deliver a concise message in 7 seconds or less

Your message is probably not concise

To hook your audience, you need a message you can deliver fast. There’s little time to grab your audience’s attention. That’s why it’s crucial to make your message concise.

Create your 7-second message

I recommend that you create a message for your company or brand that’s 7 seconds or 23 words long. Since this is the length of an average sound bite in news media, it’s the size of the message that people are used to.

To tell your story in 7 seconds, create a Message Map.

With a Message Map, you see what to say, so you say what you mean. You deliver a message that’s clear, consistent, concise, and compelling.

Here’s a template for your 7-second message. Answer these questions to create your own 7-second Message Map.

tree diagram - one main message supported by three positive points
In 7 seconds, a Message Map answers your audience’s question “What’s in it for me?” And it gives them three reasons to believe you.

You’ll find examples of 7-second Message Maps here. Once you gain buy-in for your 7-second message, scale it up gracefully to two minutes or 20 minutes.

What’s the optimum headline length in social media?

Sometimes it’s a struggle to get even 7 seconds of attention.

For example, in a study of 100 million social media headlines, BuzzSumo found that the most shared headlines were only 11 words (65 characters) long.

Chart: 11 word headlines get shared most on social media
To increase sharing on social media, write headlines that are about 11 words (65 characters) long.

Is your value proposition visible on your webpage?

A study by Nielsen/Norman Group found that people spend only about 10 to 20 seconds on your webpage.

If they don’t find your clear, concise value proposition in the first 10 seconds, they click away. That’s why your value proposition message needs to be concise.

People skim web pages very quickly. They’re on a mission: looking for specific information and answers to their questions.

People only read about half of the text on a 111-word webpage, Nielsen/Norman found. Longer pages fare even worse. People read less than one-fourth of the text on a 593-word webpage.

People scan web pages in seconds you need to have a concise message
People scan webpages in seconds … reading about half of a 111-word page, or one-fourth of a 593-word page.

3 ways to lure your audience into a webpage

Nine out of 10 users give you three chances to deliver your message, CXL Research found. Take advantage of these three opportunities to lure in your audience:

  • 97% read the headlines.
  • 98% glance at subheads.
  • 91% read the captions.
  • 60% skim articles.
  • But banner ads get less than 1.5 seconds of attention.

What can you do to take advantage of user behaviors? Use all your precious chances to grab your audience’s attention.

Make sure every webpage has a headline, multiple subheads, and captions on each illustration.

If you have a webpage element that looks like an ad, change its look to make it appear as editorial material. People naturally skip over anything that looks like an ad.

People make decisions based on what they remember, not what they forget, says cognitive neuroscientist Carmen Simon.

Concise messages break through more often, they’re better remembered, and so they have more impact at decision time. Keep your message crisp!