August 4, 2019

How to create attention-grabbing, thumb stopping content

In the early days of content production, almost every marketing team spent endless time, money and resource on a single piece of content, only to post it and not get any engagement at all. Thankfully, content has evolved a lot since 2011 and the landscape has shifted a lot since those days. Not only are the budgets and productions justifiably smaller, now we have to grab attention immediately. Nobody goes on a website anymore, instead content is distributed over apps like YouTube and Facebook, and even then getting attention is hard. Nobody cares and nobody pays attention, they’re more likely to simply scroll, skip or tap past your content.

So how do we stop a thumb in its tracks? Simple. By making better, more personalised content for real people. Active participation on social media gives people a greater feeling of connectedness, so this is where brands need to go. Brands need to create content that makes people feel connected, facilitating a feeling of belonging to something bigger than them. It is important that brands understand how this feeling of connectedness translates into good content.

If you want your content to be noticed, it needs to entertain, inspire or inform. You need to make your content relevant to your audience, something that you know they are going to be interested in, something that they can really connect to. Think of what the customer wants to hear about you and not what you want to tell them; it’s this subtle shift that will get you producing content that people seek to engage with.

With that in mind, here are 7 key ways to ensure that your content stops that thumb from scrolling past.

1. Focus on the story

The story is everything. The success of your content depends upon your ability to craft a powerful story that provokes emotion, inspires people, solves a problem, or even all of it combined.

People won’t wait around, they will simply scroll past if your narrative doesn’t hit them in the feels and drive a reaction, so you need to tell your story and tell it delay.

2. Get the hook right!

Your content needs to have a hook, something interesting that catches attention. Find a unique angle or concept that makes your content interesting and allows your audience to willingly consume and share it.

The hook is important as it’s the first thing your audience views, driving that instant connection with the content and building their relationship with you. A good hook is what stays with people even after they’ve forgotten what they watched or read.

3. Create the Look & Feel

How your content looks and feels is the foundation of the project. To do this well, you need to know your customer. You want your content to resonate with them and match their desired tone, their vibe, and their look. Content can now look and feel native, shot in vertical on a phone, you don’t need to break the bank for quality content, but if your audience loves well shot and beautifully designed creative then you will have to communicate in this style.

You want the people you are aiming the content to see themselves reflected in the content. Consider your colour schemes, themes, and the format, pulling them together so that you are hitting the right chords.

4. Deliver content for each of part of the customer journey

Speaking of knowing your customer, you need to create and optimise your content based on the myriad of customers in your brand funnel.

If someone is already following you and loves your brand, then you don’t need to show them a video explaining who you are. Instead, you can show them deeper, more personalised content that is likely to convert a sale. Likewise, for someone who doesn’t know your brand, you don’t want to show them something you think they will buy, instead, you should be looking to introduce them to your brand, allowing them to get to know you a little better. This is a slower sales model, but can lead to a higher value customer down the line.

5. Break out of the box

Optimise your content based on the platform — go square, go vertical, go short, go long. Think about how the formats work across the various platforms and produce your content with that in mind — there’s nothing worse than seeing a short, wide video on Instagram.

Make and repurpose your content for all relevant formats. Play around with the size and sequences of your shots. For instance, you can split any related photos into tiles for Instagram which can make a huge impact and be really visually engaging.

6. Be agile and play around with your content for best impact

Experiment with the most interesting aspect of your content. If it’s a video, test out different hooks, move around the punchlines and dialogue, and find out what works best and grabs attention in the first 3 seconds. People won’t hang around, so find out what works by A/B testing. Don’t be afraid to fail in the short-term as you’ll ultimately learn what is engaging your followers most, and tailor your content accordingly in the future.

7. Follow platform best practices

Every platform has guidelines on how to make the most out of your content. Consult the playbook for each platform and uncover how to grab attention with different formats. There are often a few hidden gems in there that can give you an advantage over your competitors.

Context is key when it comes to content success. Understand how your customer acts on each platform and act accordingly. Change your content to suit the platform and experiment with styles, lengths, and format to find success. Take our tips and combine them together to make your content stand out from the crowd.

latest articles


Learn what it takes to build a brand.

GET weekly insight, inspiration and resources to build your brand, direct to your inbox
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.