The 8-Second Message: Branding in a World of Short Attention Spans

Vicki Woschnick
Posted by Vicki Woschnick on May 5, 2017


Today’s 8-second attention spans make promoting your brand a lot like peddling to Dug the Dog from Disney Pixar’s animated feature Up:


How do you get your message across before your audience starts chasing their next online squirrel? Here are some tips to develop attention-grabbing content:

Don’t Play Head(line) Games

Clever or intentionally ambiguous headlines may intrigue the click-curious, but having audiences guess at what to expect from your content wastes time. Keep headlines short and descriptive to keep audiences from bouncing quickly or passing on your content altogether.


Connect the Dots

Keep your content well-organized. A clear, easy-to-follow structure will keep readers engaged, even if they’re skimming. Sentences and paragraphs should be short, easy to read and sequentially on-point with the topic. If longer chunks of text can’t be avoided, use subheads, bullet points and lists to make your ideas easily digestible.

Hang Some Pictures

Relevant images like infographics, charts, GIFs and photographs do more than reinforce written ideas, break-up text or add some visual zing. They actually provide a mini-mental break that allows readers’ eyes to relax and their brains to process what they just read.

Switch It Up

Banner ads, Tweets, social media posts, Instragram snaps and Youtube videos all forego laborious write-ups in favor of the shareable experience. Don’t reserve these formats exclusively for elaborate campaigns—they play right into the short attention span wheelhouse. Given that 59% of people share articles on Twitter without even reading them and the majority of page views last less than a minute, there’s brand-building gold to be mined with the short-and-sweet hits.

Earn Their Trust

Making your case with social proof—that is, pointing to how and why key influencers are interacting with your brand—can be very convincing. Why? It’s a trust thing. Audiences connect what their friends and family think with tacit approval to build a relationship with you.

Don’t Forfeit Quality

Short attention spans translate to short engagement opportunities, but don’t fall into the trap of thinking that all content must be short. Long-form content that is relevant and provides a value-add for your audience makes for an attractive user experience. Length is secondary to quality, even in the eight-second mindspace.

Information overload is the way of the get-it-done-yesterday world these days, despite less attention being paid to it. With some careful content curation, you have narrow but meaningful opportunities to connect your brand and audience.

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Topics: Business Branding, Content Marketing

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