The term “content” is tossed around like it’s something new. Good marketers have been providing content for decades—in newsletters, workshops, seminars and (gasp) one-on-one, face-to-face interactions. 

So what’s changed?

We are constantly bombarded with information from our mobile phones, iPads, laptops, television, radio and billboards. Our smartphone alone connects us to all social media platforms plus email, news apps, music, games, TV networks, Netflix, YouTube, weather reports, and shopping apps. What’s the result?

1. Our attention spans are shorter.
The average human attention span in 2013 was 8 seconds, down from 12 seconds in 2000 (According to the National Center for Biotechnology). By comparison, a goldfish’s attention span is 9 seconds. Wait, what? 

2. We’re a nation of multitaskers. 
Only 2% of us are actually good at multitasking, according to Psychology Today—but we all think we are. 

3. We’re increasingly mobile. 
In January, Americans used mobile devices more than they used PCs to access the Internet. For the first time ever, more than half (55%) of Internet traffic was smartphones and tablet apps. (According to research firm Enders Analysis and featured in CNN Money on 2/28.)

How do you adapt your content to fit these trends?

1. Tell your story…quickly.
Be concise and to-the-point. Concise doesn’t mean brief; it means not using more words than necessary.  

2. Make it easy to scan.
Use headlines, numbered lists, bullet points, subheads, spaces between lines—they help readers pick out what’s important. 

3. Focus on one message per communication. 
Don’t put too much information in one email, Facebook post, ad or video. Readers will get bored and just stop. Send targeted messages to targeted groups. 

4. Be funny, engaging and relevant.  
You’re competing with Buzzfeed, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr and Vine—and that stuff is pretty entertaining. 

5. Capitalize on opportunities in real time. 
When the lights went out at Super Bowl XLVII, Oreo almost instantly tweeted, “You can still dunk in the dark,” with a picture of an Oreo cookie highlighted against a dark background. It was retweeted 10,000 times in one hour. And it didn’t cost them a dime in media. 



6. Use visuals. 
A picture really is worth…well, you know. If you’re “of a certain age” and I say, “Because so much is riding on your tires,” you can’t help but picture a baby with a Michelin tire.



7. Communicate often.
You’re competing with my spouse texting me to pick up a birthday party gift and my boss emailing about that report. You’re likely to get lost in the shuffle if you don’t stay in touch. 

8. Give them what they want.
I get Groupon email emails daily. But I don’t mind because: (1) I gave them permission and (2) the offers are targeted to my interests. What do your customers want? 

9. Make it easy to respond. 
Want customers to call, give them your number. Visit? Provide a map. Order?  Provide a mobile ordering app. Even Papa John’s pizza has a mobile ordering app and they send you specials! 

10. Make phone numbers clickable and trackable. 
All they have to do is click to call. This article by LunaMetrics tells you how. 

The rules of engagement haven’t changed. Marketers have been following these principles in print ads and billboards for years—now they’re just more important than ever. 

In future Marketing Momentum columns, we will dig deeper into each of these 10 trends to give you a better idea of how they will improve your marketing efforts.