Creating Content for Short Attention Spans
Small business owners feel a constant pressure to produce more content on their brand’s behalf; you probably feel that way yourself, and so does your competition. What this means is that there is simply an incomprehensibly large amount of digital content out there—far too much for any one person to take stock of, let alone digest. The irony is that as the volume of available content increases, the average attention span is just getting shorter. This poses a problem to online marketers: How can you keep making content that generates engagement, even as readers have less and less patience for content consumption?
It is tricky, but not entirely impossible, to develop written content that caters to short attention spans—and in this post, we’ll offer you a few specific strategies.
Writing Content with Short Attention Spans in Mind
Know Your Audience. It’s always important to know who you’re writing for. Consult with a buyer persona or do demographic research so that you can have a good sense of your audience, and tailor content that feels like it’s written directly for them. When you can write to someone with specificity, rather than in generalizations, they’re more inclined to pay attention.
Be Smart About Structure. The way you organize your written content is imperative. You want to structure content that can be easily skimmed, and key sections read more thoroughly. What this means is that you should always write in short paragraphs and concise sentences. Additionally:
- Use subject headings to divide your content into distinct sections.
- Use bulleted or numbered lists whenever possible.
- Make sure your opening paragraph makes it clear what the content is all about.
- Make sure your closing paragraph recaps the main point of the piece, and offers an actionable takeaway.
Enrich Your Text. In addition to strong written content, we’d advise incorporating some compelling visuals. Images, infographics, and even embedded video can make content more exciting—for lack of a better term, more attention-grabbing. Meanwhile, a page that’s 100 percent black-and-white text simply isn’t going to engage anyone but the most studious reader.
Be Bold. Sometimes, it can be effective to bold key parts of your text—so long as you use this strategy judiciously. When everything is bolded, the effect is lost!
Offer Value. This may almost go without saying, but your written content should offer something actionable and meaningful to the reader. Always ask yourself: What’s in it for them? And again, make that value proposition something that’s clearly stated at the very beginning and very end of your text.
Be as Concrete as Possible. People like to see specific examples, facts, figures, studies—things that take your abstract ideas and make them feel more tangible. Try to include these concrete particulars whenever you can.
Don’t Sweat the Length. A lot of content writers get hung up on word count. To keep things engaging, we’d honestly recommend just writing as much or as little as you need to make your point and to deliver on that value. Longer content is preferable—and if you follow the rest of these tips, it won’t compromise engagement—but sometimes, a quickie blog post can also be okay.
Engagement is Always the Goal
It really doesn’t mean anything just to produce content to support your digital marketing efforts; you also need that content to be read. Engagement is always the goal, and that means grabbing people’s attention span. We’d love to show you more about what that looks like, and to help you implement a comprehensive marketing plan that truly gets results. Connect with Driven2020 to start that conversation.