Thursday, March 8, 2012

Gaining Attention In An ADD World

In this day and age everyone is screaming for attention.

In fact that's the problem, more and more people are screaming for attention.  Advertisements are showing up in more and more places.

Do you realize that right now there's actually some idiot out there selling urinal cakes with ads on them.  That's how bad the situation is   with everyone trying to gain attention anywhere and everywhere you look.

The problem is that in order for anyone to buy anything from you they first have to give you their attention.  Yet attention is becoming harder and harder to get.  The reason for this is simple:

Advertising Pollution:
This is what I just referenced above.  Advertising is everywhere and in so many places anymore that it's rapidly getting difficult to cast your eyes almost anywhere outside your house without seeing an advertisement for something.  This is creating "noise" and people are literally beginning to simply block it out.

Paradox of Choice
Want that in red or green, the larger screen or the smaller form factor, this brand or the other.  There is so much choice that more and more people are beginning to simply choose not to choose at all.  It's the great paradox.  So much choice means that people are choosing not to choose.  In fact, the "choice overload" is leading to ...

Lack of Focus
The huge amount of advertising pollution, combined with far too much choice means that it's more difficult than ever for someone to actually focus on anything.  Add into that the always connected society that we live in with smart phones and texting, and focus really is hard to come by.  People are spending most of their time multi-tasking instead of focusing on any one thing or person.

Information Overload
The average person is subjected to more new information in a single day than the average person back in the early 1900s might receive in their entire lifetime.  Now throw in everything talked about above with lack of focus, too much choice and too much advertising.

The bottom line is that attention is the single most scarce resource of the modern economic times.

That last sentence is so important to understand that I can comfortably say this, "the entrepreneur that understands how to obtain and hold attention is the entrepreneur that will win in the marketplace ... every time and every day."

In fact, let me give you some relevant statistics to prove the points I've been making.

45,000 = the average number of products in a supermarket
75,000 = the average number of products in a walmart
500,000,000 = the number of websites
Billions = the number of web pages online right now

All of that is why:

  • Only 14% of people trust any advertisement at all
  • 69% of people want technologies to block advertisements
  • 65% of people feel that they are bombarded with too many advertisements
  • 56% of people will avoid buying from advertisers that they feel advertise too much
So lets recap:
  • Attention is extremely valuable
  • While at the same time there's less attention to obtain
  • As time goes on, attention will get still yet more difficult to obtain
In fact, numerous online studies have shown that people absolutely do not trust marketers or advertisers at all.  Trust comes only from friends or authorities and that's it.

The problem is, you don't want to become a "friend" to your market exactly.  There's an old saying, "You're never a celebrity at home."  Basically that means to your friends, you're just you.  People ask for favors from friends.  People do not pay a premium just for the privilege of doing business with a friend.

Flip that around however, and someone that is a trusted market expert and authority; that person is a celebrity and people will pay a premium to do business with that person.

This is why it's so incredibly important for you to become a market authority and thought leader.

The question becomes, how can you become an authority and garner lots of attention?

Image Credit From Zazzle
Start By Creating A "Stalker List"
If you want attention one of the best ways to do that is to associate yourself with people that already have lots of attention, and "ride their coattails" so to speak.

Find the 5 to 10 big celebrities in your market and "stalk" their every piece of content.  Take what they say and improve on it and show it to them or give it to them  Create "top 10 best of" lists of their content and include some killer graphics and data visualizations with it.  Now let me be clear, this content needs to be off the charts great.  It needs to be worthy of one of your market celebrities to talk about.  

Associating with your celebrities, and getting them to link to you, puts you at their level in the mind of your market.  You become a celebrity, and this can happen with an amazing speed as well assuming you truly are creating great content.

Do interviews with the celebrity and give that interview to the person for use on their site (again, associating you with them).  Or take their content ... lots and lots of it ... and compile it into an ebook or special report.  Now don't just dump their content into Word as is, you'll need to modify things a little bit so that one piece of content flows naturally to the next and one chapter builds on the previous chapters.  When appropriate, link to some of your own content on your own site.

Again, give that to the celebrity/big dog/guru/whatever.  Now of course there'll be information in there about you as well, again creating the association and links back to your own site and your own content.

These strategies are designed to not just associate you (and therefore create an authority presence in the mind of your market) with the celebrity, it's designed to generate links from them to you, to get traffic from them to you.

These strategies are designed to obtain the attention of your market in a way that makes you an authority.

But Don't Just Become An Authority, Actually Be One
It isn't hard to capture attention once, the real trick, the real key is to capture attention repeatedly.

The problem is, doing that isn't exactly easy since people aren't just sitting around looking for someone to give their attention to.  If you want attention, you have to take defined and purposeful action to become an authority and to actually demonstrate that you are.

Now you don't want to say that you're an authority, simply speaking authoritatively is enough.  In fact in some ways this is where I talk about the creation of great content again.  If you speak with an authoritative "voice" at the same time that you're creating great content with great visuals, your market will naturally see you as a market authority and thought leader.

In fact, by associating yourself with other authorities, you garner more links of a higher quality (assisting your search engine placement), you garner more traffic, and a wider reach.

But How Do You Actually "Be" An Authority Other Than Speaking Authoritatively?

That's actually easier and more difficult than it sounds.  What it takes is:
  1. Commit to lifelong learning in your market of choice
  2. Be willing to be a thought leader and espouse new ideas and concepts
  3. Be willing to say things like you say them, even if it means going against entrenched "wisdom"
  4. Work hard to create absolutely the best content there is in your market space
  5. Speak and write for free to establish yourself
What you want to do is start by writing free reports and making them available on your website.

Then move to combining content from major celebrities in your field into ebooks and linking to your free reports where appropriate.  Again, just give those to the celebrity so that they can give it to their people.

Then look around at your local newspapers and contact them to see if you can write some content at no cost.  Look for other blogs and write posts for them, again make these great posts and again link back to your content where appropriate.  Believe it or not, this almost always works, even writing content for papers or often even major magazines and publications.

Next, you need to begin blogging like crazy.  Create the kinds of great blog posts that you wish other people in your market would create.  Don't just be good, be great, and be willing to be great for longer than anyone else, in more detail and depth than any one else.

Go one step farther than even that and offer your help to others in your market for free.  Start a free coaching program or offer to give strategy sessions at no cost.  Be willing to go farther and do more.

Find out what seminars or conferences are available in your market and write the conference director or manager with a proposal to speak there at no cost.  This is a huge secret.  When you can become one of the speakers at a conference you are automatically deemed an expert by every single person in attendance.

You will also be considered an expert by the people that get any of the marketing for the event and an expert by the people that read blog posts about the event.  In other words, speaking at seminars and conferences can be huge for helping you become an authority and for helping you to capture your markets attention.

Dare to be great.

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