In a world filled with a seemingly endless stream of content, all of which compete for views, it’s become all that much harder to convince someone—even a person with high search intent—to engage with your company’s content, let alone finish it.
Put simply, digitalism has contributed to the shrinking of the American attention span. As a result, businesses must go above and beyond to create content that grabs the reader and then doesn’t let go.
Fortunately, there are small tricks you can deploy that help with this, known as content helpers. To that end, here are four small additions you should be adding to your content to subconsciously influence the reader to stay on the page.
#1 Make it Readable
Few things will make a reader click in and then out of a page as quickly as a gigantic wall of text. As a reader, seeing that mountain is intimidating, especially if you have limited time. Not to mention, it typically indicates that the writer lacks the ability to clearly convey their thoughts in a succinct and organized manner.
Content needs to breathe. There must be a rhythm. And it needs to be formatted for readability. You can do that by:
- Varying sentence and paragraph structure and length
- Including white space and line breaks
- Breaking up sections into subheadings
- Using bullet points
- Including images and other visual aids
Taking such steps will make your content scannable. So, even if a visitor doesn’t have time to read the whole thing, they can quickly review it to get the gist.
#2 Add a Read Timer
The average reader will go at a pace between 200–300 words per minute depending on the quality and difficulty of the content. Therefore, if your content is 1,500 words, you can assume it will take the reader approximately 5 minutes to read.
Recently, one of the most common content helpers websites have been deploying is a reading counter estimate at the top of the article. This tells the reader before they begin how long the article will likely take them. Armed with this information, the reader can then decide whether they want to digest it now or bookmark it for later when they’ll have more time.
Similarly, for long-form content, a progress bar is a useful tool that helps the reader see how far they are into the piece.
#3 Create a Linked Table of Contents
Did you break up your content into multiple sections?
If so, consider giving the reader the option to skip to the meat of the article by directly clicking on the piece’s table of contents. This can be especially useful for readers who simply want a specific morsel of information but lack the time to peruse the entire piece.
For instance, let’s say you visit a cooking blog about making the world’s best chocolate chips, but the first 1,000 words are irrelevant—filled with personal anecdotes about baking, a history of chocolate chip cookies, tips on baking methods, and so on. It’s not until the very end that you actually get to the recipe and baking process.
Having a table of contents would empower the reader to jump directly to the section of interest.
#4 Split Up Your Videos
Similar to the table of contents, YouTube has recently rolled out video chapters, which allow you to: “Break up a video into sections, each with an individual preview. Video chapters add info and context to each portion of the video and let you easily rewatch different parts of the video.”
Adding chapters to your video makes it easier for the viewer to navigate through the entire piece via the timestamps.
Content Creation Services
These days, it’s no longer enough to simply produce content on a regular basis. With so many potential distractions, brands need to also give readers extra nudges to encourage them to consume their content.
Focusing on readability, adding read timers, and splitting up the content into digestible chunks are just a few of the ways you can help your content stand out.
Looking for more tips?
Semgeeks is a content creation company that can partner with you to produce and optimize your brand messaging. Whether it’s content marketing, PPC, SEO, or social media, our digital marketing expertise can help position you for success.
The Science Survey. Social Media’s Influence on Our Attention Spans. https://thesciencesurvey.com/editorial/2021/04/23/social-medias-influence-on-our-attention-spans/#:~:text=According%20to%20The%20Psychiatric%20Times,trouble%20telling%20when%20their%20%E2%80%9Csocial
Scholar Within. Average Reading Speed. https://scholarwithin.com/average-reading-speed
Google Developers. Video Chapters – YouTube. https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/9884579?hl=en
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