How to Create Content That Appeals to Short Attention Spans by HiP B2B [Marketing]


Editor's note: This article was originally published by HiP B2B and curated by Closer Spot. Please subscribe to get actionable news and advice delivered to your inbox each week.

The longer smartphones and smart devices have been part of mainstream culture, the more scattered and the less focused the general consumer has become.

This is in part because of the rush of dopamine that our brains accept when we get or respond to a message, see that we were tagged in a Facebook post, etc.

We read an article, get a hit of dopamine, the same feeling we get when we complete an action like writing a post or creating a piece of art.

The result is that no one reads articles completely, they only skim while taking breaks to glance at their cell phones, check their email, or scroll down their Instagram feed.

And yes, I know we typically talk about people in their work lives, since we focus on B2B marketing. This happens at work. Maybe that’s why the average office worker only works solidly for three hours each day.

That means they are often filling their time with all that digital clutter, which can often include the content you send to them.

How to make sure that, with all this digital noise, your audience stays engaged?
blog_post

Blog Posts 

Create Compelling Titles and Teasers
Titles and teasers are what tempt people into reading your blog post. Don’t neglect them. Spend time figuring out what works and what doesn’t.

For example, here at the HiP blog, we have a lot of success with posts that answer simple, but not frequently answered questions.

Keep It Simple Stupid
No matter how long your blog post, keep your sentences, paragraphs, and sections short. Remember, no one reads anymore, they are often only skimming. But your audience still wants to get value.

Give them that value in easy-to-digest formatting. I cringe when I read good blog posts, that suffer from daunting-block-of-words syndrome. When a reader comes across your page, if all they see is one giant paragraph, you can bet they won’t read your entire article.

Use Rich Text
Use formatting options to get the most out of your blog posts. As mentioned above, everyone is skimming.

Formatting options are tools for highlighting what’s important. Go beyond the header, use italics and bolded text to highlight important keywords and phrases.

By doing this, you ensure that the wandering eye and mind of the reader at least picks up on your most important points.

Obviously Use Images
As media progresses, less and less words are written. In lieu of text, visuals are used to tell the story better.

There’s a reason most of the young people have moved primarily, if not entirely, to Instagram. Photos and video are the future, so makes sure to break up large blocks of text with images to keep the user engaged.
infographics

Infographics 

Clean Your Copy
It’s funny that my first words about this visual content form are in the copy.
But be sure that your infographic quality is top notch. Not only should it be colorful, rich, and compelling, but also it must be clean.

Design programs like InDesign and Illustrator don’t have spell check, which makes the extra susceptible to typos and other errors.

Make sure multiple people comb through every line and every title for these issues.
There is nothing more embarrassing and harmful to your brand’s reputation than putting out a graphic or infographic with a typo. It screams a lack of professionalism.

And because infographics are some of the most popular types of content in B2B markets, you know someone will notice.

Don’t mess up your brand’s rep by skipping the editing step in your images. Your brand’s work will stand out with errors, but not in the way you want.

Use Powerful Colors
When you create infographics, make them pop.

People aren’t looking to read something heavy when they consume an infographic, so don’t feel constrained in using the bland, boring colors that many B2B organizations seem to favor.

Figure out which colors will draw the attention of potential viewers, then use those same colors to guide them through the graphic.

Use Fascinating Metaphors
What generally makes infographics compelling is their ability to take abstract concepts and relate them with something familiar.

Look at this infographic from HiP. We related the concept of lead nurture to feeding fish and the ocean.
HiP Infographic - A Deep Dive: 5 Answers to the Most Common Lead Nurturing Questions
This infographic was effective because it used an interesting metaphor for a concept that can be very dry and hard to visualize.
video

Video

Keep It Short
Unless you have something new and extremely valuable to say, keep video content short. Aim to keep your content between 1 and 3 minutes. Any longer and even an exceptionally good video will drag.

Make it Viewable Without Sound
This should be a no-brainer at this point. Videos that go on Instagram and Facebook especially should be designed to be watched without sound. This means captioning your videos accurately.

While obviously, you’d hope they would turn the sound on, a video without captions is more likes to get scrolled past.
email

Email 

More Rich Text
Using rich text, not overly formatted brand-stamped emails is becoming more and more popular.
Why?

They look more personal. They don’t look overly designed, which is a red flag to a group of consumers who have been getting bombarded with email content for at least a decade.

You can still send out branded, well-designed emails. But try interspersing those emails with simple, rich text emails.

See how they stack up against the branded emails and tweak your strategy accordingly.

Take Time With Your Copy
Email copy should be short and sweet. But that doesn’t mean it should be quick to write.
Make every word count in email copy.

From the subject line, which should hook the reader, to the text that shows up in the preview, these are all chances to grab a reader’s attention.

After you write what you think is good in your email copy, go back and reread it.
Cut every unnecessary word. Make sure each word on the screen has a purpose. Otherwise, you are just wasting your reader’s valuable time.

As the years pass, the world of content gets more and more competitive. Taking care to mind these tips makes it more likely that your content will get consumed. After all, you aren’t just making content for you, and nothing is more depressing than creating something that never gets seen.

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