How To Create Content For Short Attention Spans

Do you know what the average human attention span is? 8-seconds! That is, in fact, shorter than that of a goldfish. This post is about how to snag that attention and NOT waste it.

> Mistake #1: Publishing your articles on your website and then sharing to social media.

OK, let’s analyze something so dumb it will make you mad. If you write an article on your site then post it to LinkedIn or Facebook, you feel like you are doing the right thing. Correct? Isn’t that what this whole game is about?

Well…. Yes and no. Yes, people want quality articles to feed their need for instant entertainment…however, no matter how great your article might be, did you ever stop to think of things like:

  • Your reader’s wifi speed? You could lose 2-3 seconds due to your site loading.
  • God forbid that you found a few hi-res images to include, but FORGOT to compress it? That’s another 2 seconds lost.
  • If you forgot to do the two steps above, then there is also a 99% chance that you also didn’t install Google AMP for faster mobile downloads. That’s another 2-3 seconds

These three mistakes alone total anywhere between 6 and 7 seconds. What does that leave you with…. a second left? Flat out – even if you compress and GoogleAmp your site, don’t take high risks with your blogging success. Ever notice how you Facebook never goes down and loads faster than the speed of light? If it’s an 8-second world, do you really have time to kill here?

But what about email capture on native Corinne?

Use Rabbut. Rabbut lets you create sign up forms or opt-in forms that you can “embed” within (inline, above, or under) your LinkedIn posts and Medium posts.

> Mistake #2: Not cashing in on the additional seconds that Social Proof buys you.

A lot of blogging success depends on Social Proof. What is social proof? Social proof is when people like, share + comment on your stuff. How much does it matter- it matters BIG TIME. Here is what I have found:

  • People are 10X more curious after something has been liked by their peers.
  • When people see that content has been liked by others, it often extends the readers attention span from 8-seconds to say 15-seconds.
  • People are 8X more likely to share something that has a lot of likes.
  • More shares mean more chances of additional views leading to additional likes.

See how this works?

All of the above is great. It’s what you want. It’s what you NEED. The only problem is, by publishing to your site, you are making likes + shares way complicated and highly unlikely of actually happening.

To get a reader to like or comment from inside your website means you are asking for way more than you could possibly imagine:

A. Your visitor, especially a first time visitor, has to “search for” your share icons.Your developer could have placed those share icons anywhere. Website templates have various styling issues that might also impact the placement. Either way, this hunt for the share button…say goodbye to 50% of people giving up on you and ditching the effort. By publishing native, everyone KNOWS where the share buttons are. This increases your chances of shares.

B. Getting comments on your site typically requires a visitor to be logged into either WordPress, Disqus or Facebook. God forbid your reader isn’t logged in on either. What about a password reset? You just lost like 5,000% of potential interaction.

C. The entire concept of providing MULTIPLE sharing options with a Share-To-Any button from a website creates more drama than you know. Say your visitor comes to your blog and finds the share button. Guess what he does? He does exactly what you offered him to do. He selects a channel to share on…

So what’s the big deal? Don’t people do this all the time?

Ok, so here’s what it is – it’s that extra little step of choosing which platform to share to that kills your users’ motivation to share.

Here’s what actually happens…

Whenever a user decides to share an article, he asks himself two questions:

  • How is this article relevant to the channel that I am currently on?
  • Is this going to make me look good on LinkedIn?

So, when you put the option to select from multiple social share options, your reader will begin to do what you told him to do —-> explore his or her sharing options.

So, he does just that. He begins thinking:

  1. Is it better or more appropriate for Twitter?
  2. Hmm, or maybe it makes me look better on Facebook?
  3. But what does this make me look like on LinkedIn?
  4. Maybe this is just better for Twitter, but I already made a post on Twitter today…
  5. …am I being annoying?

See how that simple option to pick from more than one channel to share across created several questions? So, what was just 2 questions for one channel is now 2,4, 8 different questions in a user’s mind. He’s already tired. Don’t burn your visitor out. ;-0

If you publish native, your user is already intent on maximizing his time on the channel he has opted into at the beginning of his online experience. Even if it’s the 10th time he has checked-in to the LinkedIn app to do the same activity “scroll for excitement”….the point is, if you published the post on LinkedIn, he is already in a “LinkedIn State of Mind” — and since he is on the channel, he only has to answer the original two questions regarding his share…

  • How is this article relevant to the channel that I am currently on?
  • Is this going to make me look good on LinkedIn?

The fewer questions a user asks himself – the more likely he will complete the action you desire him to take.

> Mistake #3: Trying to derail your users’ original agenda

Users are 12X more likely to read your content if you don’t disrupt their explicit original intention. What is an “explicit original user intention?” Very simply put: “Oh, I’m bored, I’m going to trail LinkedIn.” A study by ABC sites, “Millennials pick up their phone 150 times a day.” We all know that 99% of activity online is completely pointless and wasteful, but people still do it. Don’t try to go against their original intent. Stay within their agenda…which is usually “doing absolutely nothing.”

Alright, there you have it.

P.S. All of this has absolutely nothing to do with the actual quality of the content – you still have to climb that mountain yourself. Get to it!

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About the Author: Hi my name is Corinne Meier. I am CEO of MMG: Meier Marketing Global and I can always be found deep in the abyss of trends for all things digital, government, culture, and economy. I am hot on how micro-shifts in thinking lead to macro-shifts in behavior. I apply this collective wisdom when I counsel startups to Fortune 500 on how to stay relevant via MMG: Meier Marketing Global. If you prefer Twitter or Medium, please follow me there. I really look forward to connecting, please feel free to tag me in any items that you think are cool including #Writing, #ContentMarketing, #Communications, #Tech, or #GrowthHacking. Thank you so much for listening to my thoughts, please don’t forget to share your thoughts with me in the comments section below! ;0