Are You Looking For Interest Or Attention?

Missing the difference leads to a poor marketing strategy.

"How can I get people to pay attention to what we're doing?"

This is one of the most common questions I get from independent consultants. While I'm working on a longer and in-depth piece on attention, I'd like to share with you a couple of elements that are worth reflecting on.

Seth Godin said, "Marketing is a contest for people's attention." Indeed, if you want to create demand and interest for you and your offerings, your success depends on winning the attention of your target audience. But we still need more clarity on how exactly this process works.

The key to improving our understanding of how attention and interest work together is differentiating them. Here are their definitions, according to the Cambridge Dictionary:

  • Attention: the act of directing the mind to listen, see, or understand; notice.
  • Interest: the feeling of wanting to give your attention to something or of wanting to be involved with and to discover more about something.

It's clear what the main difference is: interest is the result of a much more conscious and intentional process, while attention is largely unconscious and harder to control.

It is relatively easy for you to draw attention from people. If somebody fires a gun in the air, you’re going to turn your head. If you come across the same advertising piece 20 times in a single day, at some point you will notice it. These are just some of the many biological triggers used by marketers.

Interest, however, is not that easy. What makes people want to be involved with or learn more about something? You will most likely need to entertain and/or educate them, and to this well you got to know how your audience thinks, feels, and behaves.

It might not be easy to do, but is certainly not complicated to understand. Become someone worthy of interest, and people will connect with you.

With that said, here are two questions for you to ask yourself:

  • Am I (and my work) valuable enough for people to be interested in?
  • If yes, do I show it? How can I make people notice it?

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