It’s been said that human adults have the attention spans of goldfish. Which isn’t too surprising if we’re to believe the studies claiming that modern-day attention spans barely exceed 8 seconds.

But what does this widespread attention shortage mean for businesses and how they approach their marketing strategies? And how can brands ever hope to compete with these ever-diminishing attention spans?

Well, luckily there are a few methods for piquing people’s curiosity and holding their interest. Let’s take a look at a few. . .

Keep it short

When creating content, think in snippets, because that’s how people read.

Try to be brief and to-the-point. Remember that most people are more likely to stop and read a 30-word marketing leaflet than a 500-word essay.  

By keeping our marketing material (specifically the copy) snappy and functional, there’s a far greater chance we’ll see full engagement from our audience. Because it’s much easier for people to keep their attention focussed on small amounts of information, especially when they’re busy doing other things (which people usually are when they encounter any kind of marketing material). 

There’s also the fact that bite-sized content actually demands less attention in the first place. So you could say: the shorter it is, the easier it is to engage with. 

 Keep it relevant

In journalism, if you ‘bury the lead’ it means you’ve started a story by sharing details that are of secondary importance to the reader. In other words, you’re not being relevant. And it’s not only journalists who are guilty of such attention-pulverising crimes. Brands often ‘bury the lead’ in their content, talking about offers, products, or other things that don’t feel relevant to their readers in the given context.

To be relevant, simply lead with the lead. Consider what the content you’re producing is really about, and why someone would engage with it. Why would a reader click onto a particular blog post? What would they be looking to gain from that transaction?

By putting ourselves in the shoes of our audience, we can really think about what they find important. And when our content resonates and feels genuinely relevant, it’s guaranteed to hold even the shortest of attention spans

Keep it sweet

By sweet, we mean nice. Because no matter whether it’s a brochure, a website, or a print ad, it has to look nice

If what we’re presenting to the world isn’t aesthetically pleasing and eye-catching, then we’re already fighting a losing battle. After all, grabbing the attention starts with grabbing the eye. And we can’t grab the eye if our content isn’t eye-grabbing.

So it’s always important to strive for visual enticement, in whatever way works best. Again, it’s all about the aesthetic. And a quality aesthetic is the simplest, most direct, and arguably most effective way to snatch someone’s attention

Whether it’s illustration, photography, or iconography, just keep in mind that people tend to look at pretty things longer than they look at ugly things. So by creating something pretty and pleasing, we’re far more likely to receive sustained engagement from our audience. 

The big brand

For more on how to craft compelling marketing, why not take a look at our posts on how to improve your brand storytelling, and how to make content that sticks, compels, and sells.