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The King is Dead. Long Live the King.


For longer than anyone cares to admit, the axiom “content is king” has guided many marketers and content creators. As well it should. But with all the changes in the world of communications, is this still true? Is content still the king?

At the end of the day, the answer remains, “Yes! Absolutely!”

But there is a caveat, a qualifier if you will.

This time in space has been labeled several different names: Information Age. Digital Age. Internet Age. Computer Age. While you may have your own preference, it would be difficult to argue against any one of those.

We’d like to add one more moniker to that list: The Age of the Short Attention Span.

Is it any wonder that our attention spans are plummeting? Tens of millions of websites, an avalanche of social media posts – add them all up and you’re lucky to attract anyone to your kingly content.

Microsoft has been studying the point and they’ve found that our attention spans have decreased from 12 seconds in 2000, to about eight seconds today. (Some gleefully point out that this is less than a goldfish whose attention span is reputed to be nine seconds. But then again, goldfish aren’t buying groceries and paying bills online. And do they really care about reruns of Rodney Dangerfield with Johnny Carson on YouTube? Probably not.)

This data is consistent with other research. According to Statisticbrain.com, eight seconds is the average person's attention span and only 28 percent of words are read on an average webpage. The Nielsen Norman Group’s findings aren’t far off. They say that viewers typically leave a website within 10 to 20 seconds.

What does that mean to your content? If your online offering doesn’t grab and hold your audience’s attention, what good is your content? After all, AdWeek claims that each and every one of us is exposed to about 5,000 ads per day. Doesn’t that say that content doesn’t matter any more?

Don’t be fooled. Your content is still important. Very much so. At the end of the day, your content is still what will separate you (your business, your products, your company) from the pack. That hasn’t changed. Before they can get to your content, however, you need to grab ‘em, hold ‘em, keep ‘em. Then let your content work its magic.

What has changed in today’s topsy-turvy world is the effort you have to put forth to attract and hold those short-lived and fickle attention spans. How to accomplish that?

The purpose of your website must be clearly self-evident. One of our core beliefs is that if you have to explain it, it doesn’t work. What’s in it for the visitor? What you think is important… well, isn’t. If those visitors don’t perceive value that is up to their expectations and, if they can’t do that in those 8-10 seconds, you’ve lost them – and very possibly for good. There are no do-overs here.

Although it may seem superficial (and it may very well be), color can play an important role in holding someone’s attention. Color used carefully and artfully can make a difference. And it’s not just bright, bold colors that carry the day. Screaming, fire-engine, blood red may not compliment your business (i.e., a hospital).

After perusing a collection of “best” websites, we noted that the one thing that they all had in common was outstanding visuals. Whether is was still photography, video, animation, artwork – whatever. High quality imaging will stand out and very likely hold the attention span of those quick-to-click visitors.

While content still is king, other factors may come into play when determining whether or not anyone hangs around long enough to sample your great content.


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