Forget 140 characters.

The first 11 letters of your headline determine whether someone’s going to digest your message. Jakob Nielsen summarized some of his group’s latest findings, which shouldn’t surprise anyone who’s been working online for the past decade.

We’ve known—since at least 1997—that online readers scan information before they make the decision to round back up and really understand it. We’re lucky if readers actually read more than a quarter of the words on a web page.

What your business can learn from a mastermind jewel thief…

Since Facebook and Twitter have crept into our daily discourse, that range has started to shrink. Think about the last time you shared an item to your friends or circles without even clicking through to the link. That click-first-ask-questions-later has led to all kinds of online hijinks, like:

Before we lose faith in our fellow humans, let’s review another thread of online usability research.

Your readers expect small, medium, AND large.

Whether you’re a small business owner or a corporate communications professional, you’re probably experiencing this shift in your owned media campaigns. At 2820 Press, we’re taking action to help our clients navigate this new world of “nanocontent” by developing a content strategy plan:

  • Overhauling clients’ websites to improve their “information scent,” the nonverbal design cues that impart credibility, authenticity, and trust online.
  • Carving clients’ messages into campaigns that include “retweetable” thoughts, “snack size” stories, and “long reads,” designed to build familiarity and acceptance over time.
  • Establishing editorial calendars and cadences that push the right messages to the right audiences at the right times, without burning out key influencers.

Your message doesn’t deserve to get buried under an avalanche of noise. If you made it this far into the post, you just learned a little more about how we design content and create a strategic communication plan that gets heard and understood, not just scanned. Schedule a complimentary consultation with me, so we can talk about your content marketing challenges and some potential solutions.

Joe Taylor Jr. has produced stories about media, technology, entertainment, and personal finance for over 25 years. His work has been featured on NPR, CNBC, Financial Times Television, and ABC News. After launching one of public radio's first successful digital platforms, Joe helped dozens of client companies launch or migrate their online content libraries. Today, Joe serves as a user experience consultant for a variety of Fortune 500 and Inc. 5000 businesses. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram