It could be a picture or an infographic. It could be bold text or a pull quote. Now, the goal of marketers is to create content that holds your attention after it's grabbed.
Making Content Consumption Easy in a Scroll Friendly World
Here's the truth. Most people are not reading every single word you write. (Oh, the burn!) If you're anything like the average scroller, you've read all the bold headings before reading this first, seemingly long paragraph. Why? To see if it is worth your time. I'm honored you got to this point actually.
Now, if you know this as a marketer, you must organize your content in such a way that helps your scroll happy readers follow what you're saying. Here's a few tips that I use in every piece of content I write:
Use subheadings and bold them.
Shorten your paragraphs (Remember when your language arts teacher told you that you need 5-7 sentences in each paragraph? Not true anymore).
Make your strong points in bullets (Like this).
Add pictures, pull quotes, infographics, etc. where appropriate to slow your readers down.
Write as if you are talking to your reader - it should only take me one time to read over a sentence. (Don't over complicate sentence structure. I strongly suggest http://www.hemingwayapp.com/ to check yourself).
Hey Kid, Don't Look Desperate
Have you seen those PowerPoint slides that have 48 point font, bold phrases in bright red? Is it just me or does it feel like someone is yelling at you? Just like most things, overcompensation in your content looks sneaky and untrustworthy.
Even when you make your content easy to consume, there will be people that will click away. It's okay to accept that your content isn't for everyone. Adding unnecessary bells and whistles can make your content overwhelming and cheap. You don't want that...at least I don't think you do. Right? *Shrug* I digress.
Help Readers Notice Your Value...Faster
You have something important to say, so using large text, excessive bold and extreme colored text only makes it look like you're hiding something. If your content is good, it should stand alone. Making content easy to skim just helps readers see how valuable it is faster...before they scroll on by.
Marketing 101: Adapt to Behavior
If my audience watches television, I meet them in their living room. If my audience uses mobile technology, I make my website responsive. Wherever my audience is, I meet them where they are. That is how marketing works. Therefore, if my audience is full of impatient scrollers, I must adjust.
Make it so that your audience sees what they need quickly and give them enough information to consume once they slow down. You also want to make sure they can seewhy they should care about your content just as clearly as they see what they should do next after reading it.
Be Aware of Your Actions | Empathy is Key
I'm a big advocate for promoting empathy (Hence my Twitter name, @EmpatheticDG). Great marketers place themselves in the shoes of their audience. By doing this, you can align with your audience and be aware of your bias.
As it relates to scrolling, try doing this when you are reading content. Are you skimming and looking at the pretty pictures or do you read top to bottom? What would you find useful at different areas of the content? What are you annoyed by? Take into account all of these and employ them in your own content.
Personally, I would probably be just about done with this blog because it's getting too long. That means I'm done here. See how that works.
Now that you're done reading the headings, are you going to read it in its entirety now?
Respond if you read the headings first. I'm curious. I could be the only really impatient one.
Thanks for reading and don't forget to keep it genuine.