Business Writers, Are You Leveraging the 2/20 Rule?

I didn’t even know the 2/20 Rule existed until I read this article: The 2/20 Rule: Producing Nonlinear Interactive Content.

Basically, the 2/20 Rule urges you to create web site content that delivers your message effectively whether visitors spend two minutes or 20 minutes reading that content.

As a speechwriter, I long ago learned the importance of following the 2/20 Rule, although I didn’t know it had a catchy name. I just knew that I had to deliver my message strongly in the opening moments of a speech … and then I could take the next 10, 20 or 30 minutes to amplify and illuminate that message.

In fact, I’ve been writing this way (or trying to) ever since. Doesn’t matter what I’m writing—speeches, web content, marketing materials, whatever—I follow the 2/20 Rule to ensure that I capture my audience’s attention from the get-go. This also increases my chances of holding their attention for a while longer.

Following the 2/20 Rule also shows that I respect my audience’s most limited resource—time. People are busy. Their attention spans are limited. They appreciate straightforward communication.

The 2/20 Rule, as Martha Stewart might say, is a very good thing. (Did I just quote Martha Stewart? I think it might be time for a fishing trip with my buds.)

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