Why The Average Reader is Like A Toddler

Whether you’re a business owner, marketing manager, communications strategist or copywriter, we all share the same problem: today’s readers have the attention span of two-year-olds.

And who can blame them?

From email inboxes overflowing with spam to the non-stop party bus that is social media, we are all bombarded with messages.

Try this, like that, share this. It’s no wonder that the average open rate for emails is only 34% and that 50% of readers will spend 15 seconds or less on an article.

Ok, even my toddler has a longer attention span than that.

So how do you get potential customers to open your beautifully crafted email, or to spend more than 15 seconds reading your content?

Here are some techniques I’ve learned from taming my own toddler.

The Element of Surprise

When I need to get my toddler’s attention I am not above jumping up and down to the theme song of Paw Patrol.

If you want to get attention, do something unexpected.

While singing might work for my toddler,  you’d be surprised at how well a really tantalising headline can do a little inbox ‘song and dance’ of it’s own.

Get Straight To The Point

When I need to explain something to my toddler I do it in 10 words or less.

Get. In. The. Car. Right. Now.

There’s no use explaining to him that the reason I’d like him to get into the car is because I urgently need to go to the grocery store before it closes to buy gluten-free pasta for Uncle Nick who is coming to dinner tonight.

He just doesn’t care.

Today’s readers are very similar. You have their attention for a very short window period so get to the point.

Use short sentences. Don’t be afraid to bold important content. Break up paragraphs by using bulleted lists or subheadings.

Timing Is Everything

There are certain times of the day when I would rather jump into shark-infested waters than go out in public with my toddler.

The 5-6pm slot is one of them. He’s unlikely to respond well to anything I tell him during this time.

Likewise, the chances of your audience opening  and reading your content depends a lot on when you choose to hit send or publish.

Sending email campaigns between 12-4pm will garner you a higher open-rate, while Monday at 11am is the magical moment to publish online content for maximum traffic.

And when it comes to my toddler, 7.30am is the perfect time to receive slobbery kisses and monkey hugs. It’s all in the timing.

So when it comes to getting your readers to sit down and pay attention, don’t be above using some toddler tactics. Offer them a treat, get straight to the point, and, if nothing else works, consider playing them the theme song to Paw Patrol.

(Ok, maybe not that last one.)

Image credit: Jordan Whitt via Unsplash.com