Storytelling - How To Generate Attention?

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Attention is moving fast! Hunting it is tricky!

Gaining attention in today's social media world is the main challenge for brands and individuals!

Attention and marketing have changed drastically over the last decade due to the growing use of mobile devices and the social media explosion.

You need first of all the attention of an audience. Triggering attraction will then depend on the quality of your content.

The internet is a dragon to be fed constantly with new information!

For almost any niche or interest, it is possible to find 100k up to 1000k people around the world who are sharing this specific interest with you and support your work!

You need the attention of these people to make them attracted by your product or service!

Social Media

Let's define the term social media, to provide some context first.

Social media is an umbrella term for any online platform with the possibility for exchange of information and interaction online.

When social media started to grow, first with myspace, then with Facebook, Twitter and Youtube, the big concern was, how they would generate money through their business concepts.
Copying the concept from Google ads turned out to be a great solution for marketers all around the world, using these new platforms to spread their word and quite lucrative for the brands.

While Google ads became expensive over time, every new platform like currently Instagram or Snapchat start at an affordable price for ad placement until they also become mainstream.

I think, one of the most important things to become aware of when using social media to tell a story is the understanding, that any platform has its own character.
People who interact with the platform are in a special mood to consume a specific form of content.

  • On Facebook people are checking their feed on the fly and scroll through until they find anything, attracting them.
  • On Youtube people try to find information mainly in the form of videos like provided in tutorials but also entertainment.
  • On Instagram and Snapchat people are exchanging and consuming short comments ...
  • On Blogs, people get information about specific topics ...
  • On LinkedIn and Xing people are looking for professional exchange, clients, and jobs

Besides the mood of the consumer, the platform itself has specific boundaries about how media can be published and the legal rules to be followed when using the platform. 

Organic Attention vs. Paid Attention

In the context of social media marketing, I differentiate between organic- and paid attention as they both work very differently.

Organic Attention

Organic attention is gained through content, provided on the specific platform.

Organic attention can be triggered by some of the following actions

  • Youtube: Video content, indexing through tags and the use of the search framework
  • Google: Ranking through SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
  • Facebook: Any type of content spread through sharing with friends and groups
  • Blogs: Mailings to inform about new content, SEO, comments of followers
  • Quora: Answering questions

Some platforms like Youtube are more gentle to the publisher than others. If your videos are being watched, the youtube algorithm starts kicking in and your videos are appearing on the side as propositions, gaining additional attraction by new viewers.

Organic attention is a longterm process and strategy to build awareness about your own brand, your business or a cause and I see it as a primary pillar of modern marketing.

If you are an artist and you are moving the crowd, you are in a privileged situation. According to my experience, artists are just thinking about organic attention and they could even use their popularity to get paid for being an influencer.
The main benefit of being an artist: To be used to publish content about news constantly!

Normal people and brands are struggling with interesting and personal publications but there are lots of solutions like blogging, answering questions and providing video content which all can be used very effectively to gain attention in the internet.

But ... to generate organic attention is hard work and you need an interesting topic in a niche without too much competition.

Organic reach has to be earned the hard way and there is just one solution: CONSTANT ACTION!

Paid Attention

Every modern and competitive platform provides solutions to buy advertising!

Advertising in social media is a skill, everybody should have at hand.

Each platform provides its own ad framework and different forms, how ad promotions are delivered.
Ads have to be prepared for every platform differently and have different purposes!

In comparison with organic attention, you have the solution to promote your thing to people outside of your existing network at hand and you can get attention from an audience you can select through criteria, collected about the users of the platform.

Through the retargeting function, it is possible to follow your customers around on the internet.

A big difference between paid attention and organic attention is the longterm value. The organic attention will not disappear, if you stop your activity, while ads just work as long as you pay for their publication through the platform.

Paid advertising can be used to constantly bring new customers to your website but it is even more effective when used to push organic content like a kickstart.

Social media platforms are changing their policies constantly, so I recommend to diversify between the platforms.

Besides ad placements in social media, there is another very interesting possibility of paid attraction through the use of influencers to promote your brand or product, especially for local businesses.

Information Value

The value of the information you provide through Text, Audio, Pictures or Video is key to the success of a marketing campaign in a market, where everybody is getting bombed by advertising.

In my point of view, many brands and agencies underestimate the value of providing information versus just pitching the sale.

It turns out, that video is by far the most effective form to communicate anything online but you can also find people in your sector who read a lot, others consuming radio of podcasts.

The biggest part is the connection you build between your topic and the "social media mood" your audience should be in.
This is directly connected to the success of the topic or brand you market.

There is a big need for expert information in all niches and due to the fast-moving digital environment, this offers a potential for constant content creation.

Effectiveness and the Price of Attention

The effectiveness of the different strategies is very connected to the effort and skills used to generate momentum.

If the attention is gained through organic reach, you need to allocate a lot of time to the success and most likely it would cost less to just throw a budget at add campaigns but there are reputational points to consider concerning organic reach that can't be paid in the long term.

Concerning the costs of marketing, there also is a connection between the stability of a provider.
TV promotions are high priced solutions but they proved to be effective and the success can be confirmed by statistics, based on the past. Google ads are still one of the most solid tools to sell a good product.

In modern marketing, we should not take for granted that the past indicates the future and triggers progress.

Daily there are new places growing, where attention might shift during the next years.
Facebook might be at a point in 5 years, where Television channels are now ...
Who is next?

When it comes to pricing on social media, Facebook still seems to be very cheap to advertise and is proved to be highly effective for many different target audiences.
If you have great videos for promotion, Youtube can be quite cost-effective for ad campaigns.

Attention and attraction are not cheap anymore but the possible reach with a strong message is still growing with every new participant in the social media network we created.

At the end of the day, it all depends on the quality and price of the product or service you promote.
If you sell a product in a highly competitive market, you will pay a lot for attention.
This is one of the reasons why smart marketers try to connect on other levels with their possible clients.  

If you promote an expensive product or service, even LinkedIn with a high price ad model might be very interesting!

Speed of Change

All social media platforms, technologies, and techniques are in a constant change.

Your favorite platform could change completely tomorrow, so it is crucial to permanently watch out for trends and new possibilities.

When platforms are launching new features like "live video" they need to promote these features to their audience so low hanging fruits appear constantly ...

You should constantly observe the market.

Where is the attention of humans?

What attracts your target markets or us humans in general?

Providing an outlook, I think Amazon will be a player to gain even more importance. They have access to an incredible client base, willing to buy goods and pay for business services.
Through Alexa, their AI based voice solution will open up a new space for marketers through Audio.


Attention can be generated by a big variety of strategies and techniques and you can reach the entire world with a message about a brand, a product or a service!

As a storyteller, you can make use of a set of social media of your choice and use organic and paid strategy to promote your story to trigger the attention of your audience.

The attention space of people is changing on a daily basis, leading to day trading attention.

If you want the attention of your clients to attract them with your products or services you need to be flexible and adapt to the way, each platform works.

It does not matter if you like a platform!
The only question is if your customers and/or audience use it!

What will be next ...

Marketing and the power of the brand in comparison to pure sales

Social Media Is where you interact online

Production efficiency


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