AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising

One-Minute MarketerYou Should Be ‘Above the Fold’

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Economic Crisis Ahead Headline On A Newspaper Against White Background

You Should Be ‘Above the Fold’

There was a time when having a story “above the fold” of a newspaper was considered the best placement. It is reserved for the top story or stories.

Economic Crisis Ahead Headline On A Newspaper Against White BackgroundNewspapers still exist, but does the term “above the fold” still have relevance in today’s digital orientation? It does and it will forever. To me, “above the fold” means the space where people are actually paying attention. That means above the fold is:

  • The first 10 minutes of an hourlong meeting
  • The first lines of a letter
  • The headline and first paragraph of a brochure
  • The top two “pages” of a home screen
  • The first few minutes of a speech
  • The first 300 words of a long blog (that’s why my blogs are so short)
  • The first page of Google, Amazon or YouTube search
  • The first 5 slides of a PowerPoint
  • The first seconds of a 2-minute video

You must show great respect to anything above the fold. You should put the majority of your attentional development time and effort in above-the-fold work and review. The rest has a rapidly diminishing attention quotient.

Research shows people are lazy and live in a world where even scrolling takes effort and concentration — truly first-world issues, but issues nonetheless. Effort and concentration seem to be in short supply these days.

So don’t waste your “above-the-fold” moment. It’s a precious, fleeting jewel that requires careful attention and a lot of time to develop.

Mark Mathis III is chief creative & strategy officer, partner and cofounder of AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising.

Written by:

Mark wrote his first direct-mail fundraising letter in 1981 for the University of Iowa Center for Advancement. The effort raised a few million dollars in undiscovered wills and legacy gifts. From that day forward Mark discovered a love of the big idea that moves the needle. After 12 years at KWWL, Mark became a business owner as a co-founder of ME&V — rebranded as AMPERAGE in 2015. After 25 years of leading creative teams in video production, graphic design, PR, writing and web development, Mark transitioned out of ownership in 2021. Today he serves in an employee role as special projects consultant. He is creatively ambidextrous — son of an artist and engineer — and famous for distilling complex ideas down to a few words and a few visuals. Mark is a writer. When he found that many nonprofits struggled with complex branding puzzles, he wrote the book, “NonProfit-NonMarketing .” He also wrote a novel called “Reenactment.” Mark is an active blogger OneMinuteMarketer® with nearly 1,000 readers each week on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. One of his most popular YouTube videos is on “How to Look Good on Zoom.” One of Mark’s fondest business memories was being named to INC 500 two times and attending the INC 500 conference with other winners. Mark is considered by some a Civil War expert (and that explains his novel). Mark also served as an adjunct professor in the business and in the communications departments at Wartburg College. Mark is a graduate of the University of Iowa and is currently vice president of the University of Iowa Journalism and Mass Communications Advisory Board. Mark is married to state Sen. Liz Mathis, and the two love to travel, even when it means being trapped by a volcano in the Czech Republic for three weeks.