Content is making us lazy.

Tuesday January 21, 2014

written by Nick Pipitone

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Before content became “king” (a position content holds somewhat tenuously) my colleagues and I resided in creative departments where our focus was to come up with great ideas. We dug for the compelling reasons to buy or consume the product or service we were working on. We lived in print, radio and TV land. We wrote billboards that had to be short and sweet. We chose our words wisely. We are still doing a lot of that.

When working on TV commercials, we worked off of the idea that we had to get someone’s attention quickly, given the time constraints of the :30 and :60 second spot.

Recently, when auditing a prospective client’s online videos, a co-worker and I had the revelation that an overwhelming majority of the content was pretty dull. You surf the web further and realize that just about everyone feels like they have a story to tell, and will hire any type of videographer to help them tell it.

The other thing that is so shockingly obvious is that most of these videos are in the 2-3 minute range. That’s when it hit me.

Content, as it sits on the throne, has made all of us very lazy. Given no time constraints, we have somehow forgotten along the way to challenge how compelling our content is. It made us wonder: What would happen if those clients were told they only had 30 or 60 seconds to work with? What would they do? Would they approach creating their online videos differently?

And furthermore – how presumptuous is it that we think anyone would want to spend more than a minute listening to what any company has to say?

As much maligned as TV advertising has become, it’s still a place where consumers can tune in – or out – of any message they want – and it’s where companies aren’t asking much of the consumer – 30 or 60 seconds of your time. We creatives try to do it as entertaining as possible (although it doesn’t always happen that way), given the TV platform is where consumers expect a memorable experience.

But why can’t that experience be the same online? Consumers don’t want to wait 10 seconds for you to get to the point. What makes anyone think they’ll wait a minute and a half? Now, I’m not saying all content is bad, and, what’s completely irrelevant to one person may be totally relevant to another. And I’m not saying we should constrain ourselves to the 30/60 second timeframe. But can we all agree that, when we are creating content, the old rules still apply and the necessity to craft a compelling message is still there?

Developing web content may have less of the traditional constraints, but you still need seasoned writers, artists, filmmakers and editors to make it the best it can absolutely be.

 

 Nick Pipitone is a Creative Director at BVK and the editor of the Adworkers Blog.

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