Here’s a great blog post from www.businesswordsmiths.com talking about readers new attention span.
Studies say that you’ve got 10 seconds to capture readers attention. Getting even shorter in time, they say you have 8 seconds to make a good impression. So how can you best deal with a readers short attention span?
The Jewish Impact : Within the Jewish market, there are numerous community listservs with thousands of email recipients (such as TeaneckShuls, BrooklynShuls, FiveTownsShuls, etc). If the recipients inbox are anything like mine, then it’s being inundated with various emails with a hug assortment of subject lines and posts for, about, and to the community. So if your subject line doesn’t grab them, you can forget about them scrolling down to read your post. Here’s how to best get your email read on these listservs:
The 3 Keys to Handling
Today’s Short Attention Span
* Speak to Emotion First, Intellect Second
A quick look at today’s top business news from Digg, has article as the top item:
Where Jamie Oliver Failed, Carrot Farmers Hope to Change the Way We Snack
Jamie Oliver tried to change the way kids eat with his (futile) attempts at changing the food that school cafeterias serve to kids. If you’re a parent, and you feel strongly about the health of your kids, this headline grabs you at both an emotional and intellectual level.
It creates curiosity by stimulating an already-existing desire to feed your kids healthy stuff.
The article itself isn’t terribly interesting, but about halfway down the page they include the following YouTube video from carrot farmers:
Obviously, this video is intended for the parents. It’s a tongue-in-cheek way to get the attention of parents, and give them a reason to “test” the theory that carrots can achieve the same status as junk food in their kids’ minds.
* Quickly offer a promise
What I like about the new carrot farmer campaign is that they quickly offer a promise, albeit a twisted promise.
They promise that your kids will think of carrots the same way they think of a candy bar, French fries, or some other greasy, sugar-enhanced snack.
They hit an emotional hot-button by bringing up the futility of getting kids to eat healthy food, and then have the audacity to promise a change in the way your kids think about snacking.
Your promise doesn’t have to be blatant, but it’s got to be clear in the mind of your reader. All of this will happen in a few short seconds in your headline and the first couple paragraphs of your copy.
* Deliver on the promise
The best way to keep your website visitors on your site is to deliver on the promises you make, and do so as quickly as possible. I know that I have a tendency as a writer to think that everyone needs several paragraphs of introduction before I get to the meat of the matter.
A lengthy introduction can help when you’re introducing a new product to people who don’t yet know that they need your product. Eugene Schwartz refers to this as your reader’s “level of awareness” about you, your product, and their need for your product.
Carrot farmers are betting that kids will eat whatever comes in a flashy package. The “delivery” of the promise in their case isn’t the product (carrots) itself, but the packaging for the product.
Time will tell if they’re right (I hope they are), and kids realize that healthy food can be just as enjoyable an experience as unhealthy food.
It’s a long shot for the carrot industry, but if it works, expect national brands to quickly follow suit, offering their snacks (healthy or otherwise) in flashier packaging.