Professional Digital and Social Media Marketing for Your Business

Attention is Currency – Content Marketers Must Appeal Fast to The Audience

By on Oct 18, 2016 in Blog and Commentary by Miller Finch | 0 comments

I have a friend who loves sending me YouTube videos that I might find interesting. The big problem is that they are usually an hour long. Who has time for that? Especially when they turn out to be not interesting enough for the amount of time demanded.

Articles longer than a 5-minute read are noted by many readers as TL;DR – too long, didn’t read – and just skim embedded headlines or hope for bullet points.

People do not have time anymore!

We are inundated with content everywhere, demanding our valuable attention and time.

Attention is Currency

So we pick and choose what is important to us as readers and viewers, and we decide in 10 seconds whether something is worth continuing. We note how long the read is – thank you! –  to determine if we want to allocate our attention for that long. We bookmark long reads/videos optimistically, but in reality, we often don’t return.

I also see pompous attitudes, especially on video,  that everything they write and shoot is gold dripping out of them and the audience is “lucky” to be there. Nope. Get off that pedestal now. Your time spent in creation is not more valuable than that of your audience in consuming it. Even the true golden gurus must offer value to their audience or they will lose them. No one will give their valuable attention for crappy content.

One of the worst examples of time-suck pomposity is the Facebook Live video user who has no plan, no bullet points or script, no message, and speaks slowly or with extra hums and haws. Geez. Scrolling past!

You as the video content creator must be concise, succinct, have a message, and learn to speak faster and in sound bites.


Viewers are seeing video content in more places by more brands than ever before. And because of this, their attention spans are getting shorter and their expectations are becoming greater.

Marketers have just 10 seconds to capture and engage an audience before they continue to scroll down or click away; and engagement drops off significantly beyond that.

If you have not fully engaged your audience after the first 30 seconds, you’ve likely lost 33% of viewers; and after one minute, 45% of viewers have stopped watching.

Recognize that platforms are different; video length that works on YouTube can be too long for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.

Facebook did prove that the shorter the videos, the more engagement they received. In fact, keeping your video at 1.5 mins long will increase the likelihood that your video will get viewed. With YouTube, however, the longer the video, 15 minutes on average, the more views you will have. The rate of engagement for both Facebook and YouTube at 1.5 mins vs. 15 mins turns out to be the same.

If you want people to ingest your content, written or video, be cognizant of the attention demand you are asking of them, the platform they are using, and make it worth their time to give their attention to you.


The average reader reads at a speed of 200-250 words per minute.  At 250wpm, a 500 word blog post will take 2 minutes; 1000 words will take 5 minutes  and

The average speaker speaks at 120-130 words per minute which can be too slow for video. Up your podcasting or video speaking speed to 150-200 wpm. and

Practice your videos, edit your articles. Short content gets more attention simply because of the minimal investment of attention.  In asking for an hour of valuable time, reserve it for YouTube webinars.

So here’s my message:  Brevity is your friend when you want to get your message across to an audience.

603 words. ~3 minute read 🙂

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