Damn - people don't even read anymore! Copywriting tips that will keep them engaged.


Forget bounce rates or page breaks, people aren't even reading anymore! Whether it's a website, social post, ad or sales sheet, people are reading less and less and it's becoming a marketers nightmare!

The guys discuss some shocking stats about how digital is changing the way people process text and offer some ideas on how to play to this while cutting through the clutter and get results for your customer.

Transcript


 00:00:00

Shawn
Yeah. In one study, people don't even scroll like Holy shit guilty really well. You know, it's funny. I. 


 00:00:09

Massimo
Yeah, I suck. 


 00:00:11

Shawn
I suck. 


 00:00:18

Massimo
You're listening to the angry designer. 


 00:00:23

Shawn
It's a loop, so, okay. So as were, Oh, that's sweet. 


 00:00:28

Shawn
That's very sweet whiskey today. We have a very sweet whiskey. We're having, what is it? Wayne Gretsky Ice Cask? 


 00:00:32

Shawn
Yes. In these Ice Cask. It's good. Very sweet though. 


 00:00:38

Shawn
Very sweet. But it is good. It's very smooth. Very sweet whiskey. Good old Wayne hockey legend. Good old Canadian boy Brantford man. Bradford guy, Branford guy now making. 


 00:00:51

Shawn
And it's good. Just sweet. Yes. The Steve jobs of hockey's. So what's up. What's up with you, man. 


 00:01:01

Shawn
Not much. This has been a good week so far. No stressful. We're always talking about the week. 


 00:01:06

Shawn
Good one. Yeah. It's been, it's been good. Yeah I think so. So yeah. So started talking about this. You were actually shocked about this when you saw this. Yes I was. I was very shocked because I, if I'm really interested in a website yeah. I go there and I read a fair chunk of it, but admittedly, I do get kind of bored in some parts. Right. But mostly it's like a gear thing. Like if I go music websites or something like that, I'll read up on cymbals and drums and things like that. Right. So, but like serious details, like size and components and what it's made of the, like the wood it's made of it, like really diving deep into the details that interests me far more than somebody who says, well, this sounds really cool. You should try this and this kind of stuff, that to me is just opinion and really them off. 


 00:02:02

Shawn
Yeah. It's fluff. It's there's a lot of fluff out there right now. I don't think it's particularly, well-written either something that's very rarely is. 


 00:02:10

Shawn
Yeah. It seems like a lot of the content that's put out there is for the sake of content. Yes. We have to understand how people are using the sites, the mindset. Yep. Are people coming to visit you to get an education? Yes. Are they coming to visit you for entertainment? Are they coming, looking for something? I think you almost have to have, to be honest with yourself, your brand, your product, and then deliver them the experience. Right. Because think about it. If I'm, if I'm providing something, a commodity product. Yeah. I don't think people are going to expect a romance novel from a commodity product website. ? Right Yeah. They're looking for the ingredients, the nutrients, the basic facts. Right. If I have an opinion piece yeah. You can be colorful. You can be fluffy with this, right? 


 00:02:55

Shawn
Yeah. So yeah. That's a different animal. I think literally think companies, 


 00:03:00

Shawn
People, products, they have to be cognizant of what it is, the intent of the user that's coming there and deliver the experience that they're needing. Because with knowing that people don't read nearly as much as they should and even more true, like you said, it's so with that being said, are you shocked that people don't read. 


 00:03:21

Massimo
The boards here? I'm sorry, what was your question? 


 00:03:30

Shawn
No, but I mean, again, a lot of the stuff is just built for SEO is because a lot of it's so fluffy, are you shocked that you're not reading it? 


 00:03:37

Shawn
No. I again, digging deep into this now I realize why people aren't reading this stuff. Yeah yeah. Yeah. It's because I think a lot of it is fluff, like you said. Yup. It's just padding, an interesting kind of thing that I read today was that, a lot of people aren't very concise. They they leave their final thoughts or their big reveal right. To the very bottom. Right. Right. Which is stupid to me. Oh yeah. The thing that I thought of from this is start at the end. Yeah. 


 00:04:12

Shawn
Oh right. Yes. Have you heard that before? Kind of tried to embrace that in everything we do. 


 00:04:18

Shawn
If you read something and you're kind of interested in it. Yeah. Yeah. It gives you the point right away, then you kind of dig deeper into it. Right. Right. If they lead you on down the garden path kind of thing, you're going to get bored and a lot of people, what is it? A thousand pixels that's kind of over the hype. Some people do. Oh right. Yeah. Yeah. That's that's a spar thing. Cool. And in 10%, yeah. In one study, people don't even. 


