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:
- Mainstream news organizations picked up a satirical article suggesting Sharon Stone orchestrated a Cannes jewel heist. (See also: Paula Deen joins Fox News, Michele Bachmann bans falafel.)
- A pump-and-dump stock manipulator fooled the press with a fake press release about a Google acquisition.
- The Atlantic got so good at publishing sponsored content that looked like the real thing, one of its ads contradicted the publication’s editorial direction.
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.