Interest vs. Attention Span: How to Engage Your Audience

by Madison Zizmer | Oct 5, 2021

What’s the formula to getting people to click and engage with your content? 

It’s no secret that in the world we live in today, messages are firing at us from all angles at all times. In fact, the average person views 6,000 to 10,000 ads per day and 100,000 words each day just during their leisure time. 

Research has shown that the average attention span is 8 seconds long, and you’ve probably heard the phrase that our attention span is shorter than a goldfish. What I would like to argue is that there is a difference between interest and attention.

If you think about it, humans pay attention to what they are interested in paying attention to. 

What makes people binge a Netflix series over a weekend if we can’t pay attention? Interest. 

What makes people sit through a 3-hour musical if we can’t pay attention? Interest. 

And what makes people stay up until midnight reading a thriller? Interest. 

On LinkedIn, Josh Braun, marketing and sales expert, recently posted –

“People don’t have short attention spans. You’re not holding people’s attention. I’ve bailed on 50 word posts because the second sentence didn’t inspire me to read the third sentence. I’ve read 3,000 word posts because each sentence motivated me to read the next sentence.” 

So, how do you grab people’s interest and keep them reading? Here are 3 questions that I like to ask myself: 

1. Did I make the content about my company/ me or my audience?

People automatically write off “salesy” content. Try to avoid using language that is all about what your business does and how great you are. Instead, make sure to offer something of value to your reader within your content. A good tip is to count the number of times you used language like – we, my company, our business, etc. For more tips on writing for your audience and not yourself, click here. 

2. Does the content solve a key problem or challenge for my audience? 

Let’s face it your audience doesn’t care about how awesome your business is. They care about what you can do for them and how you can help solve their problems. Writing content in a way that paints the future picture of what your audience’s future could look like with the product or service that you offer is valuable. A good way to test this is to ask yourself, is my content making my audience’s life – 1) better 2) easier 3) more interesting? 

3. Is the content engaging and easy to consume? 

Lastly, people want easily digestible content – short, sweet, and to the point. Try test using headings, bullets, emojis, lists, videos, infographics, visuals, etc., to entice your audience. Keep paragraphs to one or two sentences, especially across social platforms. 

So, the next time you sit to write, think about these three questions and what it takes to grab the interest of your audience.

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 by Madison Zizmer

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