Shrinking attention spans: your first 10 seconds could be your last

Shrinking attention spans: your first 10 seconds could be your last

The 10 Seconds

blog

by Mr Brand

Shrinking attention spans: your first 10 seconds could be your last

With attention spans shrinking, don’t give people an excuse to abandon you in an instant.

The bottom line: If you don’t grab their attention in the first ten seconds, you’ll lose them

information overload confuses human attention spans

The first ten seconds is your invitation to the audience. Get it wrong and people will take another offer. To illustrate the the importance of human attention spans, let’s indulge in some personification.

The good first ten seconds is a friendly looking guy, well-presented, warm smile, he might be gesturing to a barbecue and a crate of beer as if inviting you to join him for a pleasant experience. So you think, ‘Sod it, yeah, let’s have a beer and kick back.’

The bad, however, is a brutish looking man sneering menacingly. There might be what looks like blood smeared on his clothes and a whiff of gunpowder in the air. What you going to do? Most people would probably think, ‘Sod this for a laugh, I’m off.’ It makes no difference that the guy is actually a craftsmen with some fine products to offer. You’ll never know because the first impression was awful.

And that’s how it is with your marketing, whether it be videos, print advertising or web-content: you can have a brilliant offering for the audience, but if you neglect the first ten seconds, they’ll never feel inclined to find out about the good things you do.

So next time you’re creating some marketing material with the aim of drawing people into your funnel of awesomeness, think carefully about the first ten seconds, or it may be your last.

About the author

About the author

Mr Brand is the ambassador for 10 Seconds. He’s on a mission to give marketing professionals a competitive advantage in the Age of Attention Economics. He believes that to gain such advantage you need crystal clear communication. It’s all about the initial moment. Win people’s attention in the first 10 Seconds and you’ve opened the gateway to the final 10 Seconds, that all important conversion. He also likes to challenge conventional wisdom and push the boundaries of what’s possible.

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Copywriting overload: lousy writing, lousy results

Copywriting overload: lousy writing, lousy results

The 10 Seconds

blog

by Mr Brand

Copywriting overload: lousy writing, lousy results

Never before in the history of Earth has there been so much writing. And never before has there been so much bad writing.

The bottom line: If you’re going to use words in your marketing, make sure you use them well.

Copywriting with a wireless keyboard

I recently stumbled upon some awful copywriting. Read this and wince for yourself:

‘Try LinkedIn advertising to market to who matters’

Prior to the digital revolution, you would’ve been hard pushed to find ad-copy like this coming out of a multi-million pound company. Traditional marketing seems to have more quality control and a greater respect for the art of copywriting.

Copywriting at its best: why is that sentence so awful?

It’s clunky and fuzzy. The lack of a capital ‘a’ in advertising confuses the reader into thinking it’s a verb instead of being part of the noun Linkedin Advertising. So you read it ‘. . .advertising to market to who matters’. And straight away you’re like, ‘What the hell?’ The message is buried in a jumble of messy ambiguity.

And that’s only part of the problem. The construction ‘. . .to market to who matters’ is an ugly bit of phrasing. It lacks poise. No writer worth their ink would pen something like that without deleting it immediately. This lack of grace combined with the verb confusion makes it difficult to penetrate the meaning.

Finally, what is the meaning anyhow? Say we’ve stuck with it long enough to get through the awkwardness, what then? What does it mean? Marketing to who matters? Who matters? What? Exactly.

I assume the writer is trying to say, ‘Market to the right people’ or something like that, but has done it in such a way as to destroy his own objectives.

Okay wise-guy, if you’re so great, how would you have done it?

Good question. It doesn’t need to be prize-winning literature. Even if you’re not a professional copywriter, you can still produce something better by adhering to three simple guidelines:

  • Clarity
  • Concision
  • Relevance

Is what you’re saying clear and easy to understand? Does it get to the point with minimal fuss? And is it relevant to the reader? Stick to these guidelines and you’ll come up with something a lot better than the Linkedin example. You might produce something like this

“Use LinkedIn Advertising to forge connections with people who care”

which is infinitely better.

