Picture of many goldfish.  Image by Adrega from Pixabay

Image by Adrega from Pixabay

“You’ve to have great headlines.”

“People only pay attention for 8 seconds.”

“If your reader doesn’t get caught up right away you’ll lose them.”

These are the types of things you’ll read about modern adults. And most of them all trace back to one misquoted study.

I am here to say there is still room for substance.

I want to reassure you that you don’t have to use fake headlines to have an impact.

Let me make it simple: people still read stuff that they care about.

And there’s more. So let’s jump into this and how it might impact your business and your marketing.

Fact 1: People Care About What They Care About

The truth is people care about the things they care about. And they’ll pay attention to what they care about.

I have been writing an article a day on Medium.com (check them out).

As I write many of the business owners and leaders I write for (that’s my audience and I always tune my business lessons in for them) tune in. I have CEOs of private businesses that read my articles frequently.

I have some fans (you know who you are) that write comments on my LinkedIn feed with meaningful insights that rival the length of my own articles.

Even if I don’t have the most creative titles – my titles tend to just say what I am going to talk about – people read along.

So give people what they like and what they care about. They’ll read even if the titles aren’t the most catchy in the world.

Fact 2: Trust Is King

Getting your readers – or customers – to trust what you deliver is more important than being catchy.

We are at an interesting time in business history. You can catch a lot of attention more and more easily. Through paid ads or just by being unusual you can catch attention.

But the key, once you catch the attention, is to build trust. I do some of that with my Do Business Differently(™) suits. When I am speaking at a conference or even people will often want to hear the story behind my suits. And I’ll tell them.

But I have to do more than tell them a story. I have to show them why the visual of a Do Business Differently(™) suit ties into a narrative of how every business should be unique and different in business. That’s where it goes from a stunt to a trusted message.

And the same goes for everything we do. It’s OK to get attention, through a headline or otherwise, but it has to be backed up by something trusted.

The trust of your reader and the relationship is more important than the catchy.

Fact 3: You Are Better With Real Than Catchy

If you have to choose between being real and being catchy pick real every time.

Catchy will get you nice short-term vanity metrics. You can really use catchy to catch a lot of attention.

But what we really want is people coming back. We want our readers to read again and again and again. We want them to know we are real and they can trust us.

So be a lot of real. Know your limitations and express them.

I say “no” to clients, speaking opportunities, coaching and writing more than I say “yes.” And it’s because I want to be real – and within my limitations – so that I build trust. Catching more eyes would be great but not if I can’t be real and fully serve them.

Fact 4: Followers Build

Often associated with being catchy is getting views, reads or other metrics of success. It seems like that is the path to success.

But if you focus on the real and really serve those that are paying attention you’ll build fans and followers. Those that are paying attention to substance will continue to show up.

I’ve only recently started writing regularly. And there are people reading my articles regularly.

More importantly they are paying attention. Many of my (daily) articles take 5, 6, or even 8 minutes to read. And people read them and write back to me.

When they write back they tell me what they are interested in, what they want to learn and they add their stories and colors to my work.

If I was just focusing on catchy – and treating my readers like goldfish – I wouldn’t be building these types of relationships.

Fact 5: If You Treat Your Readers Like Goldfish

I believe in karma and I also believe in recroprosity. When you treat people well they usually treat you well too.

So what do you think will happen if you treat your readers like they have an attention span similar to a goldfish?

My guess is you’ll get a lot of readers that have the attention of a goldfish and not a lot of attention from those with longer attention spans.

So if you want to have readers and customers that aren’t goldfish I recommend you treat them like smart humans and not like they live in water.

What To Do Next

It’s time to go back to substance. Give up the quick fix of trying to get attention quickly and camouflaging the substance.

Let’s forget about one bad study that got way too much attention.

There’s a place for substance. And if you’ve read this article to the end we are all part of the ame club.

So if you are a business owner or leader let’s be in touch more. I’d love for you to read my online work and give me your honest feedback: join my mailing list, follow me on LinkedIn and jump into my Facebook Group.

NOTE: This article is a piece develop a small portion of the content of the book tentatively called The Journey: Finding Your Place From Entrepreneur to CEO being co-authored by The Our Shawn McBride and Ann Gatty. If you want updates on the book including the possibility of joining our release team or getting one of the first copies please join our mailing list here.

DISCLAIMER: This article talks about legal issues. I am a lawyer licensed in multiple US jurisdictions, but I am not your lawyer unless we have signed an engagement agreement. Please view this material as educational and general in nature (as it is). Consult counsel you have retained for advice on your specific facts and circumstances and applicable laws. Do not rely on the statements in this article as legal advice.

By: The Our Shawn McBride, is the business nerd and long-time business attorney that focuses on changes of ownership in businesses. He works with business owners that know their business is about more than themselves to get ready for their future through keynotes, training and personalized solutions. In furtherance of this he hosts The Future Done Right(TM) Show where he collects, digests and gives lessons and insights on The Future of Business. If you want regular content on the future of business subscribe to get new blog posts from us here.

You’ll quickly notice his unusual suits which he uses open the conversation of how businesses should Do Business Differently™.

The Our Shawn is based in DeLand, Florida (between Orlando, Florida and Daytona Beach, Florida) and Dallas, Texas where he keeps offices. You can also find Shawn on webinars or traveling nationally or internationally for speaking engagements.

Check me out at: www.planningdoneright.com

NOTE: This article contains links to sites where I may be paid a small commission on your purchase.

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