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Tips on How To Craft Engaging Content In The Age Of TikTok and Short Attention Spans

Updated: Nov 1, 2023

I’m not much of a TIk-Tok scroller but the other day something weird happened: I caught myself skipping tracks I genuinely love on Spotify after just one verse and a single chorus. It got me thinking more about our attention spans and how they’re getting a serious work-out in this tech-driven world.

I mean seriously, have my attention skills shrunk that much that I’m now swiping through my favourite tunes like it’s the last day on earth?

Our phones have practically given us a backstage pass to the entire world, connecting us like never before. We've turned into these info-craving junkies, constantly swiping through Google searches, email checks, social media stories, and news snippets. Remember the days of waiting until we got home to hop on the computer, or, let's go old-school, a trip to the library? Yeah, those are ancient history now.


Lets face it, we are training our brains to skim and scan rather than dive into the depths of engagement.

So, how do we craft content that grabs and holds us in this modern age?

Lets look deeper into this fascinating world of attention spans and how they've been flipped on their heads by the likes of TikTok and Netflix.



The Attention Tug-of-War: Short Versus Long


We're living in an era of contradictions. While we are constantly wishing for more hours in the day to complete daily tasks, we often find ourselves glued to our screens for hours on end, devouring entire seasons of TV shows on streaming services like Netflix.

But here's the twist. Ask someone to sit through a two-hour movie. Suddenly, their attention span shrinks to that of a goldfish. What's up with that?


TikTok Swipes: The Force behind Short Attention Spans


So who or what is the main culprit for our dwindling attention spans?

Now I don’t want to point the finger here, but the number one name that comes to mind when someone mentions short attention spans, is TikTok.


TikTok is the most downloadable app in the world. With over one billion users worldwide, this app has definitely become a problem amongst our Gen-Z population and it seems to be spreading to the older population too. I don’t even have to view my teenager’s screen time usage to know that TikTok tops the list every week.

TikTok has mastered the art of capturing our focus in mere seconds. It’s algorithm continuously delivers us similar content to what we have watched previously. Whether it's a hilarious skit, a dance routine, or a 15-second tutorial, TikTok has taught us to be picky with our attention. If it doesn't deliver instant satisfaction, a simple swipe of the thumb and instantly we have something new to tickle our fancy.


TikTok has conditioned us to swipe, skip, and scroll faster than ever before. It's like a summer fling that's all intensity and no depth that leaves us feeling empty when its over and craving for more.


TV Series Binges: The leader of Sustained Attention


Now, lets look at a platform that can sustain our attention for longer periods of time. Streaming services like Netflix provide us with endless choices of movies and TV shows to watch, most with entire seasons available.


However many of us believe we don’t have the capacity to sit through a movie anymore and opt for a TV show instead as we feel it’s shorter and easier to get through.

But, what ends up happening?

Before we know it, we have watched five episodes straight, and dawn is peeking through the curtains. We could’ve just put on a movie and gone to bed at a reasonable hour or even better, fallen asleep during the movie.

So, what is it that gets us clicking on the next episode button?


A binge-worthy TV series has several qualities that pull us in. One of the main ones are cliffhangers. Every episode leaves us hanging on the edge, desperate to know what happens next. It's a psychological trick that keeps us hooked.


This puzzle is proof of the power of storytelling. We get completely invested in the characters and their stories. Each episode feels like a little burst of dopamine, with a perfect mix of satisfying our need for closure and the excitement of waiting for what's next.



5 Clever Content Writing Tips For Short Attention Spans

As a content creator, this shift in attention dynamics poses both a challenge and an opportunity. How do you craft content that not only grabs attention but holds it in an age of split-second decisions and fleeting interest? Here are some clever content tips for short attention spans.


1. The Art of the Hook: Headlines and Openings

When it comes to crafting content, first impressions count and your headline is your chance to make it shine. Think of it as your golden ticket, inviting your readers into a world of words you've carefully crafted together. It's the hook that lures them in, that makes them hungry for what you're about to serve.


So, don't hold back. Create punchy headlines that emit intrigue, provoke thought or are a little bit controversial.


Opening lines are just as important. They act like the opening scene of a blockbuster movie. They need to deliver a punch that stops thumbs from scrolling dead in their tracks. Opening lines should spark curiosity and leave your readers without a choice but to stay and explore what lies ahead.


2. Short and Sweet: Break down content for a seamless read

Avoid long paragraphs- they are the enemy of attention. Break your content into easily digestible portions. Use subheadings, bullet points, and short paragraphs to create a sense of flow so that your content becomes a breeze to skim and scan.


Here’s a key tip- mix up the rhythm in your writing by varying the length of your sentences. That way your readers won’t get bored in monotony, they will stay engaged and follow your message with ease.


3. Use Images: A Picture Paints a Thousand Words

Sometimes complex ideas can be easily expressed with images or infographics. Why try and explain something in long descriptive text when a single picture can do the same thing. Images are eye-catching and can instantly grab attention. They’re a great way to break up your written content and keep your readers engaged in your message.


4. The Power of Storytelling: Form Emotional Connections and Ignite Interest

Everyone loves a good story - they tug at our hearts and connect us together.

In business, a great way to relate to your clients and build trust is through storytelling. You could share a personal experience or a case study that solves their pain points and challenges.


When you paint a vivid picture of a relatable scenario through storytelling, you add a layer of curiosity. Your clients will naturally compare your narrative to their own journey. This ignites an interest in them to find out more about the value your business could bring them.


5. Leave Them Wanting More: Craft Unforgettable Closings

Just like the way a cliffhanger leaves you breathless and wanting more, your closing lines should deliver a similar impact. Summarise your key points, tie them back to your headline, and conclude with a compelling call to action (CTA).


Your CTA acts like the finale of that binge-worthy TV series. It lingers in your reader’s minds and leaves them both satisfied and curious for what lies beyond.



In a world where our attention span resembles that of goldfish, we need to adapt our content to capture the hearts of our clients and hold them in.

I can help you infuse your brand with content that not only sparks curiosity and retains interest, but also delivers value.


Get in touch today, and let's make your business shine with content that resonates on a deep level.

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