Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Content creation is a tired phrase. It’s obvious that brands need to create awesome content to engage audiences. What makes the task challenging is that audience behaviors are changing rapidly, especially as more millennials and Gen-Zers join the consumer-demographic pie. Younger viewers aren’t easily impressed, either.
Platforms, user preferences and communication practices are vastly different from a generation ago. For example, more than 700 million emojis are used daily on Facebook. Business owners and corporate marketers must speedily adapt to the fast pace of change. How can they communicate with a generation that “speaks” through tiny images or playful content like memes? At Press Hunt, my partners and I have seen an uptick in entrepreneurs sharing memes, data visualization and emoji-based emails. This trend of visual, static data has afforded our platform higher reach with journalists and bloggers.
Attention is monetization, but grabbing it is anything but. People scroll down their phones at hyper-speed, skipping most messages (including sponsored content), but here’s how businesses can adapt to the new social-publishing landscape.
1. Publishers are becoming all-in-one content platforms.
Back in the day, newspapers published news articles, cartoons and crossword puzzles. That’s it. Today, new-media publishers get traffic from videos, streams, blogs, tweets, memes, comments and (intentionally) controversial content. Editors and publishers like stirring controversy because it provokes readers and promotes discussion on their site.
An example of this is Howdoo, a social-media platform that combines every type of content. “Thanks to Google and social media, social publishers are incentivized to create and share content that gets the most engagement,” says CEO David Brierley. “Engagement improves visibility on search engines while Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other networks increase impressions and shares.”
To differentiate itself, Howdoo creates a total social experience by publishing streams, posts, messages and images, as well as videos, blogs and community interaction. The site also hands out token rewards to users.
Business owners have more options for brand placement beyond written press releases and articles. They’ve got to constantly seek sources of traffic to their site. Entrepreneurs can experiment with trending topics, videos, hashtags and even memes, since these can rapidly spread online.
2. Publishers must cater to skimming eyeballs.
Readers are becoming rare. What’s more common are eyeballs zipping through device screens like it’s a race. A Microsoft study a while back found that the average human attention span has shrunk to eight seconds. A recent study by the University of Denmark finds that people have more info to focus on. Thus, the info overload has led to a decline in our collective attention span.
Business owners must account for how content is consumed. Most device screens are extremely small, and that gives short, digestible content a big advantage. Bold text, subheadings, bullet points and highlighted remarks are often what (skimming) readers focus on, skipping everything else.
Finance ventures adapt to this trend by giving audiences the option of going quickly to research conclusions. An example is CryptoBriefing’s research offering, SIMETRI. The research product analyzes smaller cryptocurrencies like Basic Attention Token (BAT) and VEChain (VET). Their research and analyses may be sophisticated, but editors publish short, digestible content that investors care about most: how to make money. That includes buy-and-sell recommendations, coin grades and upgrade/downgrade ratings for each crypto covered.
“SIMETRI’s methodology includes technical analysis, proprietary info, insights from trading desks and expert data,” says CrypotBriefing founder and CEO Han Kao. “But we make our conclusions direct and understandable for audiences of all backgrounds. That makes our concluding remarks concise, relevant and useful.”
3. Social publishing is a thing.
Social publishing gives people the info they want to consume and share. The younger crowd likes playful photos, videos, emojis, memes, tweets and comments that get to the point. Gucci and Baskin-Robbins are brands that use meme advertising to connect with consumers. Meme marketing is a new but growing trend, and early adopters will gain plenty of benefits. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, and Instagram, one of the most popular apps of the decade, is a testament to that.
Entrepreneurs and brand managers must embrace the fact that language is becoming informal. In a way, “likes,” retweets, emojis and memes are new ways of communicating. It’s prudent for businesses to experiment with playful content that has the potential to go viral where they get massive exposure for a fraction of the cost.