How to grab the reader’s attention in online content
Before we begin, I want you all to know that I wrote this entire article completely naked and covered in maple syrup.
Unfortunately for the ladies I’m making that up, but did reading it provoke a reaction? Confusion? Disgust? Pity? I hope so. If you reacted with a quiet indifference, then I’m a little frightened and clearly you are on the wrong site for that sort of thing.
However, the point being that if you had any sort of reaction to that line, then it’s done the job. It engaged you. That’s exactly how you need to write when thinking about content. It’s got to grab you by the eyeballs immediately. Reports show that the average online attention span is around one minute.
You’ve got generally around 5 seconds to impress someone who is reading your content. After that, their attention is on par with an amnesic goldfish. So the first part of it should be a killer. It needs to make them stand up and want to continue reading.
This means nailing that first line or paragraph is crucial.
Have a purpose
If your content is informative and has a purpose, that’s great. Well done. But who is going to know that unless you get to the point and fast. Whatever the topic, you get there quickly. Whether it’s about if there is an audience for the saxophone jazz tragedy that is Kenny G to why there really shouldn’t be an audience for the saxophone jazz tragedy that is Kenny G, it needs to engage the reader as quickly as possible.
Think of it like a music mix track you want to create. The first song should always be a head raiser. The song that makes people stop and notice; Loud, interesting and focused.
A few ideas to consider including in your opening salvo might be:
- Maybe a quick statistic or fact related to the background of your topic
- Something that the reader might not know that leads into your topic
- A humorous anecdote related to the topic.
The key thing here is make it relevant, make it informative, and make it entertaining. If they are still with you after those 5 seconds then you’ve done a great thing here. But don’t rest on your laurels. You’ve still got a long way to go. But more on that later.
“Talent is helpful in writing, but guts are absolutely necessary.”