Do you speak GoldFish?

Did you know (according to science) that a goldfish has an attention span of nine seconds? This may not be news to you but, did you know that since the mobile phone, a human’s attention span has gone from twelve(!) down to eight seconds?

This means that we have a shorter attention span than a goldfish!

Think about that for a second.

With video content, our attention span is even less. If you factor in our ever-present mobile phones and you will be scrolling through content like a Ninja.

The YouTube preroll advert

Here’s an example.

I am sure you have watched (or tried to) a Youtube video with a preroll advert, on mobile or laptop. How often have you clicked away as quickly as possible to get to the video you’re trying to watch?

I’ll give you a moment…

Did the ad resonate with you? Probably not. If it did you would still be watching… Even though the ads are not that long (granted, some are a couple of minutes) you were not prepared to waste your precious time on them.

The rule of the thumb

There is a lot of effort put into these adverts by some very clever marketing folks. And you clicked way as soon as you could. Let’s try and imagine the production time alone. Let alone the cost per view.

What was the product? Were you even engaged at all by the message? And did you stop and think about why it is five (or six) seconds long?

These ‘messages’ are extremely well crafted, by million-dollar agencies at the foremost edge of their creative art. There is some well-considered ad copy with expensive visuals.

That you casually flicked (or thumbed) past…

So how do you even stand a chance?

I am assuming that you are not a globally-recognised marketing agency (maybe), so you might be asking yourself: what chance do you stand out there?

But there we have the beauty of the internet. You CAN get something out there, on a similar playing field – even just by using a simple tool like your smartphone. And you CAN compete with the big dollar guys.

You just need to think like a goldfish and get your message across sharpish! Let’s have a closer look (don’t worry – I’m getting to the point!).

And you’ve moved on to the next topic. Am I right? Are you still even here?

We all have something to say – in some form or other. Instagram. Facebook. Perhaps a Youtube video extolling the merits of fried rice, or the latest recruiting fad on Linkedin. In amongst all the chatter you need to sell your story/product/course/idea.

And there are literally millions of us out there doing exactly the same thing. Promoting ourselves, our businesses, our interests and even our coolness. It is literally a non-stop avalanche of infotainment. Flick to Insta and you will be able to scroll for another hour through a brand-new feed… After just twenty minutes!

So let’s whip out the fishing rod.

Hook, Line & Sinker

Be quick with your message but draw them in.

Read that again… Does it sound counterintuitive? It probably is – if you’re a literature professor.
But this is what I would term the ‘rush for attention’.
We are ALL doing this in some form or other. The key is to grab attention and try to keep it.

  • ‘Hook’ – with an attention-grabbing headline or fact
  • ‘Line’ – just one or two lines of information (no more)
  • ‘Sinker’ – your call to action (in the form of a button to get them going to where you want them)

Get to the point

  • How punchy can it be?
  • How can I say this within a couple of seconds?
  • How much do I need to share?
  • Who is my target market?
  • What are the most important aspects of what I am trying to say?

Whether you are trying to explain how a carburettor works or the intricacies of the perfect bearnaise sauce – we need answers and fast. I don’t know about you but I am guessing you will fast-forward through a tutorial in order to get to the meat and bones of what you need out of it. The rest doesn’t matter at this point. Because I’m in a hurry, show me what I need.

What about the seals?

So now we speak basic goldfish, let’s spare a thought for the guys with a longer attention span. They may even lie there like a beached whale (pun intended) for minutes on end! Now let’s pretend we are looking at your same story/product/course/idea. But this time, guess what, your audience is interested in the topic. Now they will invest some time and absorb the message that is being sent. Same message, same medium, different audience.

This is where you bulk up your content below the (website) fold. Go into some more detail. Flesh out the message and give some more depth to your message. Some people enjoy and need some more content. These are the ones that stopped scrolling and gave you some attention – you ‘hooked’ them. These are the ones who are on board with your message. This is where you speak to them and give them the information and use a ‘longer line’.

So, what is the goal here?

Now that we are more aware of the bigger picture, what we are trying to achieve is the best of both worlds. A quick fix for those goldfish with a twitchy thumb (punchy title, one short sentence), but also the depth for those sunbathing seals (more information as you read further).

It is up to you to decide how much information you feel comfortable with sharing upfront and how much to save for later. Then cast your hook with a short and a long line.

Don’t worry, I know it looks pretty complicated, but you’ll start to get your head around it in time. And perhaps, if I was going fishing for the first time and had the opportunity, I would probably ask a grizzly old fisherman for his advice.

Guess what? Marketing and social are the same as fishing (we can debate the metaphors later) and there are people on NetNomads (maybe not grizzly and old) who are professionals in this field that are willing and able to help bait your hook and tie your line.