Content marketing teams are on the hunt for great writers, but before we go on a hiring spree, we need to ask if anyone actually reads!

Publishing sites such as The Oatmeal and Buzzfeed have grown rapidly without a whole lot of text, while image curation platforms such as Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram have exploded in the last few years.

Let's remember: there's more to content marketing than good writers!

It's the coming of the age of content marketing

Content Marketing Books

Time you hired that writer

Inbound Marketing Journalist Quote

But do people read on the web?

Jakob Nielsen - Since Users Don't Read

Jakob Nielsen's claim is quite an old one, and Coleen Jones has made a counter argument that the study isn't completely valid.

Whether you completely believe Nielsen or not, the claim certainly struck a chord with me, I rarely read web pages. Do we really have time?

I've been writing on the web for a while

James Carson at a Laptop

And I'm not so sure people read either

James Carson Confused

Often people react to headlines, but don't digest and write comments

Mail Online Reader Comment

I think about 50% of my responses to comments usually involve something along the lines of: "Read the article, that'll answer your comment." Thanks to Buzzfeed - 21 Weirdly Angry Mail Online Commenters for the above. 

Or they don't read very much at all

Google Analytics Average Time on Page

Ask yourself: when was the last time you read a blog to the end?

That's All Folks

Or an online newspaper article?

Newspaper Logos

Be honest...


So do you really need that writer?

William Shakespeare

There's a reason that these sites have become so popular

Buzzfeed and Oatmeal Logos

Because they're quick to digest and you don't have to read much

Digestive Biscuits

And they're funny of course...


Not all of your content has to be funny, but will your audience read all of your writing?

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Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Are there better ways to reach them?

Snapseed, Instagram and Vine icons

There are an increasing array of great applications that can be used to create content. I highly recommend Snapseed for photography (yes, it's better than Instagram), I also like sketching on an iPad with Sketchbook Pro, and there are enough others to justify several separate articles.

Check out the two below for more inspiration:

It's easy to find a writer on the web

Copywriters on Google

Much harder to find a story teller who can move across media

The Monomyth

They'll be worth their weight in...


So you won't have so much...


The web is becoming more visual


Time to think about that

The Thinker

James Carson

Published 2 April, 2013 by James Carson

James Carson is a media and content strategy consultant and a contributor to Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn.

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Comments (10)

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I don't know, I think it really depends on what type of content you are looking at. I mean, yes, I do scan certain pages because frankly, I don't have time to read everything that interests me. But, I DO read full blog posts or articles on the web. Not all, mind you, but some. Yes, I'm active on Instagram and addicted to Pinterest, but I also read news articles, DIY projects, posts from bloggers I love, etc. Many times I pin or bookmark something that I WANT to read, but don't have time to read at that moment. Just recently I went back to a tutorial for using a particular Photoshop post that I pinned 6 months ago. hy? Because on that day I needed the information. Even though I didn't read it the first time I found it, I knew I would one day.

While I think you have some valid points, I don't think reading on the web is dead. :)

over 5 years ago


Lauren Van Bever

That utter chaos just gave me a headache.

over 5 years ago

James Carson

James Carson, Founder at Made From TwoSmall Business Multi-user

Hi Amanda, this is just a tongue in cheek way of looking at the call to hire writers to help with content strategy... It's understandable that people go back and reference etc.

Lauren, if that gave you a headache, have you ever been to :-)

over 5 years ago


James Gunter

I see what you did there.

over 5 years ago


Dave Wedge

Hi James,

What you say is undeniably true, we are all inundated with information these days. However there is a lot that cant really be said or explained with images and maybe that is where video comes in to play.

Personally I rather like reading interesting text and I hope that it will continue to have its place.

over 5 years ago

James Carson

James Carson, Founder at Made From TwoSmall Business Multi-user

Indeed - I think this post probably needed more text to give it a bit more definition, but wanted to see people's reaction too!

over 5 years ago

Marcin Grodzicki

Marcin Grodzicki, Founder at BOOM

Very good post and the format is highly relevant (despite the fact that it's 'tl;dr' not 'tl:dr' - call me an internet-slang-nazi if you will!). If any of the commenters think this mashup gives them a headache I urge you to spend a couple days on Reddit and 9Gag to see what the content will look like in a couple years. If you want to be heard. The youth - they are coming.

over 5 years ago

James Carson

James Carson, Founder at Made From TwoSmall Business Multi-user

Haha - are you the meme police Marcin? But yes you are quite right. I will get that changed.

And I salute your comment - this post is indeed a testament to such mashups.

over 5 years ago

Heledd Jones

Heledd Jones, Marketing Manager at Admiral Loans

I enjoyed 'reading' this and ashamed to admit that I had to google what 'tl: dr' meant :) (I'll be using it all the time now!)

about 5 years ago

Harry Gardiner

Harry Gardiner, Content Marketing Executive at Koozai

Awesome post James,
you hit the nail right on the head as well.
The web is certainly becoming a more visual place,
It's why Infographics have become so darn popular (almost too much so) of late.
I hope you don't mind but I quoted you in my latest blog post on the importance of images in content:

Would love to hear your thoughts as well.

about 5 years ago

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