Our attention spans are now said to be about eight seconds long – less than that of a goldfish. Is technology to blame for our dwindling concentration skills? Probably. But we’re not just bored. We’re impatient. And if our blog copywriting services have taught us one thing, it’s that losing impatient readers isn’t something brands can afford to do.
Are reading skills dead in the water?
Just over a third of UK adults opt for print newspapers to read our news. Despite this, scientists claim that reading on paper is a lot more enjoyable and beneficial to our comprehension and retention of information – worth noting that businesses are keen to create marketing collateral in print.
Of course, we all love a good story. Yet online, it’s no secret that many of us just read the headlines. Or, as nearly half of us do, look at social media to find the latest.
Why don’t we scroll down?
Fast access to everything online is something we all take for granted. And if we can’t have it all right here, right now, why should we bother?
The sheer volume of what is available to us online also plays a role. Countless articles, guides, and blogs to sift through on the web has spawned generations of impatient readers, guilty of switching from one piece of content to the next.
For content creators, this attitude is a significant challenge to overcome. Blog copywriting services need to up their game
Images and captions – detrimental to reading habits or important short-cuts?
Sometimes the image alone is what draws us in, rather than the headline. Recently, there has been a lot of discussion surrounding how images can fuel fake news. With a misleading caption, or indeed no caption, the mind can extrapolate a whole range of non-truths from what the eyes see alone.
‘Show don’t tell’ is writing gospel, and images do just that. But sometimes, a brand’s great efforts to portray a message can be warped. Peloton’s recent advert has come under criticism for just that. It depicts a woman receiving one of its exercise bikes for Christmas from her partner. She then documents her journey of using the bike every day. It turns out the message of ‘a gift that keeps on giving’ instead looks like a form of power-play where her partner is encouraging her to work hard to stay slim. Awkward.
Had we seen her asking for the bike to get fitter and healthier, we may have felt differently. Images and captions are always open to interpretation, but we should use words to steer the story we want to tell.
How do we keep them reading?
Tough question. Perhaps the solution is not only in the construction of language but also in the reader’s mindset. Therefore, it’s crucial for blog copywriting services to start with research – to understand your audience and make sure that content connects to their interests, needs, or values.
The topic then must be interesting and newsworthy. It sounds obvious, but when you’re so close to a subject, you may be biased about it’s appeal!
If you’re an impatient writer looking for a quick solution to engage impatient readers, try these writing tips. But be warned, this list is neither exhaustive nor prescriptive:
- The headline should not only be attention-grabbing but accurately depict what readers can expect from the content to avoid bounce
- Keep your introductions short and engaging – no hook, no catch
- Ask questions
- Include stats and quotations
- Break up your text – subheadings, one-line paragraphs, and short sentences are favoured
- Embed hyperlinks but don’t overload your article
- Source relevant images (contemplate your captions…)
- Find your unique business voice (tone of voice)
- Be social media and mobile phone friendly – readers often share rather than scroll, so think how your content is presented across multiple platforms to entice new readers
- Get your CTA sussed and make it clear
- Try telling a story
- You don’t always have to offer answers – sometimes the most interesting reads open more questions
Blog copywriting services
We’ve been writing for impatient readers for over 25 years, and our tactics have constantly adapted to keep ahead of changing behaviours and trends. But one lesson remains the same: content needs to be led by a robust strategy to make sure the messages are relevant and engaging from the get-go.
For our content strategy help or support on getting high-quality blogs turned around quickly, get in touch.