Do you hate being the center of attention?
Some folks love the limelight. I’m not one of them. Ohio boys are the "put your head down and get the job done" type. We don’t like a lot of fuss.
I’ve found that most people are the same way.
The outliers seem to congregate in one of two places - New York or Hollywood. But here’s the deal, you can’t succeed as a content creator unless you learn how to get attention.
So let’s unwrap this perspective and hopefully give you the push you need to get some well-deserved attention for your work.
Why We Get Bored
I read that the human brain has evolved into being an attention scrooge.
It seems that our brains are energy hogs requiring an incredible amount of calories to function. As a result your brain does what it can to minimize the amount of work it has to do. One strategy is to quickly put the everything you see, hear, taste, or touch into three categories: Safe, Interesting, and Dangerous.
Safe gets ignored.
Interesting get explored.
Dangerous is quickly assessed and dealt with, for me that means screaming like a school girl and/or calling the police.
Celebrities make their money by constantly tricking our brains into putting them in the interesting category. We watch their films, buy their books, read magazine interviews, and follow them on Facebook because we are curious.
Some of us blur interesting with dangerous. Brands like Red Bull, Harley Davidson, and Navy Seals (yes the Seals are a brand) thrive on the edge that dangerous provides.
The bottom line?
You won’t get more than a passing glance unless you learn how to be consistently interesting. But -
We are trained to be boring
Sit down. Be quiet. Mind your manners. Keep your voice down. Don't be a ham. Don’t rock the boat. Avoid politics and religion in polite conversation. Minimize confrontation.
These are some of the rules that govern a civil society.
You are subconsciously following these rules on your blog.
Risky blog titles are neutered. Provocative points of views are painted over with passive verbs and fence-sitting ambiguity. The word "I" is replaced with We. The end result are blogs, podcasts, presentations, and video that scream - “I’m safe to ignore!” Readers instinctively forget your content in 3 minutes.
This is why many business blogs are worthless. They are meant to be safe. Which basically means they are meant to be ignored. (Tweet this)
Before I move on I should clear something up -
Don’t Be a Loudmouth, Bigoted, Moron
You shouldn’t hire the cast of Duck Duck Dynasty to ghostwrite your blog. Right or wrong, this content attracts the wrong attention. Being controversial to nab attention works in the short term but is difficult to sustain. Being disrespectful of your readers or dismissing their beliefs will get you voted off the island. Don’t do it. Instead -
Make Your Values, Beliefs, and Approach Interesting
You are interesting enough to get attention. You’ve just learned how to ignore or devalue what makes you or your business unique.
Try answering these questions:
What will you not do?
Will Smith refused to swear in his rap videos. His Grandma taught him that stupid people swear.
What are you obsessed about?
It is said that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos insists on keeping one empty chair at key meetings. He says that the chair is occupied by the customer who is the most important decision-maker in the meeting.
What traditions support your culture?
37Signals doesn’t want people commuting to work. They actively support remote work and a distributed workforce. Their traditions inform the features of Basecamp their group collaboration software.
You might think that these questions are for rockstars, business scions, and genius startup founders. Not so.
- Will you always give a refund even if the customer doesn’t have a receipt?
- Will you deliver free coffee to new parents for 2 months?
- Does your landscaping service adopt seniors and automatically show up to shover their walk?
- Do you set-aside internships for your employee’s college-age kids?
- Are you trying to deliver your goods with automated mini-helicopters?
These ideas are interesting. They make you wonder “What else does this person/company do?” People would say that this is just good marketing. Yes AND it’s rooted in a genuine perhaps unusual outlook on the world.
This is Exactly What Your Readers Want to See
Your readers are fascinated by you. They want to hear how you solve problems. They want to hear how you will fight for them They want to hear how you will support them.
Make a point of writing about this stuff and you will always get the attention you deserve.
What do you think?