How to Capture and Maintain Your Reader’s Attention
By Jamie Valiente
By the end of these two sentences, you would have already decided if you wanted to keep reading or if you would rather scroll onto the next article. I say this because it takes 10-20 seconds for someone to decide if they want to stay or leave a website. As a result, it is becoming more and more important to be able to capture audience’s attention and make them want to know more.
As Chief Marketing Officer of Long Beach State University, Andy Hoang knows how to do just this by shaping stories in a way that captivates our attention and evokes some sort of emotion. Hoang emphasizes how stories need to be strategically shaped into ways that stimulate people’s senses. When our stories are able to make us hear things, see things, and feel things, it becomes more than just words on a page. Stimulating senses trigger emotions and therefore, create feelings toward something — more specifically, toward change. Hoang applies this ideology in Beach magazine’s stories such as The Sweet Life and Changing the Harvest. As soon as you start reading these stories that have vivid imagery and sound clips, you are able to identify with the subject and feel like you are walking through their stories with them. Creating stories as enticing as these is a skill that we must learn if we want to keep people interested in what we have to say.
To seize attention and achieve change, we also have to know what kind of stories to write about. Hoang notes that our topics should be relevant, captivating, dynamic, and humanizing. Anything less than this will fail to make an everlasting impact on people because they wouldn’t care enough to read past your headline or introduction. Similarly, writing a story that elicits no emotional reaction will lead to indifference. However, we want people to feel something; whether it be good or bad, anything is better than apathy.
In sum, as our communication channels expand in the years to come, it’s important to think differently and become more strategic in how we tell our stories. Moreover, if you’ve reached this point of my article, I’ve succeeded in capturing your attention for more than 20 seconds! Thanks Andy!
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