How to Grab Readers’ Attention in The 21st Century

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Reading Time: 3 minutes


At How to be a Writer we are committed to helping writers take off in the 21st century. This is not as easy as it sounds. The rules of yesteryear are becoming seemingly obsolete and we need to stay on top of the rapidly changing world of media. So today we are going to quickly outline 3 key rules you need to follow in order to grab readers’ attention.

grab readers attention

1. Whatever you are flogging, keep it to the point

Listen. Nobody has time to go through a thousand word post about how you have been writing this amazing book for over 3 years and now it’s finally out. If you want to tempt potential readers to even look at your book then they have to get the point quickly. If you’re marketing a book or article through social media then a tried and tested method of catching eyes is to post a small quote or excerpt from the piece. Another undervalued is the emoji! Utilise your emojis, we live in the 21st century for Christ’s sake! People, for the most part, believe they don’t have time to read essays on Facebook, Twitter, etc. so we always advise you keep your posts under 250 characters.

Something we have learned is that engagement rate surges when we use self-made graphics instead of word-heavy posts.

The image is so much more important than you think!

For example, if you want to grab readers’ attention and get them to check out your book on Kindle then consider using a simple, colourful graphic which you can make with paint, photoshop. Again, keep it short with just the crux of your message.

2. The something for nothing rule

One to constantly bear in mind when coming up with interesting ways to engage potential readers is ‘something for nothing.’
In a world where time is money people are generally not inclined to look at your shit without the promise of anything in return. It’s sad, it’s selfish but it is the reality of our world.
In order to grab readers attention we have to tantalise them with a little something, perhaps it’s something they didn’t know before or THE story that they needed in their life.

At this point it’s extremely worth mentioning that using emotion has always been a solid tool to grab readers’ attention.

Make the promise of something and more importantly…KEEP IT. Nobody likes to be disappointed.

3. Follow-up strongly

After the last point, it is worth mentioning that once you have gained that reader’s attention you are going to want to keep it.

Make sure your second punch, the actual information, message or book for which you grabbed their attention in the first place, is worthwhile.

If it’s valuable, you’ve paved the way for easy entry into their attention with future conversation.

If it isn’t, it’ll be that much more difficult to capture their attention the next time, as your prospect’s brain has already filed your information under “not worth our attention.”


I try to keep the quick tips under 2 minutes reading time but some require a little extra garnish when the topic is as pressing as this one.

We (as readers) are inundated with people pushing their shit on us and I am not saying I am innocent. If you want to stand out from the crowd and grab readers’ attention then you need all the ingredients to nail that recipe. You can’t just have great content with lacklustre headlines or publicity and you must not have amazing headlines with terrible piss poor content.

Nail the three points and start grabbing would be readers’ attention today.


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