Most human interaction can be summed up as advertising, because our intrinsic need for attention is at the core of what we hold dear. Because there are numerous ways we advertise, how do we speak the language of advertising fluently, and how do we profit from it?
We live in the early artificial intelligence age, and everything we communicate online is judged, not only by other people, but also by the growing super-intelligence currently operated by Alphabet (Google). Without our voices resonating online, we are in trouble. Bringing our expertise to the internet is a requirement for business in this new era.
One of the main reasons people want to pay attention to you is because you are an authority. The moment you show impatience or that you are irritated they aren't paying attention, you admit your content isn't engaging enough to keep their attention and that they should pay attention to you simply because you are speaking. Try the following exercises for a lesson in holding the attention of others.
1. Test yourself.
You can begin by drawing attention in your personal life. See how long you can hold the attention of those around you without becoming obnoxious. Ask questions. Remember, listening is a great way of earning someone's attention. Back-and-forth is a prerequisite to hold attention.
2. Be aware.
If you are going to request someone's attention, be sure you are willing to stop and listen where appropriate. Politicians know that they can only hold attention for a certain period of time. Hollywood knows it; movies rarely exceed three hours. Pop songwriters of every genre know it, typically not going past five minutes for their big hits. How long you can hold an individual's attention easily translates into how long you can hold an audience's attention. Practice for an audience of one first, whether literally or in your mind's eye.
Earning and sharing attention
Let's also look at something most of us can relate to: relationships. To get married, you have to sell someone on the idea that they should spend the rest of their life with you. To do this requires fluency in advertising. Every date is a planned event, requiring forethought and consistent communication. It's easy to see parallels between business and dating. Staying top of mind is a core component of advertising effectively. In a relationship, a great deal of time is spent earning and sharing attention.
The goal is to learn how to broaden that experience to more people. Know that the advertising you've practiced in your relationships relates to the attention you seek from large audiences. You just need to apply those principles to a greater number of people. Politicians create fanatics who are practically in love with, or avidly hate, them. This is simply an extension of our relationship mentality. We can't help but feel this way or that way about the people whom we know.
There are limitless ways to speak advertising. Digital is a metrics-based game in which we can measure engagement. Time on site, click-thru rate, bounce rate and return visitation are all clues to how much attention we've earned. These metrics can be endlessly analyzed to provide insight into the direction to move in the future. Don't get too caught up in analytics, however, as it can easily become something that you focus on entirely, missing opportunities to act and continue to advertise.
You can write advertising as a language just as you can speak it. For example, most people skim blogs. No one reads every word of every page they see on the internet. With that in mind, include headers in your content that are engaging, shocking or blunt. Know that most people are just going to read the headers and skim a few lines. If you can lock them in with the headers, you can get them to spend more time on the page, increasing your impact.
By actively practicing the language of advertising at your job and in your entrepreneurial efforts, you will become more and more fluent, learning how to earn and hold attention for longer periods of time. If the attention you earn is strong enough, you can convert that into action.