Fitness experts know that the “five-second rule” is bunk – if you drop your food on the floor, it’s best to just let it go (we probably didn’t need an actual study for this, but there you have it). But in the world of marketing, the 10-second rule is very real. Ten seconds is the average amount of time a user will stay on a website before clicking to something else.

Keep in mind that’s only an average. So half of all users stay on a page for even less time. Expect that number to erode further as mobile browsing continues to rise at the expense of desktop computer use. Delivering a compelling message that makes a consumer want to know more about your product is more difficult than ever. You basically have a headline and maybe one additional line of copy to grab them in your content marketing campaign.

Today’s consumers are also savvier than ever. That means that your content has to be authentic and useful. Those bait-and-switch clickbait headlines that are so easy to write will definitely cost you sales the moment consumers realize they’ve been duped and may write your brand off forever. It has to be short, punchy and real.

Stay in front of the path 

Timing is a vital component of successful content marketing strategy. The messages that resonate best with consumers contain content that they find useful, and that can vary greatly depending on where they are on their fitness paths. Marketers that map those paths can predict the types of problems fitness buyers are likely to encounter and prepare messages that address them in advance. This means the most relevant messages can be used at the exact right times – when consumers are most likely to be searching for content on that topic

Stay on target...stay on target 

Decreasing attention spans mean that messages that are long and broad are quickly ignored. Keep your message concise and focused on a particular problem that consumers face. Wahoo Fitness achieved tremendous boosts in reach and engagement by tailoring articles around the problems serious runners and bikers in its target market deal with. The campaign’s focus on the intricacies of running, like cadence and boosting motivation, worked because Wahoo executives knew that appealing to a broad range of beginning or casual athletes would fall flat with the experienced athletes that use their products.

Every picture tells a story

Integrating visualization is one of the most impactful ways to get more information to users more quickly. People can scan images faster than copy, and attractive colors and design schemes draw the eye. Art and design should be a core aspect of your content marketing strategy. Use images, videos and infographics that concisely convey supportive facts or data about your product or service. This content can be easily embedded in blog posts and social media feeds to draw attention. Remember, the second most popular search engine in the world is YouTube. Watching a video is easier than reading an article, and you can use this to your advantage.

Consistency in key

No matter how effective a workout is, you won’t see meaningful results after just one – you have to make it part of your routine. Content marketing is exactly the same. A single message is unlikely to convert – it has to be part of a larger strategy that includes a steady cadence of brand or product reinforcement. Most consumers need several exposures to a message before they can recall a brand. A multi-channel approach strengthens these exposures because diversity in how and when people are exposed to a message increases its effectiveness. Use that synergy to leverage multiple media channels to strengthen the long-term awareness of your overall message.

Fitness is one of the most saturated product and service sectors wrought with immense competition and information – but it’s also one where consumers actively want to find solutions that work for them. The best chance to grab and hold consumer mindshare in this era of miniscule attention spans is to garner interest quickly and then deliver on that promise with authentic, useful information. 

Ken Robbins is the CEO and Founder of Response Mine Interactive (RMI).