You may have heard me say a time or two, that a goldfish has a longer attention span than humans. I’m not going to lie; I really wonder how they tested this, but they did.
The study also found that 77% of those between the ages of 18-24 reach for their phones when there is nothing to occupy their brain.
A short attention span makes it difficult to tell our story, whether personally or professionally. And if we can’t tell our story in a way that it resonates, then we’ll have a hard time reaching our big goals.
So how do we keep the attention of people who have no attention span? Well, we have to be clever and use some tricks of the trade.
I started writing about this challenge a few years ago, and it seems as if it keeps getting bigger. Well, game on!
Here are some strategies that are working now … at least until they don’t.
Here They Are … Copywriting Tips for Short Attention Spans
1. Start at the End
Now I’m not just talking about figuring out the moral of the story, but also figuring out what you want the reader to do?
Give you clear cues to and even if you lose your reader, which I hope you don’t, it’s should pretty clear where you want their cursor to land.
If you write for a purpose (which should always be the case), make it clear and easy for the attention span lacking reader to take action.
2. Use Power Words
Power words help the reader feel, and if the reader is feeling something, then they are more likely to hang around.
Power words command attention, nudge people to take action, and they usually get their way.
I’m not going to lie; there are a lot of power words, but words become more powerful when you choose the ones that fit naturally into your vocabulary.
3. Chunk Your Content
Make it easy for your reader to get the information they need and the information you want them to have.
Use titles, subtitles, bullets and numbers to group information together.
In a scrolling newsfeed society, scannable content is critical to keeping people engaged.
You might think it makes it easier for them to leave, but the reality is, if you make them work too hard to get what they need, they’ll drop you like a hot potato.
4. Keep it short
… Short titles and subtitles, short paragraphs (2-3 sentences max), short sentences (below 30 words), and short words (no sesquipedalians allowed). Enough said.
5. Does it Matter?
For each chunk of content, ask yourself, “Does it matter to the customer and does it matter to the action I want them to take?” If not, delete it.
This is one of the best copywriting tips for short attention spans. Regardless of the attention span, people pay attention to things that matter.
By some estimates, you should be prepared to remove 25% of the content you write during the editing process.
Now if you follow me at all, then you know I’m a rambler and a blatant over-writer. I ramble in text, just like I do in speech and I just can’t help myself.
I’ll never stop rambling completely because I feel it helps me make new friends (is it working?). But I’ve had to find a balance. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. I am a work in progress, for sure.
6. Edit And Then Edit Some More
One trick I learned to help me edit is to delete one of everything.
When editing: subtract one subtitle from your list, one sentence from a paragraph, and one word from a sentence (which usually results in eliminating more than one word).
What I’ve found is I’m able to get much more concise with my copy when I’m prepared to make some serious cuts.
7. Switch it Up
Nothing wears down a short attention span like the same type of content and format every day. Boring!
So switch it up between short and longer, text and video, and humor and “serious.” Give people a reason to keep coming back.
Bonus Tip: Be Consistent
And by consistent, I mean write regularly.
Nothing loses readership faster than inconsistency. Trust me, I know and boy, I’m guilty.
Short-attention spanners are more likely to stick with you if they like you. But you have to keep them engaged with new stuff.
Remember, their attention span is too short, so they are less likely to go out and find someone new to follow because that takes too much work.
Give them a reason to stick around.