You may have heard by now that digital distractions have caused the whole of humanity to devolve to a point where goldfish have longer attention spans than we do. Of course, if you managed to pay attention long enough, you’ve also likely heard the human vs. goldfish myth has been all kinds of debunked.
And yet, we’re distracted. We walk into rooms with no memory of how or why we started in. We open a new browser tab to do some research and come to 45 minutes later, in our cousin’s ex-wife’s Facebook vacation photo albums from 2014. And we definitely didn’t read that email marked IMPORTANT: PLEASE READ… at least not all of it. But if our attention spans have dwindled to nearly nothing, how can we spend the entire weekend rewatching the first seven seasons of Game of Thrones with a level of commitment bordering on obsession?
Turns out (via yet another study) we’re still able to pay attention — we just need to be compelled. The sheer volume of available content and the ease with which we can access it means there’s almost
1. Be Clear.
Don’t ask your audience to wade through unnecessarily long or meandering content for the salient points.
- Use bullets (see what we did here?)
- Bold keywords (there it is again)
- Repeat the most important message(s)
- Create a visual hierarchy to guide your reader
- Keep it brief
- Reinforce messaging through repetition (get it?)
2. Be Accessible.
If your audience has trouble navigating your site or has to wait even three seconds for your content to load, you’ve lost them. Of course, they may never see your message in the first place, as slow load times negatively impact SEO rankings, especially on mobile. Oh, and while we’re doling out accessibility advice, be inclusive and consider all users, not just the ones who navigate the world the way you do.
3. Be a Storyteller.
Not to make this all about Game of Thrones, but there’s a reason people who can’t get through a long-form news article can spend the better part of their waking hours watching their favorite show. Engaging content is all about good storytelling.
Of course, there’s much more nuance to successful marketing in the era of
short discerning attention spans. If you made it this far, get in touch and let’s talk about ideas…
If all else fails, pivot to video. 😂