/PDF in the first place.
According to Microsoft, the average human attention span dwindled from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2013 – a reduction of 25% in fewer than 15 years. This figure has been widely quoted in the press. Featured in the Telegraph, The Guardian, The New York Times and Time, for example. It has also been debunked by the BBC.
The fact there is not a more up-to-date figure does lead me to query the attention span of the Microsoft research team. But whether the statistic is genuine or not, there does seem to be an inescapable truth to the fact that in this increasingly digitised world serving up tomes of thought leadership is an outdated approach.
How to turn your content strategy around
This is something we are asked every day. There are lots of approaches you can consider. From auditing your existing approach and homing in on what it is you truly want to say/achieve, to making the most of the content you already have and reviewing the framework and strategy needed for long-term success. All of these will help you take a step forward with your content and even bring key stakeholders round to a new way of doing things.