Publishing engaging web content can seem daunting when readers’ attention spans are at an all-time low. A Slate study this year measured visitors’ interaction with the online publication, and the results were borderline depressing: most readers hit the halfway point of an article before closing the page, skipping out on vital parts of the content.
Keeping readers engaged is challenging enough without the added pressure of motivating your audience to action, but the Innovation Alliance’s new Save the Inventor online campaign manages to tackle both fronts well. The campaign challenges U.S. patent reform, arguing for carefully crafted laws that improve patent quality and decrease the amount of frivolous patent lawsuits as a result.
At first glance, this is hardly a topic that will engage the average news consumers. What’s the key to grabbing their attention? Simplicity, transparency and social media. Here are a few points to keep in mind when directing your own conversation around a complicated issue:
Cut the jargon and stick to the facts. Engaging the everyday consumer can be challenging when discussing a topic like intellectual property law, but it’s doable by sticking to simplified language and compelling stats. Save the Inventor divides its platform into clearly marked sections, including a fact sheet, a bulleted outline of their stance on patent reform and a compilation of recent news items, making it easy for readers to consume information.
Make your point quickly and include an easy next step. Save the Inventor’s point is clear from the moment the landing page appears: they want viewers to write to their local politicians and oppose legislation that they feel unfairly penalizes inventors. There are three links to do this on the landing page alone (at the center, at the top and along the side), leading to a pre-written letter that a user can send to his or her local representative simply by pressing submit.
Tap into all social media channels and link to them clearly. A Pew Research study released in November shows that distinctly different groups of people consume their news on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Google Plus. It’s important to tap into each of these channels, update them regularly and clearly link to them on your website to maximize engagement.
Be transparent with contact information. A successful campaign website is informative, engaging and memorable, but these shining qualities can quickly fade if visitors don’t know who to contact with other questions. Even a generic email address at the bottom of the webpage achieves the transparency factor, though it’s ideal to include a name and title to avoid the assumption that these emails will fall into a black hole.
It can be challenging to use brevity when dealing with a complex issue that inspires heated debate. But it’s ultimately more impactful to share concise, digestible content rather than a lengthy narrative that most readers will promptly skip.