How to Capture Attention from the Beginning

Attention spans are shrinking! In this era of multi-tasking, our attention to any one particular activity is getting shorter. One British study found:

  • The average British person has an average attention span of just 14 minutes.
  • While watching television the average adult loses concentration—usually to look at a mobile device—after just seven minutes.
  • A good book keeps the average adult’s full concentration for 15 minutes.

Eight seconds! Studies show that this is the amount of time you have to engage people online with your content.

We live in a world where people read more headlines than they do articles. As a result, grabbing your readers’ attention with your headline and your first few sentences are more important than ever.

Any content you create—a book, an article, a blog post, a newsletter, a podcast, a video—needs to capture people’s attention from the beginning. Strong starts are not only important in a book, they are important in any content that you create. A strong start draws people in by seizing their attention so that they want to read, hear, or view more.

With so little time to snag someone’s attention, a strong beginning is extremely important. You can use the following five ideas to hook people into staying for more in your next piece of content.

A quote
An interesting quote that creates an emotional connection, especially from a famous person, is a good hook. An emotional pull will keep your reader engaged.

A question
Draw your reader in and create intrigue with a question that resonates with your target audience. The reader will stay engaged to get the answer to the question.

A surprising statistic
A statistic that startles your reader grabs and holds attention. It is a great way to keep your audience reading to learn more.

A controversial statement
Nothing grabs attention like controversy. That’s why the media tends to highlight contentions. You can hook readers with an opening statement that is controversial and emotional for your readers.

An anecdote
People relate to stories. Sharing a short and amusing or interesting story about a real incident in your life or someone else’s life connects the reader to the material you are sharing. People love to read about life-changing moments or moments that create an “aha” experience where clarity is gained. Funny or embarrassing stories also draw readers in.

Related Posts:
How to Get More Attention for Your Books
Are You Paying Attention?
Five Tips for Staying Focused

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Photo courtesy of Olivia Spink.

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