A recent study by Microsoft reviled that humans have less attention span than goldfish. In 2000, the average person’s attention span was 12 seconds as compared to 8 seconds in 2013. Goldfish have a 9 second attention span.
You are better off getting your content read by goldfish than humans. Joking aside, we’ve seen a decline in attention span since the boom in digital media, which began right around the early 2000’s. What does this mean for online content creators?
While, not a new concept, the idea of content creation has exploded exponentially over the past several years in trying to deliver consumers relevant information that serves their needs. The key to getting people to read your content is to write compelling content with headlines that hook and engage the reader quickly.
Readers do not have time, nor the attention span, so hooking them right out of the gate with a strong headline is key to easing them into your content, regardless of the communication channel used to deliver your information. Once you hook the consumer, create content that’s easy to scan and read, or you run the risk of losing their interest.
Below are tips for attracting short attention span readers and keeping them engaged with your content:
Infographics are popular and very useful in visually communicating concepts. Break infographics into bite-sized condensed graphics, focusing on one or two important pieces of data from the target, more detailed, infographic.
Lists in general help break down information into what’s known as chunks; small bits of information that’s easily committed to short-term memory. The most effective way to serve up lists is to categorize the information. As an example, if you’re discussing food products, categories may include meats, fruits, and vegetables, with the information (in list format) under each category heading.
Provide brief, informative how-to articles that incorporate condensed graphics and lists organized in a logical and progressive way.
Keep videos short and to the point. By short, I’m talking about 1 to 2 minutes in length. If you have a long video, break that down into multiple parts.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
Again keep your FAQ’s categorized, asking only one question and providing a one to two sentence answer.
Social Media Posts
Provide short, informative chunks of information to hook the reader. You can add a link to longer content on your blog or elsewhere if the reader want’s to learn more. Remember to use visuals to enhance your brief content.
PowerPoint slides online, as seen on SlideShare, offer the ability to easily serve up content in a quick and simple way. Each slide can include a condensed graphic along with a few key points that’s easily scanned and read. Again, you can always add a link to longer content if it is necessary.
Pressed for time and easily distracted, consumers fight through with hundreds, if not, thousands of messages daily. Marketers and advertisers need to find ingenious ways to hook readers fast, providing the consumer with easy to scan and read content. Failing to connect with consumers can ultimately lead to loss of business to content creators who adhere to consumers attention spans.