 00:04:47

Massimo
Holy shit. 


 00:04:51

Shawn
Well, you know, it's funny. I yeah, I suck. I suck. I really no read nearly as much. And it's funny. I guilty. I skim I'm a skimmer 100%. I I love the articles that summarize everything within the first paragraph. Yes. This way. It's like, thanks. Yeah. I'm almost done, but if I'm more interested, I'll read more. W but again, give me this summary. Yeah. Because my opinion is, that headline should be pretty close to what we're going top. Oh. What it's going to cover. Exactly. Right. Give me the summary, if it's about business, if it's about a new technique or UX, and if it's interesting enough, then just like you said, I'll get into the details and keep reading. That's it. The reality is, yeah, I don't read for the sake of reading. I read sadly for information. Yes. And so I don't read, I skim. 


 00:05:42

Shawn
Yeah. A hundred percent always did. I don't even know what a book is. 


 00:05:51

Massimo
Oh, 


 00:05:53

Shawn
The hold your window open in the summertime when it's hot. It's okay. It's okay. If you, if you skim, I think a lot of us do it because you're in a hurry and you're looking for something in particular. That's quite. Yeah. 


 00:06:06

Shawn
So then do you, okay. Do you think people navigate, websites differently than they would articles or social media? 


 00:06:14

Shawn
Yeah. I I, I absolutely think that. It's just by design, I think because of what Twitter is, well, I'm not 240 characters or something like that. You have to kind of have your point in there right off the bat. I think this it's kind of the chicken and the egg kind of deal, because I think Twitter may be kind of skewing what people are like. 


 00:06:34

Shawn
Yes. On websites. ? Right. 


 00:06:36

Shawn
Yes. Again, I read a study a lot more people are more likely to read email things that they get like a, you sign up for it and you get any newsletters. 


 00:06:46

Shawn
Are coming back. There may be huge. They are dude. Well just like you just said, people are more, why I think that's because they've asked for permission there, so it's coming to your box. You're expecting something of value to come to you. Right. Right. Whether it's something I've signed up for, give me a UX review or something about, vintage BMWs or something, I'm waiting for that info. It comes, it better be damn good info or also unsubscribe. Yeah. Right. And that's what they don't want. They want to grow that list. Right. Money's in the list. Yeah. I think that's why news e-newsletters are coming back stronger than ever last year. Interesting for B2B that absolutely. 


 00:07:24

Shawn
I guess if you look at it too, it's directed to you. And, and they have to kind of keep you in there. So and it's pretty concise. There's not a whole lot to distract you from it. It's kind of, it kind of makes sense why that would be, but it's people only read stuff that they're really interested in. What is it like most visitors to your site only scroll through about 50 to 60% of an article on a page, 


 00:07:51

Shawn
Which as opposed to the, we'll see, it's funny. I mean, so are scrolling that much of a page or of the article on the page, you start with the article. It's hard enough to get them to just scroll on your website, but then to keep them with that keeps. Again, maybe to summarize at the top yep. Going back to some of our other conversations and some of our other beliefs putting the end at the beginning, starting with the end in this case literally yeah. An interesting way to kind of get to the point, like a no bullshit type thing. Right. Just tell me what I need to know. If I want more, I will read on, I will keep reading, but if not, I still get the value of what I was looking for. Yeah. Now are we not contributing to this whole people don't read thing? Or do you think reading is literally a thing of the past, 


 00:08:33

Shawn
Interestingly enough, that you say that this could very well be a problem with people nowadays, because there was a study, or there was an article in the Washington post and I didn't read it cause I didn't subscribe, but I got the gist of it anyway. I think you're going to say you didn't read it because it was too long. 


 00:08:54

Speaker 3
That would be Holy irony of. 


 00:08:56

Shawn
That. Right. It said that the people scanning and skimming now effects how people read, like read books and our comprehension of the novel and other long form printed text is suffering because of this. I guess now we're reading books like this. 


 00:09:16

Shawn
I can honestly say I didn't even read books in high school, 


 00:09:20

Shawn
High school or college. I swear. I didn't read books as part of the curriculum. 


 00:09:26

Shawn
If I'm not interested in something it's like pulling out a beard hair one at a time it's torture. Okay. You didn't have to read, you just have to read or write something on the book that. 


 00:09:41

Shawn
The book, you know, 


 00:09:42

Shawn
Beautiful things that Cole's notes or you listen to other people's conversations or you ask them, 


 00:09:46

Shawn
Get your girlfriend to do it. Yeah absolutely. And she gives you the notes, but. 