A professional copywriter, however, puts more thought into it, looks at the brief, asks questions like, ‘Who is the ad talking to? What makes them tick? What’ll get their attention?’

So what type of person benefits from LinkedIn Advertising? A business owner. A marketing department. Someone selling a product or service. Someone who wants to generate business. So you might settle with something like

“Use LinkedIn Advertising to generate quality leads”

Straight to the point. Clear in its meaning: ‘Here’s a service that can help you achieve your goals.’

Of course, there are many ways this could be developed, refined and turned into a click-magnet. It all depends on how much respect you’re prepared to give the art of copywriting.

Worth it though, considering PPC advertising is a very expensive and risky game.

About the author

About the author

Mr Brand is the ambassador for 10 Seconds. He’s on a mission to give marketing professionals a competitive advantage in the Age of Attention Economics. He believes that to gain such advantage you need crystal clear communication. It’s all about the initial moment. Win people’s attention in the first 10 Seconds and you’ve opened the gateway to the final 10 Seconds, that all important conversion. He also likes to challenge conventional wisdom and push the boundaries of what’s possible.

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Honey, I shrunk the marketing

Honey, I shrunk the marketing

The 10 Seconds

blog

by Mr Brand

Honey, I shrunk the marketing

The digital revolution hasn’t just miniaturised microchips and transistors: it’s shrunk the way we communicate.

The bottom line: marketers need to go miniature, and it has to be done artfully!

Texting has changed language. Twitter has shrunk time.

Miniaturised forms of communication are incredibly popular because these days people haven’t got time to gorge on big slices of content – there’s four million emails to open, countless threads that need replying to, and that’s on top of actually doing some work. So they want bite-sized snacks they can graze on in between tasks.

A new coin of phrase: Miniature Marketing

If miniature marketing is actually a thing, then surely it’s about creating little chunks of content that amuse, delight and inform audiences. Think funny gifs and memes, short videos and laconic statements from public figures that provoke people into frenzied reactions.

Done well, miniature marketing not only builds you a regular audience but gives you a powerful brand awareness tool that taps into the zeitgeist: Attention Economics.

But now for the tricky part: How can it be done well?

Artistry. Artistry. Artistry. And a healthy splash of sincerity and authenticity. If you’re to create content that truly engages an audience, then you need the artist’s touch because people are tired of Branded Content, which stinks of advertising and marketing.

So instead of spending huge budgets on digital and offline advertising, spend them on real creatives who produce great material, and then use the inexpensive social media platforms to spread the content, cultivate the wonder and then reap the traffic .

If you need a joke, hire a comedy writer. Need a good story? Hire a storyteller. Need some great visual graphics? Get a real artist and put some effort into creating something worthwhile.

If miniature marketing means anything, it means quality trumps quantity. There’s nowhere to hide. You have about 8 seconds to win someone’s attention. So it best be bloody good.

About the author

About the author

Mr Brand is the ambassador for 10 Seconds. He’s on a mission to give marketing professionals a competitive advantage in the Age of Attention Economics. He believes that to gain such advantage you need crystal clear communication. It’s all about the initial moment. Win people’s attention in the first 10 Seconds and you’ve opened the gateway to the final 10 Seconds, that all important conversion. He also likes to challenge conventional wisdom and push the boundaries of what’s possible.

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Attention Economics: how can marketers get a bigger slice of the pie?

Attention Economics: how can marketers get a bigger slice of the pie?

The 10 Seconds

blog

by Mr Brand

Attention Economics: how can marketers get a bigger slice of the pie?

According to Microsoft, the most intelligent species on the planet is now unable to focus or concentrate for more than 8 seconds.

The bottom line: marketers must adapt to this change in behaviour

Humans have a finite amount of attention

Let’s imagine a friendly grandmother’s just baked a pie. If there’s only a few people to feed, no problem – everyone gets a nice portion. But what if there was a hundred people competing for a slice? Shared out equally, the individual portions would be mere slithers. However, that’s in an ideal world. In reality, Grandma has preferences, people she likes more, so she gives them a bigger slice at the expense of others, and inevitably some people end up with nothing. This is attention economics.

