No, that oft quoted research – the one about human beings now having a lower attention span than goldfish? It’s fake news.
Despite being quoted by supposedly respectable news outlets like the Telegraph and New York Times, there was no research.
Surprisingly, no one asked a goldfish. Ever.
Fortunately, Jason Miller, Global Marketing Leader at LinkedIn set the record straight at B2B Ignite last week.
Actually, if real research is anything to go by, there’s no attention deficit. It’s more a case of people investing their attention a lot more selectively.
So while we’re all creating a flurry of more snackable, short-form content, guess what – long-form content is apparently where it’s at.
According to Jason, longer posts not only perform better in Google rankings, they get more shares.
In fact, a 2,000 to 3,000 word missive on average gets double the number of shares than a post with a measly 1,000 words or less.
However, a few words of caution. Do more shares mean more people are actually giving us their full, undivided attention and reading every word?
Perhaps, longer content looks more credible and worthy of sharing, even if people can’t be bothered to take the time to read it.
Come on, hands up – how many times have you shared that link – that post, that video, that infographic – without giving it a thorough once over?
Some opportunists are already capitalising on this behaviour – with something called sharebait. You could call it the bastard cousin of clickbait. The idea is that if you use the right headline or make the content look useful and interesting enough – people will share and share away, without taking the time to either read or view what they’re sharing.
So what does this all mean for content creators out there?
Go short – and have more chance of people actually consuming content.
Or go long, look more credible and secure more shares?
If LinkedIn’s own experiences are anything to go on, the advice is opt for longer-form content, it converts better.
For me though, with the right marketing, great quality content will win out regardless of its length.
One thing, we should never underestimate is how discerning potential buyers are – and their ability to separate the crud from the good, sniffing out bad content from a mile off.
So whether you decide to play the short or long game, just make stuff that deserves the attention of people. The thing is – the good will win out.
Image courtesy of Lauren Peng via unsplash