Jun 21, 2023
4 minute read

The Art of Content Marketing in the Age of Skimming

When you think about marketing in the 21st century, the mind usually gravitates towards social media campaigns, SEO optimization or even an impactful web design. However, it's essential to not overlook one of the oldest and most effective forms of marketing – content marketing. This has taken on a whole new level of importance in our digital age, where skimming has become the norm rather than the exception. But before we dive into it, let's establish what we mean by "the age of skimming".

In today's fast-paced digital world, internet users are flooded with more information than they can handle. In response to this overflow, the average user has adapted their reading behavior to a form of browsing or skimming. Research suggests that a typical user will read about 20% of the text on a page. For marketers, this means there's a limited window to catch a reader's attention, convey the intended message and prompt them into action.

Navigating this new landscape might seem daunting, but it's far from impossible. It requires a keen understanding of modern browsing habits and a strategic approach to creating content. As Michigan's top marketing agency, we understand the fine balance needed in this art form. Here's our guide to mastering content marketing in the age of skimming:

1. Craft Eye-Catching Headlines

The first thing a user sees when they come across your content is the headline. It's the hook that needs to be captivating enough to stop a skimmer in their tracks. Make your headlines clear, concise and compelling. Use action words and directly address the reader when possible.

2. Utilize Visuals

When a user skims, their eye is drawn to images, infographics and videos. A well-placed visual can capture a reader's attention and often conveys information more efficiently than text alone. Make sure any visuals you use are high-quality, relevant, and aid in the overall comprehension of the content.

3. Leverage White Space

A dense wall of text is a surefire way to send a skimmer running. Breaking up your content with ample white space makes it much more approachable. This can mean shorter paragraphs, bullet points, and the use of subheadings to organize information clearly.

4. Prioritize Information

In journalism, this is referred to as the "inverted pyramid" structure. The most critical information comes first, with supporting details and background information following. Skimmers tend to focus on the beginning of an article, so make sure your most important points are front and center.

5. Make Your Content Interactive

Interactive content – like polls, quizzes or embedded social media posts – encourages engagement from your audience. Skimmers are more likely to stop and interact with these elements, increasing the time they spend with your content and their overall understanding of it.

6. Keep It Simple

In the age of skimming, simplicity is king. Use clear, concise language and avoid industry jargon whenever possible. Your content should be accessible to anyone who stumbles upon it, not just experts in your field.

7. Add a Clear Call-to-Action (CTA)

Ultimately, the goal of your content is to motivate the reader to take some form of action. This could be purchasing a product, signing up for a newsletter or simply visiting another page on your website. A clear and compelling CTA can be the difference between a conversion and a bounce.

8. Keep Content Fresh and Updated

Outdated content can harm your credibility and SEO rankings. Regularly update your content, not only to keep it relevant but also to ensure that it continues to provide value to your audience over time. This also gives skimmers a reason to revisit your content.

9. Experiment with Different Content Formats

Don't limit yourself to just articles or blog posts. Experiment with a variety of formats such as podcasts, videos, webinars, and eBooks. Different formats can cater to different audience preferences, and a mix of these can keep your content strategy dynamic.

10. Use SEO Best Practices

A vital part of getting your content noticed is making sure it's optimized for search engines. This means using relevant keywords, incorporating meta tags, and creating SEO-friendly URLs. Proper SEO practices will help your content reach more skimmers, giving you more chances to turn them into readers.

11. Optimize for Mobile

A significant portion of your audience will access your content on their mobile devices, so ensure your content is responsive and mobile-friendly. This includes optimizing image sizes, ensuring your text is readable, and your site navigation is user-friendly on smaller screens.

12. Use Storytelling Techniques

Stories can be an effective way to engage skimmers. Narratives spark emotion, and they can be incredibly engaging. Incorporating storytelling into your content can give skimmers a reason to stop and invest time into reading your content.

Next Steps

In this digital age, content is more important than ever. However, the rise of skimming culture means that it's not enough to produce high-quality content. That content needs to be packaged and presented in a way that can capture the fleeting attention of a user swiftly browsing through a sea of information.

Content marketing in the age of skimming is not about tricking users into reading your content. It's about providing real value in a digestible format. It's about respect for the user's time and attention. By applying these strategies, you're not only improving the chances of your content being read, but you're also building a brand that's known for its valuable, engaging, and user-friendly content.

Hierographx is dedicated to crafting compelling content and designing marketing strategies that work in the age of skimming. As Michigan's top marketing agency, we're ready to help you navigate this new landscape and create a content strategy that engages your audience. Visit to find out more about our services, or reach out to us for a consultation. Let's build your digital presence together!

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