The time it takes a reader to engage with your marketing collateral has not mattered much—until now, because the average attention span of an adult shrank from 12 seconds to 8 seconds over the past decade, according to the Statistic Brain Research Institute.

You now have to capture your readers' attention at the earliest stage of their journey with your company. If you don't, you may never connect.

So the question isn't whether you need readers to quickly engage with your marketing collateral, but how:

  • How can your marketing materials be liked and shared by thousands of people across the Internet and social media?
  • How can your collateral stand out and be noticed, even if it is a simple service brochure?

Here are six tried-and-tested ways to quickly engage readers by spicing up your marketing collateral.

1. Tell a gripping story

Humans have always embraced stories with enthusiasm: They like reading, hearing, and telling good stories. But thanks to the Web and social media, stories are easier than ever to tell and share with others, and the art of telling stories has become—for businesses—more important than ever.

Storytelling in your marketing collateral creates a deeper, more emotional response than information presented outside of a storyline format. Even with potentially viral content, engaging your reader is difficult unless you practice good storytelling.

Modern content marketing strategies need to inject a product into a storyline, intertwined with personas that relate to target readers. You want your readers to see themselves in your story: Great storytelling includes characters and personas that readers identify with, and a storyline that prolongs the reader's satisfaction with your marketing piece.

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image of Lily Smirnova

Lily Smirnova is marketing and business development manager at CoreValue, specializing in healthcare, pharma, and fintech. Concurrently, she is an adviser and consultant to startups.

LinkedIn: Lily Smirnova