Publishers Adapt to Short Attention Spans With These Quick Takes

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Short can still be sweet. We've talked here about Spidell's California Minute podcast that's 3-5 minutes long and brings in many new subscribers (partly by allowing only subscribers to get transcripts). "We're finding that the education is what [our audience] wants," said Spidell president Lynn Freer. And short snippets can work better for some.

Here are more short-is-sweet examples from SIPA and beyond:

Coffee Breaks.

The American Evaluation Association offers Coffee Break, a series of webinars/demonstrations of 20-minutes each that introduces tools of use to evaluators. Just as Freer said, education is key here. Each session offers a micro-learning opportunity for members to improve their professional development. Recordings are made available to members only for playback in AEA's Digital Knowledge Hub, an on-demand library.

If a single session is not enough to fully explore a topic, AEA compiles several webinars into a coffee break series that can be sponsored by a partner. AEA offers multiple membership options starting at just $33 for full-time students and $99 for professionals.

Paint Radio and Video.

This week's Paint Radio podcast from Columbia Books and Information Services opens with witty banter from hosts Emily Howard and Andrew Dwyer about what language they took in high school and college. That leads to the guest, Cole Palea from Novo Painting—novo is Latin, Palea says, for refresh, renew, revive. The fun and informational podcast is 16 minutes.

Howard also appears on video in their popular and long-running Paint TV series. Most recent is a three-part special called Fit Your Whip, sponsored by a company called Adrian Steel. "We are out here in Phoenix, Arizona, where we're going to work with our partners to remake one contractor's van into an efficiency machine. Welcome to Fit Your Whip," Howard opens. The "makeover" episodes are about six-minutes long.

Listicles and Webinar "Chunks."

We still love lists. On his company's blog last week at MCOL, Clive Riddle wrote about "Fifteen Things to Know From the 2019 America's Health Rankings Report."

"Vermont is number one in health, Mississippi is in last place, and New York gets most improved. Smoking is down, obesity is up, along with diabetes, drug death, and suicides. Fortunately the supply of mental health providers is increasing as well. These indicators and countless more come courtesy of the 2019 America's Health Rankings Annual Report."

For their webinars, they'll "repurpose that information in multiple ways," Riddle said. "There's live, then we'll post the video, then take out excerpts, breaking it down into 7-minute chunks. We can do repurposing in multiple platforms."

Video Banner Ads.

In 2017, to promote their EVENTtech mega-conference, Dan Hanover of Access Intelligence cut down their SIPAward-winning 81-second promotional video into 15- and 30-second "YouTube buys and video banner ads."

"Those banners drove five times the click-thru rate for us," Hanover said. "The YouTube video ads resulted in 1,905 clicks to the website." He also replaced a full page of promotional copy for an event with "Ready. Set. Register." in big letters. Guess which one did better. I recently received an email that said, "Ready. Set. Festival." So plug in what works for you.

Short Event Sessions.

The International Ticketing Association features an Inspiration Stage at their conference. These "are venues to provide [bite-sized] learning opportunities in a collaborative and conversational environment. All sessions are 15 minutes long with 5 minutes of Q&A at the end." They have six of these sessions a day with lunch in-between.

Short Video Blogs.


The 2018 1st place SIPAward for Best Blog or Commentary went to the Irving Levin Associates, and two of the three blog posts submitted were an ongoing feature that Irving Levin does titled 60 Seconds With Steve Monroe. Monroe is the longtime editor there.

Those two posts drew 1,823 and 1,425 unique pageviews, respectively, and often attract Irving Levin's biggest audiences. Those "60 Second" videos, which actually stretched closer to 1:45, feature Monroe sitting at his desk giving his view on a key issue in senior care mergers and acquisitions. Fancy no, effective yes.

Fortunately, they continue. Here's last week's post. They also include a transcript, a nice touch.

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Ronn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 and SIIA in 2013 as editorial director…