Our attention spans are at an all-time low. We crave short, snappy, digestible information.
Are you still with us?
While many of us can put our hands up and say, I’ve shared an article that I’ve only skim read or not quite finished yet, more and more people are sharing, liking and commenting without reading any further than the headline.
Various experiments have been carried out and published online to prove this very point, but where does that leave us – the comms creators and wordsmiths, the fact finders and literary wizards?
We’re left feeling like we have to choose – click rates and social shares, or insightful and informative content that people might actually read, but not necessarily post about.
Go on, keep reading.
Readers often share the headlines they can relate to – or want their cyber friends to think they can relate to – so hot topics, buzzwords and click-worthy catchphrases are all important things to think about. But this shouldn’t stop us from continuing our quest to produce strong and thoughtful content.
So, along with writing a cracking headline, next time your pen hits the paper, or your fingers start tap tap tapping away at the keyboard, here are a few top tips to consider…
Short and sweet
For the scrollers and scan readers, keep your text to a minimum where possible.
Give people the chance to read your article while they’re on the bus, waiting in a coffee shop queue or on a quick evening stroll – we all lead busy lives so keep it concise.
If the topic you’re addressing is challenging or complex and requires more detail, you could try breaking it down into a series of separate articles. This will keep your readers engaged and coming back for more.
Highlighting certain words, phrases or subheadings can help emphasise your key concepts and make it easier to navigate the reader through your article.
But be strategic, there’s no need to highlight everything. You want people to gravitate towards the most important bits, so be bold when the time is right.
Including links and citing up-to-date facts and figures throughout your article can help give readers more insight into your chosen topic, and it helps build trust too.
Encourage people to dive deeper into your work by providing links to other articles that you or other people in your comms circle have written.
You get the gist
Try pulling out interesting quotes or phrases that capture your point and help people get the gist of your piece.
Make particular facts or stats stand out by transforming them into images or applying a new font or colour – this will help intrigue your reader.
Keeping these tricks up your sleeve could help encourage more people to relate to and connect with your content, not just the headline.
There are lots of readers (yes, they still exist) who actually want to be informed or motivated or moved and will find themselves reading your entire article because someone else (who merely read the headline) shared it on their newsfeed.
So, to the clickers and social sharers, the Karens and their fellow commenters we could say, don’t you have a responsibility to read and understand what you’re sharing? Absolutely! But we could also say, thanks to you (and these top tips of course), the real readers have the chance to hear what we have to say.
Hurrah you read it – now share it!