According to a study by Microsoft, the average attention span is only eight seconds. Eight seconds. That’s less than a goldfish!
For content marketers, fighting against diminishing attention spans has never been more difficult—or more critical. Here are a few tips to help you grab your audience’s attention quickly and effectively.
- Tell a story.
Use narrative to pull the reader in. An anecdote helps give the audience a hint at what’s to come while grounding your content in a way that’s both human and interesting. A story, especially an interesting one, is a great way to make sure a reader will keep reading until the end.
Example: Five years ago, Fake Company had little brand recognition and plummeting sales. Today, they’re one of the most successful digital companies of our age…
- Ask a question.
My high school English teacher would argue that this introduction-writing technique is overused (and I tend to agree with Mrs. Franklin). But every now and then, a compelling question can be a great way to hook your piece. This is particularly effective if the audience needs to read on to uncover the answer.
Example: Is there a difference between advertising and marketing, and why does it matter?
- Start with an interesting fact.
Use an interesting factoid to pique interest, essentially setting the question out there: “did you know…”
Example: The average Facebook user has 130 friends. How many connections do you have? (source)
- Lean on statistics or figures.
There’s a reason people love infographics. Statistics are an easy way to get points across—and get them across quickly. Use a statistic, percentage, or figure to hook your audience right away.
Example: Viewers retain 58% of what they see, but only 10% of what they read (source)
- State a common misconception.
Surprise the audience with a common misconception. This gets the wheels in their heads turning right away and makes them want to read more.
Example: Contrary to popular belief, bears don’t hibernate. (I know this isn’t about marketing, but it is true…and I am in SHOCK).
There’s no perfect way to hook your audience, but hopefully, a few of these ideas will help you battle the diminishing attention spans of today’s consumers.
Good luck out there!