TL;DR: What It Means & How To Use This Concept For Better Marketing

TL;DR: What It Really Means & How To Use This Concept For Better Marketing

by | Jun 9, 2016 | Content Marketing

If you’ve spent much time on Reddit, aka “The Front Page of the Internet,” it’s likely you’ve run across the term “TL;DR.
But, do you know what it really means? If the answer is “no,” you’re not alone.
TL;DR is a widely used slang that means “Too long; didn’t read.” While the term itself a bit vague, what you might not know is that there’s an entire concept behind TL;DR to take away and use as inspiration for better marketing in an age where everything (technology, people, time) seems to go at a supercharged fast pace.
We recently delved into researching what’s behind this term and how to take away the concept of too long, didn’t read as a marketing lesson. Keep reading to learn more.
Clueless on what TL;DR really is? @JuliaEMcCoy explains what it really means and how you can use it for better content marketing. Click To Tweet
TL;DR: What It Really Means & How To Use This Concept For Better Marketing

The Concept of TL;DR: A Reddit Phenomenon

In a way, TL;DR describes our online lifestyles right now. Since people today have shorter attention spans than goldfish, fewer and fewer of us are bellying up to long-form content that takes a dictionary and a few advanced degrees to slog through.
Use Reddit and you’ll come across TL;DR sooner rather than later. Many other similar platforms have taken inspiration from this online short-style giant.
Why does Reddit love TL;DR?
Well, since online forums can give way to lengthy debates and complex arguments, the TL;DR tag is used to help people locate summaries. For example, if there’s a long thread that you’re interested in, but you don’t feel like combing through it to pick out the useful bits, you can scroll to the end of the page where you’ll typically see a bolded TL;DR section. This section offers a pared-down version of the page, which helps users navigate relevant content quickly and easily.
Here’s how that works on Reddit.
Because so few people are reading long-form content or, worse yet, digging through pages and pages of irrelevant results to find the content they want, Reddit has capitalized on the TL;DR phenomenon and created an entire TLDR section on their platform.
In this section, the curators behind Reddit have “condensed the best of Reddit” to make it easier for users to get easy access to quick, daily recaps.
Reddit tldr
If you’re having any doubts about the awesomeness of this, let me tell you that the headlines alone are enough to win you over. Example? “Germany recognizes the Armenian Genocide, Elon Must wants to launch people to Mars in 2024, and King Tut’s dagger was made from a meteorite.
How’s that for scope?
Click on the TL;DR Reddit and you’re greeted by a handy page that breaks the topics down into subreddits like world news, science, technology, politics, and even astronomy. From there, you can navigate to the bit that you’re interested in and interact with all of the comments and shared links on that page.
sub-reddit screenshot
By condensing information into simple TL;DR pages, Reddit and other online messaging platforms provide better service for their readers and help organize information in an intuitive and straightforward way.
Reddit is the birthplace of TL;DR. Know how this concept can help you create better content marketing in this post by @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet
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Why TL;DR Matters Today Now More Than Ever

In the last 16 years, the human attention span has taken a dive from 12 seconds to approximately 8 seconds, where it’s currently stalled out. The resulting forgetfulness and distractibility are evident in virtually everything we do. In fact, a whopping 39% of Americans have lost an important item or forgotten a critical piece of information at least once in the past week, and people working in office settings check their email approximately 30 times each hour. As it stands right now, the average American checks his or her phone about 1,500 times each week. Whew.
When you take all of this distractibility and partner it with online marketing, things get even more startling. Despite the time, energy, and attention most marketers put into their content, most users only read 20% of the words on a page and leave web pages within 20 seconds. Because of this, developments like Reddit’s TL;DR sections are critical to keep people interested and engaged with content.
'In the last 16 years, the human attention span has taken a dive from 12 seconds to approximately 8 seconds... developments like Reddit’s TL;DR sections are critical to keep people interested and engaged with content.' - @JuliaEMcCoy on… Click To Tweet

Using the Concept of TL;DR to Improve Your Marketing: 5 Tips

If Reddit can do it, so can you! (Scroll down to see exactly how Reddit does it.)
While you don’t necessarily need to pare all your content down to bare bones (long-form content still converts better, after all), it is wise to organize your content in such a way that it’s easier for readers to pull what they want from it. Here are a few tips to do just that:

1. Focus on clarity

Making your marketing messages and content more clear is the first step to making it easier for your users to interact with. Do away with flowery language and unneeded words for simple, succinct writing that gets to the point. Break up long sentences, divide long paragraphs into smaller ones, and make use of headers, subheaders, lists, and bolded bits to help your readers find their way through your text. These are simple tips, but they’re important for people who want TL;DR-focused content.

2. Make it easy to navigate

When it comes to websites, blogs, advertisements, and social media platforms, navigability is essential. If users have to call in a Ph.D. to figure out how to get back to your home page, they’re going to leave your site and never come back. Because of this, ensure that every piece of your site is simple to navigate for all readers, including the newest ones.

3. Make it shorter

If you can cut your content down a bit, do it. While this doesn’t mean that you can’t write long-form content, it does mean that you should focus on keeping your marketing messaging short and sweet so that readers can understand and interact with it more easily.

4. Tell stories

Remember that Reddit headline? If you didn’t find the fact that King Tut’s dagger was made from a meteorite intriguing, I’m concerned about you. Humans want to read fascinating stories, and appealing to a person’s sense of wonder, curiosity, or humor in marketing is an excellent way to get them to click your content.

5. Use video

54% of people want to see more video content from marketers. In light of this, mix your content up by including video whenever possible.
Read five ways you can use the concept of TL;DR in your own content marketing strategy in this post by @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet

TL;DR : A Powerful Tool for Your Marketing

While it may seem like a minor bit of Reddit slang, TL;DR is a tiny yet important phrase with a great deal to teach us about how to market to the modern population. 
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