Blog: Capturing an audience’s attention when focus is fleeting.

Present-day folks are a divided lot. With so many ways to zap our attention – phones, tablets, laptops, streaming services, YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, LinkedIn – all in our laps and all at the same time, where is anyone’s focus? Also, as a business trying to get eyes on your unique wares and services, how do you garner any of that attention?

Our Diminished Focus

Dr. Gloria Mark, a professor of informatics at the University of California, Irvine, studies the effects of digital media. In her book, “Attention Span: A Groundbreaking Way to Restore Balance, Happiness, and Productivity,” she looks at the decline of our ability to focus over the last few decades.

“In 2004, we measured the average attention on a screen to be 2½ minutes,” Mark said. “Some years later, we found attention spans to be about 75 seconds. Now we find people can only pay attention to one screen for an average of 47 seconds.”

That is not a lot of time to work with. So how do you catch someone’s eye, hold their attention, and provide valuable information in under a minute? I’m glad you asked.

Start Short

Mark Twain famously said, “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” While he’s right, compressing any meaningful content is much more challenging; taking that extra time to condense your material is worth it.

Twain’s quote also highlights another essential content component – adding flair. Short and to the point will only work if something unique catches an eye. Work some magic on your graphic, text, and video materials. To Twain’s example, it may take a bit longer to create, but the results will prove it was worth it.

Choose Your Platform

This topic is a WHOLE separate blog, but I will say this: understand your business, know your audience, and target your demographics. Content placement can be as important as the content itself. There are a lot of factors that go into it, but the most important is the type of business you are promoting. LinkedIn, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and all the others carry separate stigmas and attitudes around the content presentation. Do your homework, and don’t be afraid to A/B test to see what short-form content will work best for your organization.

Numbers Experience

It is no mystery, especially in the marketing universe, that shorter is sweeter. Snappy graphics, clever headlines, and immediate content always lead the charge. For our company, graphic and image-heavy content has a much higher impression and click-through rate than text. These posts also create a solid baseline tone for your online appearance. Yet, there is one accurate and fast king/queen for getting views. Behold the mighty short-form video.

HubSpot says, “Short-form video has the highest ROI of any social media marketing strategy as 30% of social media marketers plan to invest in it more than any other trend.” HubSpot goes on to say, “Short form ranks #1 for lead generation and engagement.” That’s right, #1 for lead generation and engagement. That’s a compelling argument to bust out your iPhone, start filming, and start being creative.

Short Form Take Home

Take your time to take up less of your audience’s time. It is a skill that will pay off in the long run.

Be short. Be concise. Be engaging. Be topical. Be informed. Be… hey, look, a squirrel!