Marijane Funess August 24, 2015 | 10:32:07

Beat The Clock! PR Adapts To Ever-Shortening Attention Spans

If you want an edge in consumer and tech PR, it’s helpful to dabble in some smart prognosticating every so often. We’re taking the opportunity to look at what appears to be a trend guiding the way PR has to adapt – our ever-shortening attention spans. This is evidenced by reports of the “Goldfish Generation” with its “less than 8-second” attention span as well as a recent Pew Study which showed that 39 of the top 50 digital news websites have more traffic to their sites and associated applications coming from mobile devices than from desktop computers and that the average visitor stays on a news site for about three minutes.

With this in mind, here are five [quick!] tips to make your PR content and news as engaging as ever in the age of “attention as currency.”

Make your writing razor sharp. Sure a lot of good PR people can write a press release, but today that skill is less important than writing a pithy pitch (under 200 words please) or a post that pops! Do what the experts do, read the pubs and places you’re pitching – get the style down – and edit, edit, edit. Better still, get a colleague to edit.

Infotainment wins the day. PR teams have so many tools at their disposal to reach target audiences that have enabled us to excel at educating and persuading. However, it seems infotainment, particularly short video and eye-catching images with less text, encourages the most social sharing and “water cooler” buzz.

Perfect your “elevator pitch.” A good pitch should last no longer than a short elevator ride of 20 to 30 seconds, hence the name. We’ve read of attempts to upgrade it to a “skydive” pitch to reflect more of the stakes for getting this communication right! But whatever you call it, the point is to be able to tell a reporter, an investor or a perfect stranger what your company does, or what your product is, quickly and concisely leaving very little to question.

Streamline PR approval processes. Can your management team be trained to act fast when a news opp strikes? Often the key to some great earned media is the ability to newsjack or piggyback on a hot story. But, said “hotness” can have a really short shelf life; think Tom Brady’s ugly court sketch! The NYT Amazon story! Put a process in place to help your team trust your judgement and fast-track approvals to create quick wins for the company.

Think ahead, way ahead. The well-prepared PR team already has 2015 holiday content in the can. That same team is also on top of story ideas to tie into existing upcoming events (elections, award shows, sporting events). At the very least, keep a 3-6 month calendar handy and prep “shells” of outreach for the predictable future.

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