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The other day I was multitasking in the kitchen cooking and reading on my iPhone. I came across Business Week’s article on “27 Books Every Entrepreneur Should Read”. As I was reading the description of each book, I mentally escaped to a fantasy land where I had endless time to read and learn everything there is about starting a business, being a great leader, and standing apart from the rest…

And then it happened: my caramelized onions quickly turned into burnt onions and my dinner was practically ruined. By the time I resurrected the meal, I couldn’t even remember ONE of the books I had just read about on the top 27 list. There’s two lessons to be learned here:

  1. I should never be allowed in the kitchen
  2. Too much content can be too overwhelming and easily forgotten

The internet has changed the way we think and the way we literally see words on a screen. We do way too many things at once, that the reality is that we’re probably doing nothing at all. You probably have at least 12 tabs open in your browser right now and NO idea who you arrived at this blog article and why you’re even reading it. (But don’t stop reading now…it’s just about to get good.)

The average attention span in 2012 was 8 seconds. Eight seconds…do you realize how fast that is? C’mon – count with me: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven…wait, what are we doing?

distracted-ecard

A content marketing strategy is important, but keeping your readers attention is imperative. Here’s 3 tips to keep your readers engaged:

Tip #1: Grab Their Attention
On average, an office worker checks their email inbox 30 times per hour. So, chances are, if you’re not keeping your reader’s attention, they will defer to checking their email. Be sure to include an eye-catching title, compelling graphics, and engaging content to keep them interested.

Tip #2: Format Your Content
17% of internet page views last less than 4 seconds. That is just enough time for a user to read your article headline and scan the length of their browser window.  User larger font for headlines and break up paragraphs just after a few sentences so the page does not look overwhelming. Bulleted and numbered lists are a great way to also add some whitespace within an article.

Tip #3: Check Your Word Count
On web pages with 111 words or less, 49% of the words were read. On longer pages that averaged 593 words, only 28% of the words were read – which means, people are really only reading between 54 and 165 of your words. Try to keep your posts around 300 words and if you have a lot to say, then consider breaking it up into a series of posts.

Oh, and just in case you’re wondering: all statics came from The Associated Press and the average attention span of a gold fish is 9 seconds!

Jen Stretch

Jen Stretch is a marketing professional with a decade of web-based technical experience. Her core competencies include Salesforce.com and marketing automation consulting, implementation, and training. She is a certified Salesforce.com Administrator with five years of marketing automation experience.

Jen is also a enthusiastic cyclist and applies the same competitive spirit that she has on the bike to push businesses out of their comfort zone and beyond their perceived finish line.

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