In general, the more touchpoints that compete for an individual’s attention, the smaller the slice. And right now the world is full of touchpoints screaming for attention.

So how do we as marketers deal with this? How do we assert ourselves in this attention feeding-frenzy and win a bigger slice of the pie?

Getting to the root of it: the first 10 Seconds

If you can win a person’s attention in the first ten seconds, they’ll give you another ten seconds and so on. However, before they give you a bigger slice, you need to sustain the interest and win their respect. So what’s the best strategy for achieving this?

All roads lead to quality design, production and storytelling

The Hook is a common device in literature, filmmaking and advertising – it grabs attention. The skill of the artist then keeps the audience interested, keeps them turning pages or watching the film. On the flip side, badly crafted material repels us and we switch off.

Even if the audience is genuinely interested, there’s only so much badness they can take. Poor writing, poor production, poor presentation, tiny text, low-contrast font, awful music, not enough negative space – all this destroys attention and causes the audience to move on.

So the quality and artistry of the content is essential for capturing and maintaining the attention. And it all starts with the hook, the first 10 Seconds.

That’s how you get into Grandma’s heart and win yourself a bigger slice of the pie.

About the author

About the author

Mr Brand is the ambassador for 10 Seconds. He’s on a mission to give marketing professionals a competitive advantage in the Age of Attention Economics. He believes that to gain such advantage you need crystal clear communication. It’s all about the initial moment. Win people’s attention in the first 10 Seconds and you’ve opened the gateway to the final 10 Seconds, that all important conversion. He also likes to challenge conventional wisdom and push the boundaries of what’s possible.

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Why a great video will not disguise a poor story

Why a great video will not disguise a poor story

The 10 Seconds

blog

by Mr Brand

Why a great video will not disguise a poor story

‘Once upon a time’ … and so the story starts, all the way through to… ‘And they all lived happily ever after’ But when was the last occasion that you saw a story though from its beginning to end?

A great story is a magnet that makes you want to sit up and look, that pulls you in – past its initial opening chimes and makes you think – ‘OK – What do we have here – This looks good’

In today’s high tech multi-media fast paced world, that need to seduce the reader, the viewer – indeed shall we say the browser – until he or she really is engaged, is the biggest challenge facing anyone using the video medium to promote or sell.

To promote or sell, in other words to tell a story. To tell your story.

Simply think of when you are on-line conducting a search and the video-ad pops up. How many times have you seen that video-ad through to its conclusion, compared to the number of times you have killed it dead at that first opportunity to get to where you really want to be? Certainly more were killed than seen through… methinks.

Was this because the video was no good. Not interesting. Poor soundtrack. Lousy acting. Likely none of these. The reality is – it was a poor story.

The real truth of course is that presentation is everything.

First impressions do not just count – they determine what happens next.

Centuries ago, Aristotle noted in his book Poetics that while a story does have a beginning, a middle and an ending, the beginning is not simply the first event in a series of three, but rather the emotionally engaging originating event. The middle is the natural and causally related consequence, and the end is the inevitable conclusive event.

In other words, stories have an origination, an escalation of conflict, and a resolution.

A story is a transformation unveiled—either the transformation of a situation or, most commonly, the transformation of a character.

Without this beating heart a story is nothing other than a sequence of disjointed episodes. However good the video production, direction, soundtrack, actors – without a good story – you have only an empty shell to be momentarily skimmed over and skipped for what the audience really seeks.

About the author

About the author

Mr Brand is the ambassador for 10 Seconds. He’s on a mission to give marketing professionals a competitive advantage in the Age of Attention Economics. He believes that to gain such advantage you need crystal clear communication. It’s all about the initial moment. Win people’s attention in the first 10 Seconds and you’ve opened the gateway to the final 10 Seconds, that all important conversion. He also likes to challenge conventional wisdom and push the boundaries of what’s possible.

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