That’s the million dollar question, isn’t it? Readers and prospective clients are so inundated with information these days there is far less “reading” going on and a lot more “skimming” occurring. Today’s readers will pause long enough to take in headings, subheadings and the beginnings of paragraphs, and sometimes the first words of sentences…but it’s hit-or-miss after that. Whether you are creating content for your website or email marketing campaigns, your information needs to have a solid hook, strong headlines and top-notch content that is easy to read in order to make your visitors stop, consider and read.
Recently I had the pleasure of listening to copywriting expert Ray Edwards as he shared an interesting template to follow when creating stellar content. This simple template also gave me valuable new perspective on the above question.
According to Edwards, when creating content, keep “Skim, Scan, Scroll” in mind. These three points refer to the key parts of your content that are hugely important in capturing the interest of your reader and the parts you want to focus on as you create your content. Here’s the breakdown:
Skim: When happening upon your information via social media, your site or email, the first thing readers do is Skim. They skim your headline and the first few lines of your information. All the more reason your headline and leading sentences need to be to the point, interesting and even catchy.
Scan: These same readers then Scan the body of your content; focusing on subheadings and bullet points to determine if it’s worth their time to stop and read. Having meaningful or clever subheadings and relevant information presented in an easy to digest fashion (bullet points, short paragraphs) will ensure your reader does not hit the back button and go on their merry way.
Scroll: Readers will often scroll quickly through the entire article just to determine the length and if they have the time to spare to read your information. Any information deemed too long by time-crunched readers will get ignored and bypassed for shorter, easier to read content. Having information that is not too lengthy and also broken up into manageable paragraphs is key to getting your reader to stay engaged and prompt them to scroll back up to read your article in its entirety.
So the next time you are crafting an email, sales letter or blog post, keep these three critical areas of your content in mind and work to write compelling information that prompts readers to stop scrolling and read what you have to share.