It will be increasingly difficult to grab attention from anyone on the Internet or in person. You may spend hours writing a great blog article, creating a high-value video or designing your marketing slicks only to find that people just aren't interested in consuming them. Why? Because we're being bombarded by messages, alerts, and feeds every second. We're constantly distracted and interrupted when we invest our time on the Internet. As a result, our brain essentially reconfigures itself.
This is what Nicholas Carr, the author of the book The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains, found when he studies how the Internet influences the brain and its neural pathways. Basically he discovered that the mental and social transformation created by our new electronic environment makes us shallower, unable to concentrate and strips our ability to do deep creative thinking.
Carr argues that," We want to be interrupted, because each interruption brings us a valuable piece of information... And so we ask the Internet to keep interrupting us, in ever more and different ways. We willingly accept the loss of concentration and focus, the division of our attention and the fragmentation of our thoughts, in return for the wealth of compelling or at least diverting information we receive. Tuning out is not an option many of us would consider."
Simply put, greater access to knowledge is not the same as greater knowledge; and breadth of knowledge is not the same as depth of knowledge.
So how does this affect your marketing or how you produce content for your business?
The answer is simple. If you don't produce content in the way that people want to consume them, you will not be read, remembered or passed on.
Most of us simply don't read and retain what we consume over the Internet like how we do it with physical books. In fact, I heard one of Carr's recent interview as he described that most people read over the Internet in a "F" formation, scanning horizontally across at the top, then moves down the left and half way down scans again across.
It's indicative that in the process of producing compelling content you take consideration in the following mistakes to avoid so you have attractive "looking" content in format, length and appeal.
1 Strong Opening That Gets Straight To The Point
Great copywriting is not different than great public speaking. You must instantly grab people's attention in a thought provoking way without trying to be fancy. This is why article/book titles, the first 10 seconds of you meeting someone are so critical to set the tone for your audience.
Your audience's mind wants to see the payoff by giving you the attention and their emotions are driving the need for you to get to the point. This is extremely important as we humans do a lot of consequential thinking to figure out why we're investing our time in consuming information.
Most experience professional coaches, consultants, marketers, gurus or trainers have a lot of knowledge, but they often forget that they are the expert and their audience are not, so it's important to open with great title or introduction that immediately gets to the point. The wealth of information usually overwhelms normal people, focus on emotional connections so you can meet them where they're at and try not to use any of your professional jargon.
2 Use Emotional Keywords And Phrases
Give them what they want then facilitate what they need as the content unfolds. Leverage emotional keywords and phrases that automatically paint a specific picture and are easy to understand. When you use complex, difficult to understand phrases, your audience has to do all the work to figure out what you mean and it interrupts the flow of consuming that piece of information.
Stay away from theoretical, conceptual, abstract and general terms in your communication. Focus on communication that brings concrete, emotional and specific outcomes. This is because we're wired to respond more with what Paul MacLean discovered as our reptilian brain or what some calls lizard brain.
MacLean's evolutionary triune brain theory suggests that the human brain was made up of three brains: reptilian (self preservation), limbic (emotions) and neocortex (logic). I won't go into the details but basically the reptilian brain can hijack the higher levels whenever it wants to do so especially when there is a pain point or urgency to solve a problem.
It can be as simple as obtaining new knowledge (we wan to be in control, read this post) or looking for an answer. People don't go to seminars, watch videos or engage in a conversation with you for no reason; even entertainment and the need to connect or to be heard is something we unconsciously look for.
3 Leverage Powerful Stories That Creates Your Marketing And Conversation
Story develops relationships with people. In order to do that people have to like you, know you and trust you (and yes, you can do that over the Internet). Just having social proof is not enough, just being a likeable person is not enough. Both of those are great foundation to build your relationship on, but ultimately people are more likely to buy what you sell if they trust you.
And trust can be built via powerful stories that motivates and inspires people.
When developing your story think of your story as a movie. There is an opening, a situational challenge and then it goes through a rollercoaster ride that eventually hits a turning point then finally ends.
So how do you position your story?
You need to start your story high where everything is normal then take your audience to a low point where they can relate and connect but don't make people feel sorry for you. And then through a turning point or a series of events you overcome the lows and that's where you give your audience hope.
It is NOT about you but your audience. Don't make it your life long story or biography; focus on a specific area of your story that allows people to quickly learn about who you are.
Your story is a way to show your humanity so people believe what you can do for them.
The take away: Content marketing is about creating information that are meaningful to your audience and engages them emotionally. The real value is when you're able to meet them where they're at psychologically and make them highly motivated to take actions. Whether it's signing up for your newsletter, buy your product, get your coaching or read your book. In fact, it can also be used to get your internal team on board or management buy-in to your proposal.
Everyone is inundated with information, overwhelmed with daily tasks and if you can focus on the 3 principles above, your audience will be drawn to you more because you make it about them and easy for them. How do you approach marketing your information, content or product? Share your thoughts below.