10 clever tips for media to create content that keeps attention

15 May 2020 15:54

A goldfish has a longer attention span than your audience

A goldfish? Yep, a goldfish.

You may have seen the story as it got picked up by a variety of media outlets.  It seems some scientists (purportedly with Microsoft Canada) studied the brain activity of 112 people as they did various tasks.  What they found is we modern-day humans have an average attention span of 8 seconds.

And the attention span of a goldfish is, well, 9 seconds. You might be shocked by this finding. For those of you who can focus longer than a fish, the message here is that media professionals must offer compelling content to keep your audiences engaged for the longer haul. Are you creating captivating stories?

We recently did some brainstorming here at LexisNexis to think about how our news, business and web sources can help journalists and producers create great content. Here are a few of our thoughts—and we'd love to hear yours!

gold fish in bowl


Sometimes inspiration comes from uncovering the smallest tidbit of information. But first you have to find it and that's where a broad collection of news, company and market intel, and even public records comes in.

Here are 10 tips for capturing (and keeping) attention with in-depth research:

1. Identify trending storylines or story white space opportunities.
2. Look to alternative markets you don't normally cover for fresh ideas.
3. Dig into the past to uncover additional context or a different angle for the present.
4. Check news archives to see if your guests have previously made the news in ways that may help your production—or hurt it.
5. Look up past articles or business documents to uncover hidden connections.
6. Need an interview subject or a great quote? Identify the right people and reach out for an impending article or an expert commentator.
7. Research a subject and see what has already been written on it. Find a different angle.
8. Background famous exec's for potentially eye-opening interviews and documentaries.  
9. Set up Alerts to be the first to learn of the next great story.  
10. Find very niche information from specialized sources.

Mobile or at your desk, Nexis® offers an unrivalled, global content collection, including a deep news archive going back 40 years. Whether you are educating the masses, enabling a public forum or spotlighting a scandal, the good news is that good information can help get you there.

By the way, the BBC isn't buying the attention span study. They did some in-depth research of their own and for their counter-view, check out the story.

3 Ways you can Apply this Information

1. Get some tips! Download the "Four-Act Structure for Media Research" tip sheet.
2. Learn more about how Nexis and research can help journalists and media producers.
3.  Share this blog with your colleagues and network.

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