Don’t you touch that remote!
We’ll be right back.
Keeping viewers tuned in is important for all forms of media. When it comes to websites and online articles, longer visits increase the chances of a visitor making a purchase, clicking on an ad or taking another desired action (signing up for an email list, contacting you, or coming back again for another article).
Although most content creators don’t think of what they are writing in the same manner of a television show needing to keep viewers attention through a commercial break, more attention should be concentrated on after-click engagement. We put a lot of time and care into crafting titles and marketing articles on Twitter and Facebook, but what about making sure those who click on our pieces of content don’t immediately click off?
For the introduction to the Clicking Off Content series, I started with Why We’re Clicking. In the second part of the series, I highlighted the reasons we bounce off of an article, which is leaving within the first 30 seconds. Before tomorrow’s finale of how to make bounce-proof content, we’ll take a look at how to get viewers to stay on your page.
Ways to Get Them to Stay
- Beat the 10-Second Window with Value
According to Nielsen Norman Group, to earn several minutes of your visitor’s attention, you must clearly communicate your value proposition within 10 seconds. As demonstrated in their chart below, the first 10 seconds are the most important to convince a user that their stay will be worth their time. Teacher Lilian Velazquez Acosta stated, “If you want to fascinate your reader, choose to stay factually concise. If you want to bore them, become the university professor who lectures and still today is unable to use technology.” Don’t bore your reader!
Offer value right up front and engage them from the start. Don’t worry as much about hiding the ‘secret sauce’ until the end because you might not have an audience left to read it. My attempt at television phrases to begin the article and the image at the top were both aimed at getting you interested enough to give me another 10 seconds (I’m giving myself a pat on the back right now).
The ability to teach the reader can both attract clicks and keep readers on an article. If you are providing unique and valuable information throughout, your target readers will be likely to stay. We read to learn. Teach them something, and they’ll keep reading. This is where pulling outside data, statistics, and graphs (see above), help provide additional value.
- Pictures & Design
We truly are like little kids. My one-year-old will stare at pictures for hours, but if I try to get him to sit still he’ll run away from me. Pictures are a time-tested way to get the attention and interest of visitors. Use strong imagery that is relevant to your content and be very conscious of the design and flow of your webpage and article (bullet-points come in handy).
- Relevant Information
While it may seem similar to learning, relevant information is simply delivering what was promised by the ad, image, or headline that the visitor clicked on. It might be a silly game, but if you decide to read The Coolest Story Ever and it turns out to be about lame city, you’re not going to stay for the end of the story.
- Short Messages
Nearly every person I surveyed for the series recommend being short with no fluff. As you can see with the average site visit being around 20 seconds long (referenced in part 2), we have short attention spans. Know your audience, and deliver what they want in a timely manner. You can engage an audience with a long-form article, but you should build a relationship with them first. One of those surveyed, Thomas Cambria, said “Short and sweet is usually the key.” On that note, I’ll leave you to think, and kindly ask you to join me for tomorrow’s final act: Creating Bounce-Proof Content.