How Will You Make Your Audience Want To?

I’m a big fan of EContent, a media outlet that focuses on content related to digital publishing, media and marketing. They have a number of very influential contributors* who write about trending topics, and useful strategies and tactics to help readers succeed in the online world.

It’s one of the many media outlets that I try to read as often as I can. Recently, when browsing through the topics on their homepage, I came across a piece by Theresa Cramer, the editor of EContent: Lessons From Serial: The Myth of the Shrinking Attention Span. I found it to be a very thought-provoking piece, and I was especially struck by one particular line in the piece:

“Clearly, the public at large is perfectly capable of paying attention when it wants to,” says Cramer. She provides some specific examples: binge-watching episodes of popular television programs in single sessions, and the success of long-form content in various venues, including longform.org.

Marketers these days, myself included, tend to lament the short attention span of consumers and may use this as an excuse to explain why our own content is not resonating. But, I think Cramer raises a good point—it’s not, necessarily, that are audiences aren’t interested in consuming content—even long content. Our failure to connect and compel audiences may have more to do with what we’re offering them than it does to how long our content is or how much time it may take to consume.

It’s really the same old challenge that marketers have faced since people first had something to offer to others in exchange for something of value: how can we find and deliver something meaningful and valuable to these audiences?

Whenever I teach a class, make a presentation or write an article, I focus on two key threshold questions that any communicator, in any environment (including the job search, personal relationships, etc.) must have the answers to:

  • Who are you attempting to communicate with, and what’s important to them?
  • What are your desired goals and objectives (e.g. what do you want your audience to do, think or believe)?

Those are important questions to ponder. “The public at large is perfectly capable of paying attention when it wants to.”

How will you make them want to?

*Full disclosure. While I wouldn’t call myself influential, I am a contributor for EContent.

 

Recommended Reading: 

The Everything Guide to Customer Engagement

 

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