In the era of social media, our data has become a more valuable commodity than oil. And the primary way media companies capture our data is by hijacking our attention. In an environment where the all-time largest companies in the world are in an escalating competition to grab our focus, it can be beyond challenging to have any of our own messages break through the cacophony and get noticed by our intended audience. But humans like what they like, and by playing to what the human brain desires, you can stand out in a crowded field.
Before we even address messaging, it’s imperative your content uses a relevant, appealing visual, whether photo or video. Content with images increases a view rate by 94%—nearly double. Our brain processes visuals much, much faster than text. Images are often described as eye-catching because that’s what a good one can do.
Once you’ve got someone looking at your content, you want to make sure you’re saying something they’re going to remember. In their book Made to Stick, Chip and Dan Heath identify six characteristics that make a message sticky, captured in the clever acronym SUCCES. Your message needs to be some combination of Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional and Story-Based.
The message needs to be reduced to its simplest form. There might be a dozen reasons why your brokerage is great, but focus on the most important one and find the most efficient, digestible way to convey it.
According to Facebook’s own research, users spend an average of 1.7 seconds on a piece of content. Predictable, boring content isn’t going to grab somebody and make them hang on longer—they’ll skip right past it. You want the reader to stop and think, “wait, what’s this?”
You want your message to be expressed in affecting terms that avoid abstraction. Rather than terms like “best in-class” that exist only as an idea, use terms that evoke one or more senses, like the touch of a helping hand or the sight of a friendly face. This’ll be far more memorable than your business’ placement within a theoretical hierarchy of businesses in the same category.
It goes without saying that everyone wants to be viewed as credible. In fact, your audience will tune out if you’re perceived to not be credible. There are many ways to demonstrate credibility, whether that’s using statistics, testimonials or demonstrations. If you’re making a claim about your business, you should find a way to make it believable.
People like to think they make decisions based on cold, rational analysis, but that’s just a lie we tell ourselves. We’re driven by emotion and the advertising world’s been exploiting this long before Mad Men. The fastest route to your audience’s emotions is to associate your business with something they already care about, like family or their own wellbeing.
Since the dawn of language we’ve been telling stories. Before writing, this is how knowledge was passed down. Telling a relatable story, like a dad watching his son play hockey, is a cheat code to implanting your business in someone’s mind.
It’d be next to impossible to include all of this in a single message. But by trying to discover a novel way to present your business using some of these ideas, it will help you get the attention you need to survive in today’s crowded marketplace.