10 Ways to Reach Distracted Readers

February 2017

Source: Thinkstock

Earlier we provided tips for reaching time-challenged readers. An equally pressing problem is gaining the attention of people already engaged elsewhere. They need a reason to stop what they were doing, or planned to do, and instead focus fully on your content.

This is the challenge for graphic designers, illustrators and photographers, whose role in custom content and content marketing creation is to draw in an audience. It’s also one of the ways Twirling Tiger Media is different from some other boutique content companies: we believe strongly in utilizing the powerful synergy between words and imagery.

These elements, words and imagery, can live alone, but in the age of a visual culture,
data proves that imagery elevates engagement. Picture this:

• People remember only 30 percent of what they read.*
• When the same information was paired with a relevant image, people retained 65 percent of the information three days later.**
• Sixty-five percent of senior marketing executives believe that visual assets (photos, video, illustrations and infographics) are core to how their brand story is communicated.*
• Content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without relevant images.***

Based on my decades of experience in this area, and slew of design awards as validation, here are 10 tips to grab someone’s attention, when attention is in short supply.

1. Pair your copy with a strong, supporting image…something that will resonate with the reader on an emotional level.
2. Use numbered lists…everybody’s interest is piqued by “10 Tips for Raising the Perfect Teen.”
3. Offer a simple and unique design, but not too Spartan.
4. Be creative with headlines and decks. Designers love pithy headlines.
5. Know your audience…too clever a design may not work for them.
6. Use white space…in between paragraphs and margins.
7. Use different shapes. Circles are irresistible.
8. Strive for a balance of copy and images on a page.
9. Create a rhythm by repeating a format or elements.
10. Avoid clutter on a page—it’s visually overwhelming.

And there you have: practical advice from a seasoned creative whose garnered accolades and audiences through her artistry. Keep it simple. Keep on point. Keep in balance. And stay in great shape[s].

–Maureen Joyce

*Source: Lester, P. M. (2006), “Syntactic Theory of Visual Communication”
**Source: http://www.brainrules.net/vision
***Source: CMO Council