 00:09:52

Shawn
I mean, reality is I can't read then I it's horrible. Right. I was always a creative person and this sucks, I would only read with intent even today. Sadly only with intent, if something's, if I'm researching or I'm interested in something, I will read it. Very few articles keep me from beginning to end because I find that there's a lot of fluff and bullshit and a lot of them it's just like, okay, get to the point. I get it. You want to make it colorful. You want to make it interesting engaging, but what, it's the medium, like, don't tell me this, isn't a romance novel. Right. Just exempt me to the point and I appreciate personalities and this and that, and certain authors, certain writers all follow, but generally in the morning when I'm, Apple news or going through my flip book, I'm just like, just give me the news, give me the topics that the more you can summarize. 


 00:10:43

Shawn
Yeah. The better, 


 00:10:43

Shawn
Yes. Again back to work Twitter, what happens is a lot of times people will read an article or skim an article I should say, and then share it on social media, espousing the points that this person was making without even reading the article. It could flip by the end and completely be against whatever this person I know. This is a thing you would think if you're going to share something, you would read the entire article and get the, and, kind of commit it to your soul or whatever. Share it with somebody, but not people don't even do that. They just, 


 00:11:22

Shawn
They're just, so again, it goes back to the headlines. Yeah. Even that first or second sentence, cause we have to really captivate people to kind of get them to keep reading. 


 00:11:31

Shawn
Should we keep reading? What's your job for the people writing content of this stuff. Right. I agree, 


 00:11:37

Shawn
Sean, in all honesty, I've had this discussion, internally here, I remember in college, I used to teach people copywriting ad copywriting, and I would always tell them, you got your headline. Yeah. Big, big, bold benefit. What I mean? Catch their attention. Yeah. Sub-headline back that up with of proof, but that intro paragraph needs to basically summarize everything. So they'll keep reading. The second paragraph or second sentence, however, all that has to do is just provide proof. It's like your first paragraph, get whiter teeth and fresher breath using our toothpaste. Right. Right now it's like brighter teeth using our patented blah-blah-blah your teeth to be wider than ever, ? And then our mint freshness, we'll have people flocking to your mouth and miles, have brighter teeth and, fresher breath with us. Like literally it would just be something that just bold. Okay. That was really bad example. 


 00:12:35

Shawn
But you have a point. No no. That's a, that's a great example because what does it do? What does this product do? Right. 


 00:12:42

Shawn
Why can't you, why can't you do that? Right. Larger for an article. Yeah. Right. Press releases are fucking boring. Oh my. I mean, I love the idea. Okay. We've got a customer who does awesome press releases and they're doing a lot of them, but you get it between their good headlines. And then their intro statement. I mean, they're basically summarizing everything and then it goes into the detail, but it's just, you, can't not read them because they're the strong, however. 


 00:13:09

Shawn
Yeah. Dry as a bone, 


 00:13:12

Shawn
Oh. Product releases and stuff. Anyway what it's, although that ad copy is kind of a hokey, and again, you're teaching this at a very basic level for students to understand this. I think that a lot of that should be embraced in articles, press releases, web copy. Yeah. Because again, don't fall for this, we need to add in every single element that we can think of. Cause people are gonna read that shit. Well what did we talk about earlier follow fall, or fear of leaving out your only leave. Don't worry about it. Honestly. Exactly. If anything less people will. 


 00:13:45

Shawn
Yes. That's right. See to me, it's your, one of your favorite songs. ? Right They get you with that hook. Once you've got that hook in your head all day, if you have that hook right at the top. Yep. The, the, start at the big start at the end pyramid. Right. You get that hook right in there. People will either read or they'll go away thinking, Hey, X is all. Is is all about this product. Absolutely. Right. Which is, which is exactly what you want. They don't know anything past that, but they know what you do and what you're selling. Right. I agree. A hundred percent. I think that, I think that really, so I guess the key is to not bore the shit out of people, I think, right. You don't want to smack them over the head with like the press releases you. 


 00:14:33

Shawn
Don't no one wants this cat to get them right off the, get them in there. Irrelevant content is out. Nope. Nobody wants that. Nobody. Nobody's going to read this stuff. These are some points that I think that are stupid waste of. Yep. Basically. Again, what we said, long text blocks. Geez. What's that I know, honestly, don't go there. 


 00:15:00

Shawn
It's like, you almost have to give yourself a two sentence, 


 00:15:03

Shawn
Two sentences, two sentences. That's it unnecessary and yeah. Promotional writing or what I like to call sales wankery yeah. This language. It does a disservice to you. I think, I think it makes you less credible like that market, these marketing ideas. My kids now with more, whatever kids don't use that. Where does it, so where does fluff come into this? That would be fluff. I think, I think market ease or a sales Whakarae sales wankery is fluff. I think the thing that you can do to kind of keep people engaged is scannable texts and highlighted work keywords. I agreed. Agreed. How many times has he been to a website or something like that you've seen. It's exactly like you thought you said, it's your big headline, your key point and then a little smaller point underneath. ? Right. Beautiful. Yeah. 


