Fit for Consumption?

Thank you, Britney Muller! At “Digital Branding Analytics Miami 2019 Conference,” Ms. Muller took her audience through her early experimentation in hacking and how it led to a promising career in SEO.

Seemingly obvious, but often overlooked, she talks about paying attention to how internet users are choosing to “consume” content.  Essentially, Google has built its entire structure around its users’ desires and continues to evolve. Right now, the trend is serving up brief information at lightning speed. Not surprising—I venture to guess this trend will hold well into the future as people become even more strapped for time.

This very point actually provides insight into how we as marketers—and even just any professional as a communicator—should be approaching his or her audience. It’s not just a question of what the audience wants, but what the audience is willing to digest.

Just recently I had a discussion with a business professional regarding content in an email that is updated and sent out regularly within an organization. The prevailing attitude of this associate and many of his colleagues is that when distributing information internally, as much of that information as possible should be placed into the email body. Rather than link to a pdf or a webpage for more information, the general consensus seems to be that if the text is in front of users’ faces, they will be more likely to read it.

There was a portion of our conversation in which he talked about lack of response to content in the email. This led me to believe that only an incredibly small percentage of his audience was actually reading the content.

You can lead a horse to water all you want, but you can’t make the horse drink the water. The better practice nowadays is to tempt readers with a small tidbit that prompts them to click and go to a more suitable destination for heavier content. I tried to explain that if only, say, 2% of users are actually reading the text, continuing to force feed everyone that information in the same way is not going to spark a change.

The moral of the story? Pay attention to what your users are willing to give you. Respect their time and the way they use the internet.