The Louvre museum in Paris is incredibly vast. You can't just pop in and even begin to get a sense for all that it has to offer. A post on Tripadvisor has this to say: "If you spent 60 seconds looking at each of the objects at the Louvre, going steadily for eight hours a day, it would take you 75 days to see them all." The Louvre takes investment, and for those who are passionate about art and art history, they will come back again and again to explore and soak in more and more.
When it comes to our marketing content, we seem to fear asking our audience to truly invest. However, there is a time and a place for everything. If it's a commercial, you've got 15 seconds. On Twitter or Vine, brevity is necessary. videos that go viral are often straight to the point. But does that mean that our marketing content can't be longer than a few paragraph blog post or a 2-3 minute video? I don't think that is the case.
In the times I've worked with corporate clients on the vision for their video(s), often times one of their main concerns is that it be short, based on the assumption that people generally want quickly-consumable content. They feel a sense of pressure to box their important message Into such a tiny container. After we've filmed all these great interviews and gotten all this great footage of their brand in action, what often happens from an editing perspective is really valuable and influential material gets left out, and telling the whole story really becomes a challenge, if not nearly impossible, without expanding the length of the video.
Statistics do show that attention spans are short and getting shorter, in a very general sense. But what the statistics don't appear to show is whether or not viewers were consuming content they actually cared about. Did you know that one of the most viral of viral videos of all time was almost 30 minutes long? Released in March of 2012, within 6 days of launching, Kony 2012was viewed more than 100 million times. It totally turned the notion of short videos upside down.
Ultimately, if the content is engaging and you are getting it in front of the right audience, that audience will invest. Movies are long, and people love movies when they've set aside the time to invest. Infomercials are long, and for people that are in the market to get healthy, they will invest enough time to learn about some "revolutionary" way to do that.
People don't just skim content forever. Eventually, if it's important and relevant enough they will dedicate more time to diving deeper.
That said, you are on thin ice with your audience. If you aren't careful, you will lose them. You need to employ some basic storytelling principals in your marketing content to keep your audience engaged for the long haul:
1. Grab your audience right from the start. Before you even open your mouth in that first few seconds/sentences, you better have something powerful to say. Don't start with "I'm joe smith and I'm the CEO of smith inc." Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz
2. Get to the point. I can't stress this enough. Cut out all the fluff you possibly can. Be brutal. Communicate value at every turn and remove everything that doesn't.
3. Leave viewers wanting more. Reinforce your message, end on an impactful note, and then make it easy for them to learn more or take the action you want them to take.
Content is still king, and probably always will be. Focus on creating irresistible content, ditch the fluff, and the right audience will stick around.