keeping communications short
Employee Benefits

This Blog’s Too Long!

Mark Fitzgibbons
Mark Fitzgibbons
Communication Director, Employee Benefits

I’m going to keep this brief, because you’re not going to stick around very long. I’ve already lost a bunch of folks. For every 100 people who landed on this page, about 48 are already gone. You “bounced” in Web-speak, meaning you spent no time engaging with this page at all.

So now there are 52 of you left…but not for long. We’re at the point in the page where you have to scroll to see more. Of the 52 of you who didn’t bounce, two are never going to scroll. Bummer!

We’re at 50 now. A nice round number, and a friendly crowd. Thanks for reading! I was beginning to worry about your attention span…wait, where are you going? You’re tweeting a link to this already? What if I go on to argue for something truly awful, like a constitutional amendment requiring that we all type two spaces after a period?

Here’s the situation: only a small number of us read all the way through articles, emails, and the like. And while I thank you, I also know that as digital consumers, none of us can stay focused. The more I type, the more of you tune out. And it’s not just me. It’s everywhere. When people land on written content, they very rarely make it all the way down the page. Many don’t even make it halfway.

Before everybody leaves, let’s talk about what we can do with our employee communication materials in the face of all this non-engaging:

  1. Adapt to our post-literate society. Recognize that multimedia is replacing the written word with video, memes, podcasts, etc. Use these tools, along with emails and newsletters, to get your messages out.
  2. Keep it short. 9-second dog/cat video versus 25-minute open enrollment presentation? We both know which one we’re going to watch – and your employees are just like us.
  3. Tell a story. Most people make choices based on both emotion and reasoning. So, tell a story to set the engagement hook, then support with facts and data. “People like me” stories work great.

OK, this is where I need to come up with A Clever Ending.

We live in the age of skimming. I want to finish the whole thing, and I wish you would, too. But who am I kidding? I’m busy. You’re busy. Your employees are busy. And there’s always something else to read, binge-watch, play, buy, or eat.

So, do your employees a favor, and keep your messages short. At least, shorter than this!

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