I have about 7 seconds to catch your attention and get you to read this post to the end. By now you have already subconsciously made a judgment about this post, and you’ve barely gotten through sentence two. So how do I make this relevant to you?

This is a question PR professionals have to ask themselves daily. I often struggle with finding the best title to grab a reader’s attention. It has to be catchy but not cliché and informative but not too wordy. On top of all of that, it has to convince the reader to keep reading. Do I take the humor route? Where is the line between professional and “too far”? What a game! I certainly find it overwhelming.

In a lot of cases, it’s hit or miss. You can’t ever reach everyone, but I’ve found a few tips helpful:

Keep readers curious:

People love a good mystery. If you can weave drama into the first few lines of a message, you can hook people to wait for the climactic ending. (But you have to PROVIDE a climactic ending, or else this is completely useless). This can be achieved by providing an initial question, how to, or oxymoron.  (See title^).

Write to someone, not about something:

Once you have the reader’s interest, you have to keep it. The best way to do this is to turn the information you are writing into a conversation with the reader.  If you write with a specific person in mind – a person that encompasses the qualities of your intended audience, then the writing becomes a two-way conversation rather than a one-way message. People need to feel a personal connection to the writing. This involves engaging the reader by asking them questions, making them think, and considering their opinion.

I’ve found these tips useful, but like any writer, I continue to struggle to find new ways to grab someone’s attention. Consumers are saturated with messages, so how do you intrigue readers? How do you create a unique voice? I’d love to hear your ideas! But…

…you only have 7 seconds.