How To Catch Your Audiences’ Attention in Under Six Seconds

The attention span of humans is now on the average shorter than ever before– about 8 seconds. Comical to say the least, but in practice what this means is that in the time it took you to learn of this new fact a majority of other internet users hopped on to this page and simply hopped out without batting an eyelid.

Getting hold of people’s attention is now a dicey game of hit and miss, but you can’t blame them really, with the vast deluge of information permeating our cyberspace every single minute, it’s hard to keep focus and focus on what’s important.

If you’re a content publisher looking to grab scarce attention, here are five strategies to consider.

Simple, concise and relatable is the best policy

People hate what they find hard to understand. If you’re going to catch them and keep them hooked then whatever information you’re presenting must be easy to understand and easy to relate with, especially on the first instance. An excellent way to do this is to introduce what you’re trying to present by piggybacking it on a familiar concept.

As an example, if you’re trying to introduce a new product into the market, you can hit the mark by outlining a problem with the competition’s product that yours does away with. Your audience is already familiar with the competitor product, and you’re offering something better – sometimes that’s all the information they need to keep their faces glued to the screen.

Master your content delivery channels

Every digital platform – the media through which most content gets to end-users – has its own peculiar set of written and unwritten rules. When you know these rules (and all the blind spots), it becomes easier to present your information in the manner that appeals best to your target demographic and the more audience-specific or tailored your content is, the more engaging it will turn out to be.  

Of course, these rules vary across the board for different digital platforms. Twitter, for instance, is the revered home for short and spicy bursts of information, so naturally, you’ll want to keep it toned down on there. Audiences on LinkedIn – a site for professionals – will, on the other hand, prefer detailed expositions on any subject matter.

Contrary to what you might think a video is not the magic wand for engagement

If you’ve been a publisher for long enough then you’ve probably come across the popular ‘video is everything’ school of thought – every major digital platform is moving towards video and you should too. Well, not quite. While video does remain a high impact content distribution format, it’s not a magic wand to fix all your engagement and conversion problems.

If you push bland unoptimized content through video, it’ll change very little. Worse still, it can actually hurt your current engagement. What you can, however, do with video to better engagement is to present otherwise bland content in captivating themes. ‘Captivating’ can be very subjective, but some evergreen strategies include, spicing it up with humor, artistry or controversy or better still, all three.

Take the direct approach

Sometimes all your audience needs to keep up with you is an answer to the question ‘why should I listen to you.’ And sometimes the perfect answer to this question is a simple truth. You’ve probably at one point come across fishy articles/videos/ads with what we like to call ‘clickbait’ titles. Something in the lines of:

                ‘This man shows the secret to making millions from home.’

                ‘How to succeed in an office environment.’

                ‘This is exactly how algorithms work.’

These titles will get clicks because they provide direct answers to questions many people have on their minds. You too can grab the attention of your audience by giving straightforward answers to the questions that are on their minds.

Finally, make it interactive

The internet is very one-dimensional. Everyone is pushing tons of content to web users, and no one bothers about their side of the story. As an internet user myself, trust me when I say it can get exhaustive and not to mention boring.

You know what’s not dull and exhaustive, however, Interactive content!

When content is presented as a two-way street, one where publisher debuts content and the input of the audience is sort for and appreciated, then the user feels the need to interact with the publisher. So when the user wants to interact with you as a publisher, then congratulations, you’ve successfully captured his/her attention. For the best part, it’s not just for 8 seconds – you get to decide how long you want to keep them hooked.

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