When it comes to content, less is often more

By Kelly O'Brien

Sometimes less is more when it comes to content, especially when we're inundated all the time with social media.

Even Millennials, who, according to an online article in Entrepreneur magazine, spend 18 hours a day on different types of media (cell phone texting/calls, email, social media, television, computer/lap top), can get overwhelmed.

Kelly O'Brien is in Fifth Third's Human Capital Leadership program.

Kelly O'Brien is in Fifth Third's Human Capital Leadership program.

(But wait – am I even awake for 18 hours per day? The article states that the high number of hours is due to the fact that Millennials are multi-consumers, and can be texting, scrolling through Facebook, and watching TV all at once.)

As Millennials, we want quick, relevant content that stands out from the sea of posts, from a new product that might catch our eye to our friend’s clever play-by-play of them driving to work that morning.

Using a “less-is-more” approach can sometimes deliver a stronger message or keep consumers engaged with your product or service. Here are a few are examples that work for me:

  • Cincinnati Business Courier: The Courier uses teasers in its newsletters and social media instead of traditional headlines. For nearly every post the Courier publishes, I stop myscrolling and click on their post to read the full story. I love this tactic -– do not tell me everything up front; make me want to know more and go to your page to read the full story. Check out their Twitter handle for some example tweets (@BusinessCourier).
  • theSkimm: This digital news site combines brevity, relevance, fact and a little bit of sarcasm to deliver news stories spanning from politics to celebrities every morning to millions of readers. Their competitive advantage? Stories are typically just a few short paragraphs and written in chic, colloquial language that makes them easy to read and quickly understand. Readers can grasp the basic storyline or delve into hyperlinks to read more if need be. This is a popular site among Millennials  -- it is, as the site’s title suggests, easy to skim from a smart phone on the way to work or between meetings without being bogged down by extraneous content.
  • Beyonce: Queen Bey no longer does traditional and aggressive marketing campaigns for her new album releases. and she’s private when it comes to her personal life. Instead, the singer chooses to release her albums with little-to-no teasers or previews, and typically fan chaos ensues. Even her social media accounts are light, especially compared to the overbearing other celebrities who air their dirty laundry on Twitter, Instagram, etc. Beyonce’s recent visual album, Lemonade, was one of her most personally revealing works yet as it detailed rumored relationship issues with her husband. However, since she is rarely in the news or posts about her marital issues, fans flooded to the nearest news and video channels to hear her story, which, again, was released overnight without advance notice.

While they say “curiosity killed the cat,” I appreciate a news site or public figure who can surprise me and make me wonder what’s coming next, or that can keep my attention throughout a story without forcing me to read a novel. While content delivery is key, so is strategically determining when, how, and how much a reader needs to be engaged.