Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Guest Blog: The Secrets to Catching (And Keeping) People's Attention

Guest Blogger: Margarita Peker, Klick Communications

There, you've already learnt secret number one. It's called the "curiosity gap" and you use it in headlines. It's that hook that makes you want to click - you need to make sure you strike the right balance between being too vague ("Things that help authors") and being too specific ("Curiosity Gap In Headlines Catches People's Attention"). The first isn't enticing and the second has taken away your reason to read.

Wasn't hard to learn something in 40 seconds, was it? What you're currently experiencing is a South by Southwest moment; you come away having a brain stuffed with lessons and ideas.
And this is a hilarious photo of a cat…

Since it's been almost 60 seconds from the time you started reading, it's important that we insert something awesome to give your brain a hit of dopamine, which will encourage you to keep on reading and hopefully last longer than 78 seconds — the average bailout point for content consumed on a tablet. You see even though we love a good story, we need to be hit with little motivators to ensure that our attention is not lost.

We could have given you something clever like a cool quote or fancy infographic, but we've also learnt that the production quality of content is not necessarily what makes it shareable or clickable. If you want something to go viral, it has to be something that makes ordinary people want to share. It also has to work on mobile, because if it doesn't work on that tiny screen that you're probably reading this off, it won't go anywhere.

Time for another one. And want to know why we all love those AKA pictures and memes? It's because humans want to consume as quickly as possible, and a meme is the quickest way to tell or read a story. Images have 20 times the virality and twice the reach of words on social media. Why else do we love them? Because when we're online, we try so very hard to be funny. It's believed that 60% of shared content online is humorous — even though humour does not take nearly as much prevalence in regular, offline conversation.

Still reading? Looks like you might be part of the largest consumer network this side of Jupiter. Bigger than the combined audiences of Fairfax, News Limited and CNN, we're going to guess that you're in the 'Bored-at-Work' network. Your network is actually the real reason there are no videos in this post, we didn't put in any videos, because that could give away the game to your hardworking (?) colleagues.

Next time you hear from Klick, it'll probably be on Twitter or Facebook and you will have joined the 'Bored-In-Line' network. We've got some tricks to keep you engaged there too.

Until then, remember:
- Frame your online content with headlines that have a 'Curiosity Gap'
- Insert nuggets of easy awesome every 70 seconds in writing (or every minute in video)
- Use pictures and memes to high speed your storytelling and get it shared
- Don't freak out over trying to create super fancy quality content
- Remember your audience is on their mobile and / or at work.

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