Do I have your attention? Good.
The idea that our attention spans are increasingly shrinking is one we hear all the time. Blame it on the mobile revolution, but we can guarantee that you have likely questioned the state of your attention span at some point. There being so much content to consume online, along with so many interruptions during the day, we often find ourselves reacting from one beep to the next ding without even knowing it.
We’ve had to keep this mind when developing our own content here at Yocale, for both our sales pages as well as our blog content. We need to ensure that we get right to the point in a lot of our messaging to ensure people know quickly why our solution is a great one. Since we cater to multiple online bookings and scheduling verticals, the demographics adds another dimension for consideration.
Here are actionable steps you can take right now to create the most effective content for shrinking attention spans.
An Eye-Catching Headline (and Useful Content)
With our increasingly shrinking attention spans, we need to create eye-catching headlines that demand immediate attention. There is a lot that goes into creating a headline, perhaps even more than you realized.
But above all, make your headline useful; whether you offer tips, tricks or secrets, if you can provide value in your headline, you will get clicks.
Starting Out With a Bang: Make It Personal or Use Humor
You need to come out with a bang in each and every blog post. How? By connecting with your audience. Tell a brief story or make it personal in some way. Add a bit of personality; crack a joke.
If you can get away with less of a stiff tone, you will also connect with your readers by showing yourself to be relatable. Here’s a look at how to make your copy more engaging.
Making Your Content Digestible
Just because our attention spans are shrinking, doesn’t mean you have to create goldfish-approved content that isn’t longer than nine seconds. In fact, your content strategy should include a mixture of both short-form and long-form content. The key is to make longer content more digestible and/or easily scannable. Consider that 43 percent of internet users skim blog posts and you begin to see why.
Research from Pew shows that while shorter content is more common and receives more traffic, people read long-form content nearly just as much as they read short-form content. It also gets more shares. Provide fast answers by making your content easily digestible and scannable. This is the key to a positive user experience. You can do that with:
- Bold headings (ensure that you keep font and size consistent throughout the article)
- Short introductions to get to your point quickly
- Short paragraphs, ideally no longer than three lines of text, just like what you see in this article
- Bold, important pieces of text
- Bullet points and/or numbered lists
- A conclusion that summarizes the content of the article
- Quick loading time; a slow loading page is bad for both conversions and your Google rankings. Here are some tips for speeding up your website.
Include Visual Elements
Whether you use high-quality images like screenshots or infographics, every piece of content that you produce should include visual elements. Images shouldn’t just be added for the sake of it, but rather, to enhance the content in some way. Infographics are particularly great because they are a compelling way to present data while also being memorable.
The question has always been how to create engaging content, but in today’s landscape with so many things vying for our attention at once, and perhaps because of our limited attention spans, the need to keep readers engaged becomes even more of a pressing concern.
One answer is to use interactive content, which is a highly engaging form of content because it involves the user in a personalized way. Interactive content takes a variety of forms, from trivia to polls and surveys.
Diversify Your Content
Content is quickly diversifying and it looks like video is increasingly leading the way. According to YouTube, almost a third of the people on the internet watch YouTube videos, and they spend hundreds of millions of hours watching these videos every single day.
Live video is also receiving more and more attention (cue Facebook Live) and is relatively cheap and quick to produce. It’s a great tool for businesses to connect with their customers in a structured way, all while doing so in real-time.
You’ve got the headline. You’ve formatted it with headings and bolded relevant sections. Perhaps you’ve even included an infographic. All that is left to do is to think about the design elements. Here’s quick checklist to make your content as effective as possible:
- Use easy-to-read fonts
- Add more whitespace by adjusting your margins; this minimizes clutter and distractions (by the way, avoid flashy pop-ups on the side if possible)
- Add “tweetables”; these are important sentences/quotes that generate a tweet once you click on them; they are engaging while also serving as calls-to-action in your blog post. This article will show you how to create tweetables.
Are you with us, fellow goldfish? Thought so. In wrapping all of this up, hook your readers with an engaging headline and an entertaining first few sentences. Make your content digestible, include visual and interactive elements and ensure that you’ve nailed the design element.
A version of this post originally appeared here.