Black and White Flower

Simple by Nana B Agyei | CC BY 2.0

Today’s customers have more devices than ever before, and they are tethered to these devices around the clock. In fact, according to Forbes magazine, 91 percent of adults keep their smartphones within arm’s reach and 90 percent of text messages are read within three minutes of receipt.

Meanwhile, the amount of time that people are spending on websites is dwindling, with 55 percent of readers spending 15 seconds or less on a website.

Customers are in a state of constant distraction.

With so much vying for our customers’ attention, how do we cut through the noise? The answer is simple: concise content. Making just a few changes can assist with attracting and keeping your customers’ attention.

Trim the Introduction

How do you read your content? Do you skim — or even skip — the intro and jump straight to the subheads? If so, you aren’t alone. The majority of readers consume content this way, especially when reading online, which is precisely why you should decrease the size of your introduction to capturing attention faster.

Tell a story. Cite a statistic. Do whatever it is that you want to do, and dive directly into the content.

Trigger Emotion

Have you ever read a good story to a small child? If so, you know the potential it has to capture attention. However, studies reveal that this power doesn’t stop at childhood — it carries into adulthood as well.

But why?

Hearing a story triggers chemical changes in the body, according to a study published by the Harvard Business Review. The body produces the neurochemical oxytocin, which is a “feel good hormone,” when listening to a story.

Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley discovered similar findings in a different study, finding that oxytocin was found when a person was listening to a character-driven story.

Infuse Pictures and Data Into Content

While the saying “a picture tells a thousand words” is old, the concept is very much alive today. Pictures assist with conveying your point faster. They evoke emotion. And they support storytelling.

Data points are also powerful because they can explain concepts that are complicated and would otherwise take numerous words to convey.

According to the Content Marketing Institute, eye-tracking studies also show that users, especially mobile users, view images more often than text.

Use Words, Sparingly

According to Mark Twain, “The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”

Generating concise content takes time and hard work. And it doesn’t necessarily mean shorter documents. Instead, it means content that’s concise, clear and uses fewer words for each point.

As marketers and sales professionals, we are racing against the clock to capture attention. But by changing the way that we create content, we gain the power to reach more readers, as they can consume what we write more easily and more effectively.

What are your best strategies for creating concise content and capturing attention?


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By Lou Barreiro

June 18, 2015

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