How to get consumers to stop the scroll for your content!

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We live in an age of information overload. Cognitive overload is a thing! Every day, consumers are bombarded with a relentless feed of content as they scroll through their social media, news feeds, and email inboxes. Everyone is vying for precious eyeballs and vanishing attention spans, from friends and family to brands and publishers.

Yet even with the nonstop influx of content, consumers have developed “banner blindness” – the tendency to simply glance over anything that looks like an ad or sponsored post. Getting their attention for more than 1-2 seconds can feel impossible when they are scrolling on autopilot.

This is a huge problem for businesses that rely on customer attention and awareness to drive traffic, leads, and sales. If your content blends into the endless scroll instead of stopping it, you miss out on connections with potential new customers every single day.

So, how can you make your brand stand out? How do you create truly attention-grabbing content that hits pause on the perpetual scroll? This article explores key strategies for understanding your audience, optimizing for engagement, and continually refining your approach. Follow these tips, and you’ll have consumers stopping mid-scroll to check out what your brand has to offer!

Read next: Content is King, but Unique Content rules!

Understand Your Target Audience

The foundation of any good marketing campaign, including scroll-stopping content, is an intimate understanding of who you’re trying to reach. Consumer attention spans, and interests vary greatly depending on demographics like:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Income Level
  • Buying Stage
  • Values and Interests

What catches the eye of a 20-something urban millennial will look very different than what resonates with a Gen X suburban mom. Yet many brands take a spray-and-pray approach, putting content out there without a clear target audience in mind.

To create content that stops the scroll, you need first to research the demographics, values, and interests of your ideal customers. Here are some ways to better understand this audience:

  • Personas – Create detailed buyer personas that capture insights into audience pain points and motivations.
  • Analytics Review – Mine data on existing audience behavior from your website, social channels, and sales reps.
  • Surveys – Ask customers directly what they want to see more of.
  • Competitor Research – See what content and offers engage their audiences.

Once you know who you want to reach, you can craft compelling messages and tailored visuals. Content created for a vague, faceless crowd will never lead to real connections. Get specific and get personal!

create personas with AI

Craft an Eye-Catching Headline

Even the most beautifully designed visuals and layouts won’t stop the scroll if you don’t have an irresistible headline. Strong headlines promise value and spark curiosity and incentive to read more.

To create headlines that stop scrollers, focus on:

  • Being Concise – Long headlines often get cut off, hurting engagement. Keep headlines under 65 characters when possible.
  • Creating Curiosity – Ask unexpected questions, promise fascinating info: “The One Protein You Should Eat Every Day”
  • Offering News – “Just Released: 2024’s Top Yoga Retreats”
  • Identifying Pain Points – “Struggling With Meal Planning?”
  • Using Numbers – “10 Must-Have Gadgets for Frequent Travelers”
  • Avoiding Cliches – Find a fresh spin on tired phrases: “Forget Hustling Harder. Do This Instead…”
  • Being Ultra Specific – Hyper specific often stops scrolls through shock value: “Lose 3 Inches off Your Waist in 2 Weeks With This Workout.”

Test headline options out with your target demographics and see which makes them hit pause and want to learn more.

AI headline generator


Use Compelling Images and Video

While a great headline offers initial bait, compelling visuals reel scrollers in and get them fully engaged with the content, finding or creating photos and video aligned to headline promises should be central to any scroll-stopping content strategy. But keep in mind that sometimes text-only posts can get the job done as well – especially if the other option is a stale stock art image.

Some best practices include choosing eye-catching images – bright colors, interesting shapes, beautiful landscapes, and intriguing close-ups naturally draw attention. Use authentic photos – real images connect more than stock photography. Show people actually using your product or service. Align images and headlines – reinforce what was promised. For example, show food for food headlines and relaxing scenes for travel posts.

Optimize visuals for feeds – don’t assume images will be expanded. Make sure the central focus and interest stand out even when thumbnail-sized. Break up text with relevant graphics – scanners will pause on infographics, memes, flowcharts, and other visuals that support the information.

Add video. Create snappy explainer and demo reels ideal for mid-scroll pauses. Pay close attention to what visuals cause YOUR audience to hit that pause or like button as analytics guides optimization. Consider going on-camera and just sharing the story on-screen. You can use tools like Opus to create shorter soundbites.

create short soundbite videos quickly

Optimize Content for Scannability

You crafted a click-worthy headline and eye-catching hero image…but what next? How do you create an article that caters to the fickle scanning behaviors of readers on phones and websites?

Few people actually read word-for-word online. The rest skims and scans to find relevant information, quickly assessing whether it’s worthwhile to read and hunting for key facts and takeaways.

Cater to these behaviors by optimizing content for ultra-scannability:

Use subheadings – break articles into quick-scan sections. Start with key takeaways – summarize the most vital info first. Use lists and bullet points – scannable and easy to digest. Bold key terms and phrases – draw attention to essential snippets. Use short paragraphs – intimidating walls of text get ignored.

