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The Goldfish Conundrum: How to Create Content for Short Attention Spans

January 27, 2017

By sbernazzani@hubspot.com (Sophia Bernazzani)

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The creation of mobile devices has made multitasking close to ubiquitous in the modern world. Between social media, live streaming, and digital news, it’s hard to imagine a time of day when we aren’t tempted to look at a screen while we’re doing something else at the same time.

Because of this phenomenon, it should come to no surprise that the average human attention span has fallen to just eight seconds — shorter than that of a goldfish.

What’s more, 59% of people share articles on Twitter without even reading them, and more than half of all pageviews are under a minute in length. It’s clear that people aren’t reading as much as they used to, and content creators need to adapt their strategy to that reality.

In this post, we’ll discuss strategies and resources marketers can use to create content that will generate clicks, shares, and most importantly, more readers.

The Current State of Content Marketing

Back in September, Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and MarketingProfs released their annual B2B content marketing survey results, revealing that 70% of respondents plan to produce more content in 2017 than in 2016. However, while content production continues to rise year over year, content engagement saw a 17% drop in 2016, according to TrackMaven.

This dip could be a reflection of decreased content quality, as proper planning and research tend to fall by the wayside when marketers ramp up their output. But it could also be attributed to that attention span shrinkage we mentioned earlier. After all, today’s readers are more likely to skim blogs, long-form written content, and podcasts rather than thoroughly consume them, according to data from HubSpot Research.

What’s a marketer to do? Let’s dive into our strategies for defying the goldfish attention span, without sacrificing the quality of your content.

How to Create Content That Gets Consumed

You already know that content creation is an integral part of the inbound marketing methodology. It attracts visitors to your blog, cultivates brand awareness, and helps you generate leads for your organization. But what about page views? Here are our strategies for making sure you’re not just creating into the void, but are actually producing content that gets consumed and shared.

Write quality content

We know, this one seems like a no brainer. But with 30% of marketers reporting that they don’t have clarity around what content marketing success looks like, it’s an important issue to stress.

It’s estimated that bad writing costs businesses close to $400 billion per year in inefficiency and productivity loss. And it could also be costing your organization if you’re generating content that isn’t driving any results. So before you start putting fingers to keyboard, implement a few processes to make sure you’re writing quality content that’s also useful to your audience.

Here are a few ideas:

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