As both participants and observers of the 21 st century, we all know that time is becoming increasingly commoditized. 3:30pm rolls around and we’re lucky if we can spare the 80-second walk to the vending machine for Cheetos. So with the shift away from traditional, interruptive marketing, it’s never been more important to grab your demographics’ attention- fast.
These days the most effective marketing campaigns can be consumed in the time spent on hold making a reservation for at that new restaurant your friends won't shut up about. So, to keep you up to speed, here are a few simple and (that’s right) quick modifications for the time-constrained blogging masses:
1. Make Your Headlines Short and To The Point .
There’s a time and a place for packing in your informational punches, and that's in your body paragraphs. But for your headlines, stick to concise, direct, single sentences that will immediately draw in your reader. When you try to cover too much too early, you run the risk of overwhelming your reader and before you know it they’ve abandoned your site altogether. Think of your content as a wonderful meal. The headlines should be like a palate-cleansing amuse-bouche, (#French-slang-for-appetizer), enough to get them interested, but not weighty enough to constitute the whole meal -- I mean, article.
2. Use The Introductory Paragraph to Develop an Overarching Structure.
Odds are, there are three instantaneous factors that determine whether or not someone chooses to read your blog post. Those three things are (probably in this order): the title, supporting image, and introductory paragraph. If you haven’t earned their readership by that point, it’s probably in your best interest as well as theirs that they stop reading; you understand - you’re busy too!
3. Structure your Text with Clear, Actionable Bullet Points.
It doesn’t matter how valuable the information or how devoted your following, people skimming your content is just part of the game. To cater to the chronically time-crunched (or the clinically A.D.D.) make sure that even if they do only glance over your bullets, they click away satisfied. If you can’t get the overall gist of the article from its catchy little intro sentences, it’s time to consider narrowing down your topic or approach. Remember, in all likelihood, your reader’s train is about to go through a tunnel and their iPad is about to lose network connectivity; you can’t afford to waste time on anything that doesn’t help demonstrate your point in a digestible time frame.
4. Be Aware of the Content Quality Beneath the Fold.
Everyone hates it when their trackball is suddenly a factor in finishing what they’re reading. But remember when I said don’t waste time with anything irrelevant? I meant ever. Even below the fold. That said, if you’ve ever read anything that you had to pinch to resize, this problem has already crossed your mind. It’s critical to make absolutely sure your pearls of mind-expanding wisdom fall above the fold. The less time at your reader's disposal, the less forgiving they’ll be about you holding out until the penultimate paragraph before offering anything of value. This is not to say that needing for a scrollbar entirely negates your readers’ demand for overall quality, but it is important to bear your demographics’ impatience in mind at all times.
5. Make Sure the Content You Create is Worth the Time.
Before you even spend the time it takes to outline your article, stop and consider how relevant and empowering the content will be to whoever takes the time to read it. Does it have a clear call to action? Is it noteworthy as well as informative? What is the service or positive impact it offers? If nothing else, the answers to these questions should be abundantly clear. Delegate your precious time between topics that offer new insights into relevant areas for your desired consumers. Your readers will appreciate that your content can add value without demanding too much of their time.
6. Consider How Concise the Objective of Your Article or Post Is.
If you’re on a blog-writing bender, it never hurts to break your original idea into an article with more than one installment. Approaching the larger topic with the intention of a breaking it down into few bite-sized portions is a great way to hone in on a more direct, specific topic. This strategy also gives you the chance to hone in on valuable information that otherwise might have been glossed over. Regardless of the portion you ultimately decide upon, just like how a few bites of mom's casserole will always win against even warehouse stock-supply quantities of cheese-poofs, it’s the quality that counts.
Originally published Aug 3, 2011 5:00:00 PM, updated October 20 2016
This is a guest post written by Janet Aronica. Janet is the head of marketing for Shareaholic, a company that creates content sharing tools for publishers. You can follow Shareaholic on Twitter @Shareaholic and get daily content tips on the...