How to write content for short attention spans
The creation of the Internet has transformed modern society. With the advent of computers, tablets and smartphones, we’ve become accustomed to browsing for food, clothes and even our jobs at the touch of a button. With near-instant access to the online world, glancing at our screen when we’re supposed to be doing something else has become our version of multitasking.
One result of this revolution has been our decreased attention spans. With the human concentration span now lasting only eight seconds– shorter than that of a goldfish- content writers have had to adapt if they want to snare browsers and pique their attention for long enough to read their article. And while content production continues to rise, content engagement dropped by 17% last year.
With content creation a key part of engaging a potential job seeker, it’s important you know how to write content that does engage if you want to increase your traffic rates, and ultimately, job applications.
Here are some tips for doing just that.
Do your research
One of the best ways in which to hook the attention of the modern reader is to write content that you know will appeal to them. Though 30% of content marketers have no idea what a successful content marketing strategy is, the key to doing this is to sit down and do your research before you start writing.
Create a content calendar; create a client persona and figure out what they want to know. Your content should be helpful and informative, so write information that appeals to that sector. If you want to, why not have a look at which of your competitors are getting the most engagement on social media channels, and for which content? You can even get a little hands- on yourself by conducting polls and surveys, and writing an article based on your findings.
Work on your formatting
Did you know that less than 20% of the text on the web is actually read? People’s attention spans are slipping, so you need to keep up: write shorter articles, and break your points down under headings, or into easy-to-digest bulletpoints, to aid your readers. Avoid overlong sentences, and write in short paragraphs.
People also tend to ‘scan’ text in an ‘F’ shape, with the majority of their attention being saved for text ‘below the fold’, as users are more likely to scroll than read the first paragraph of content, saving their attention for the second paragraph. Take advantage of this: write a catchy hook, include your Call to Action, or your most interesting information here, as it’s more likely they’ll read it.
Become a thought leader
One good way to get people to read your content is to include text or articles written by thought leaders within the industry. Get people in your organisation, who might be better qualified than you to comment on a particular area, to contribute an article; if you want to increase your visibility for your own company, then take advantage of numerous industry conferences to raise your public profile. It might even help to interview a thought leader from outside your company for a contribution.
Nothing catches the eye more than a splash of colour or a cleverly-placed visual, especially as readers spend more time looking at pictures on a web page than they do words. Use infographics and visual aids like data visualisation to promote recall, and to keep your viewers engaged on the site. Similarly, by including images that stand out, and back up what you’re saying the rest of your content- which includes Calls to Action- throughout your content, you’re more likely to encourage a reader to keep scrolling to the very end.
And of course, including interactive materials like quizzes and polls is a great way of keeping people engaged.
Did we keep you hooked?
Why not give your brain a workout by checking out our recently-published whitepaper on the Future of Careers Sites?
Case study - npower
As one of Britain's largest energy suppliers, npower needed a careers website that reflected their heritage and leveraged their employer brand to attract candidates.