 00:16:01

Shawn
Mean almost follow the whole story with the sub-headers and headlines, right? Yes. Yes. 


 00:16:06

Shawn
Meaningful. Sub-headers not cute or clever, good point. What I mean? You don't want that kind of stuff. Bulleted lists. I love the bulleted list. Love it. This one is a good one, too high quality graphics, very near and dear to my heart, 


 00:16:22

Shawn
Back to the whole visual side. Don't read, just look at the pictures. 


 00:16:25

Shawn
Picture's worth a thousand words after. All right. You keep one paragraph to a single idea. Don't cram three things. 


 00:16:34

Shawn
Into one thought. Yeah. Yeah. 


 00:16:36

Shawn
Keep everything clear and concise into a pie, into a paragraph. I think that certainly works. And then the pyramid, yes. Start at the end pyramid. If you do those things, you're going to get right to the point. 


 00:16:48

Shawn
So, okay. So we're not talking about novels here. We are talking about articles, web copy, ad copy. We're talking about marketing. How to keep people engaged, how to keep people engaged and you're right. What I mean? Like we're not looking for awards here on, right. We're going for a Pulitzer prize. 


 00:17:06

Shawn
That, is that right? Yeah, you're right. You're right. For for literature, 


 00:17:10

Shawn
Like really summarize everything, almost get that whole journey so they can just follow it with like headlines sub headlines. Yep. Get to the point with, a good sentence. I, again, I am a fan of bullets cause you can either skim them or not, but it summarizes the most important points and bullet points again. Yeah. 


 00:17:29

Shawn
Utilizes our old friend white space because a lot of times you'll see them they're online. Yep. 


 00:17:35

Shawn
If it's too much and if it's too much copy, it's just a big block. That's too intimidating people. Don't like that shit. 


 00:17:39

Shawn
The big bold headline or the bold key word, something like that. That's that draws your interests through the loop kind of makes you at the very least. It makes you scroll, Which makes people happy when they re we don't have this kind of crazy bouts. Oh totally problem. Bounce rates, bounce, where you go. Yeah. You don't want that. You don't want that. Yes. So that's very interesting. I found it, considering, and I guess I I'm guilty of this too. I didn't really realize that if there's a website that I'm on or even an article in a magazine or something, you just kind of skimming over the points. Absolutely. You know? Cause it's not engaging. Wow. I'm thinking of like, if we're in the tech industry, but if were say working for TMZ, yes. It might. 


 00:18:34

Massimo
Be right. It might be a little easier. 


 00:18:36

Shawn
To be a fluffy and keep people engaged. Sometimes the tech guys can get a little, wrap it up guys, come on. 


 00:18:48

Shawn
That's really sad. Yes. You know that people aren't reading anymore and not because people can't read, but because it's sad. Cause I guess I'm not as unique as I thought I was. 


 00:18:58

Massimo
Yeah. You you are, adopter early adopter. Yeah. You're a pioneer in this sale said say no to literacy burn books, turn your books, burn your book. Oh Whoa. 


 00:19:26

Shawn
I hope we haven't upset too many scholars on this one, please. I already know somebody who, if she had the opportunity would smack me over this episode. So don't listen to it. 


 00:19:35

Massimo
Yes, yes. Right. Well that's interesting news man. Good stuff. Right. I think we've touched way too much today. 


 00:19:43

Shawn
That's a lot, but I think it's a pretty deep subject. 


 00:19:46

Shawn
Absolutely. Yeah. You know, and honestly I you're. Right. I think it's just a matter of just getting to the bottom. 


 00:19:53

Shawn
Point to the blood point. Yes. To the bloody pole. What do you do? Tell me how it's gonna help me. I can decide whether I want to stick around and read more about this. Yeah. 


 00:20:06

Shawn
You're right. Embrace embrace the way everybody's reading right now. Don't try to fight against yes, exactly. We're not writing books try and do right by our customers. If we can summarize it at the beginning yep. Or get our customer that sale, that lead that they're looking for, you can give them the fluff afterwards. Try to, that's a good point. Yeah. I think that's great. I think that works. Yeah. 


 00:20:29

Massimo
Yeah. It's pretty good buddy. All right. I like that. All right. 


 00:20:34

Shawn
I'm ready for some whiskey. So. 


 00:20:37

Massimo
I guess we are outta here. He find out.