Add infographics – visual guides to key data stand out. Include white space – crowded text tunes readers out.

Formatting content in consumable, scannable chunks allows readers to extract value quickly. This keeps them engaged instead of leaving your content behind for simpler reads.

Read next: Unlock Creativity: The Benefits of Using an AI Headline Generator

Drive Urgency With Messaging

Beyond formatting for easy intake, smart content creators also build urgency through language and calls to action. This sense of urgency taps into psychological response, creating a fear of missing out if the reader doesn’t continue engaging.

Write better calls to action here!

Some ways to drive urgency include using time-sensitive language, such as “for a limited time only” or “ends soon!”

Social proof tactics: “400+ people have joined the Waitlist.”

Scarcity and exclusivity messaging: “Only 50 discount codes left!”

Calls-to-Action: Provide clear direction for next steps: “See New Arrivals”, “Download Guide”. Deadlines: “Sale Ends Friday” or “Register by Nov 5th.”

Pressure tactics: “Don’t miss out again this year!”.

Savvy integration of urgency builds anticipation, incentivizes action, and stops passive scrolling by creating a tangible value to engagement.

Create Content That’s Unique

With so much repetitive and recycled content online, producing original writing that provides value to readers is key to standing out. As a writer, making the effort to create quality, one-of-a-kind content should be a top priority.

Struggling with this? Hire a ghostwriter!

What does it mean to create unique content? Unique content means offering a new perspective, sharing lesser-known information, providing original analysis, or using your own experiences to connect with readers. It goes beyond regurgitating the same facts and ideas on a particular topic that exists online. Unique content is content that gives readers something they can’t get anywhere else.

Generic, repetitive content quickly bores readers. By crafting content tailored to your audience that offers something fresh, you capture attention and create an engaging experience far more effectively. Readers crave content that resonates on a deeper level.

Creating well-researched, high-quality, unique content demonstrates knowledge and expertise on a topic. Become a credible expert that readers can trust. Building trust earns audience loyalty.

Test and Continually Refine Your Approach

Test, test, test to see what works and what doesn’t. But also keep in mind that you might need to give it some time to work. Regardless, never stop testing and evaluating.

Creation matters, but so does appropriate measurement.

Understanding Content Success Measurement

Marketers must dig deeper into customer engagement rather than fixate on basic metrics, said digital analytics expert Dana DiTomaso on “The Business Storytelling Show.” After all, the success of a piece of content comes down to resonating with your audience’s interests and needs. If visitors don’t actually consume and interact with content, can you call it successful?

“For publishers and content platforms monetizing through ads, increased engagement also directly translates to higher revenue,” she said. “The same applies if you eventually convert those engaged visitors.”

Metrics to Quantify Content Engagement

So, what specific metrics should marketers focus on to quantify content engagement? Dana highlights a few key ones:

Content consumption time – Did visitors spend enough time on a page to realistically fully consume and digest the written or video content? For written content, compare time on the page to expected reading time based on word count.

Scroll depth – How far down on a webpage are visitors scrolling before leaving? More scroll depth indicates increased interest and engagement. Visitors willing to consume more content are less likely to bounce.

Consumed vs abandoned visitors – Based on time on page and scroll depth, categorize visitors into groups like consumed (spent substantial time), hoarders (plan to consume content later), skimmers, and those who abandon quickly. Compare groups across different content pieces.

PDF downloads – For longer written content offer a PDF download option. Track the number of PDF downloads as an engagement metric. Shows content intriguing audiences for offline consumption.

Content copying – Using Google Tag Manager, detect highlighted text that visitors copy from articles. Shows specifically what information proves valuable enough for them to save and share.

It’s also crucial to layer in context around your target audience and business goals when analyzing content metrics. For example, a healthcare blog post going unexpectedly viral across a general web search doesn’t indicate success if it isn’t resonating with the core target audience. By honing in on metrics aligned with audience needs, marketers obtain actionable data to optimize content for those they aim to reach. Numbers without context only reveal part of the story.

The Importance of Understanding Engagement

While headline metrics provide a pulse check on content, engagement metrics unveil the true substance audiences crave. As Dana sums up, “You’re not saying to the client, look at all these pageviews. But your conversion rate has gone down the toilet, you’re saying your conversion rate is good, because we’re driving the right people to this post.”

Targeting the metrics demonstrating quality engagement leads to conversions rather than chasing vanity metrics and incompatible audiences that inflate perceptions but don’t move the revenue needle.

Stand Out With Strategic Content!

The nonstop feed of content, ads, and information threatens to make every brand, offer, and piece of content blend together. But cutting through the noise to connect becomes possible for brands willing to do the work of constant optimization and experimentation.

Follow these best practices to understand exactly who you want to reach, create messages and urgency tailored specifically to their interests, and continually refine approaches based on real data. Do this, and your web traffic, leads, and sales from content will soon have consumers stopping mid-scroll to see what your brand has to offer!

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