How Goldfish Readers are Hurting your Business

And what you can do about it

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by fotografierende from Pexels

Our digital world has made us unable to filter. And now we are goldfish readers.

Is this you.

You get on social media and see a post you like. You click, scan, and move on to another posting.

You call yourself the multi-tasking whiz, but really, switching attention like this isn’t productive.

People’s attention spans online is like the attention span of a goldfish — around 8 seconds.

Our digital world has made readers unable to filter. That Game of Thrones Facebook test made you switch focus, and now you’re wondering which character you resonate with. Or, you grabbed your phone to write your to-do list, only to end up checking Instagram for any cool giveaways.

Now imagine, you’re the business owner and are trying to grab people’s attention for more than 8 seconds.

Maybe you’re the stay-at-home mom that decided to start a craft business.

Or, you decided to offer a freelance writing service.

Whatever the case is, you want people to land on your website, read your content, and stay on your site.

And, the longer they stay reading your blog posts, the more sales you’ll possibly achieve.

This means more writing = more sales.

But, we just learned that the average user online has an attention span of only 8 seconds.

You’re thinking — you want me to write 3,000-word blog articles? That won’t work.

Yes, it will — let me show you. Here are five writing tips to help you gain an audience for your business.

Make your titles snap

Whether you’re trying to land a job with your cover letter, or you’re trying to write an email for your new subscriber, your title is everything.

The goal is to up the curiosity of those social media scrollers. How will they stop on your Instagram post or Pin?

By using strong How To headlines.

Image for post
Image for post

For example, my pin title for my post shows it’s a How To.

When people read this on social media they know that this piece of content will help them solve a problem.

Many people go on social media not only for entertainment reasons but to learn. Capture that audience by using How To in your title.

Another way to add more snap to your title is to use strong adjectives.

Image for post
Image for post

For this pin title, I used “crucial” instead of the main title word “important.” Using that strong adjective made pinners stop on my pin to click, and see what crucial things those are.

Tell a story

Monica of Elgin Avenue shares a lot of personal stories about her life.

She has a lifestyle blog and her audience wants to know more about her. When you share authentic stories, you create a tribe of followers. This is the holy grail for any business — and Monica does it beautifully on her blog.

Image for post
Image for post

Or take this personal essay on a mom's delivery story.

Consider the WIIFM factor

The crux of any successful blog or business is understanding their audience. Who is visiting your business?

What is their avatar? I personally blog to other moms or writers. I envision how old they are, how many children they have, what work they do, and what their interests and challenges are.

You have to dive deep into knowing that audience so that you can serve them better.

Because anyone who reads anything online is always thinking — what’s in it for me (WIIFM).

Take Starbucks. They know their target audience and they aren’t trying to gain more customers — they want to cater to their die-hard fans.

And they do that with PSL — pumpkin spice latte.

People wait for this and they now feel that when PSL arrives, fall is here.

Image for post
Image for post

Provide value

The best tip to stop goldfish visiting your business is to provide value.

This looks like solving a problem for your audience. When you do that, you probably will write a long blog post. This is great. Longer types of blog posts get shared more.

But, that’s not always the case.

Depending on your audience, shorter posts can have a huge impact if framed for buzz-worthy reading.

For example, this post makes women want to click and read because it answers the question, when do you feel yourself again after having a baby?

Outline your writing

Yes — it can be that simple.

When you write a blog post or an email or a cover letter, outline your writing.

Get organized and decide on the important elements you want to include in your content. With any blog post I write, I always think of an outline and purpose.

Why am I writing this? Who will it help and Why would they want to read it?

From there, I start thinking of the main points I want to include.

For example, if you’re a food blogger, you can write a story of how you created your recipe and then show pictures of your process, and then end with a video and instructions. That’s a quick outline template that can be used for every blog post idea.

No more goldfish readers

Let’s put a stop to the goldfish readers online. Let’s make our content sticky and easy to read, and something people want to read…until the end!

Written by

Elna Cain is a freelance writer for hire, consultant, & a mom to twins. She mentors new writers on her award-winning freelance writing blog https://elnacain.com

Sign up for Creative Toolkit Roundup

By The Creative Handbook

A roundup of our best pieces to help you market and grow your creative brand Take a look

By signing up, you will create a Medium account if you don’t already have one. Review our Privacy Policy for more information about our privacy practices.

Check your inbox
Medium sent you an email at to complete your subscription.

Thanks to Niklas Göke and Fab Giovanetti

Tools and stories about how to grow your brand as a creative. We discuss how to create an amazing brand through content and navigating the entrepreneur life. Free resources: http://bit.ly/freeCICresources

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store