(Listen to this article via the player above)
Seth Godin talks about attention deficit. And he also talks about attention surplus.
And weirdly enough, they both conclude the same thing:
No one is paying attention. Including yourself.
I’ve always been intrigued by the psychology of persuasion (and am a big fan of the book by Cialdini too). And one of my favorite past-times is reading random stuff about “Ninja” copy-writing and persuasion and marketing techniques, as I’ve always been (and will be) a student of marketing.
And one of the techniques I love, is a NLP Technique called “Pattern Interrupt“.
This is where, you do something so different from the rest of your competition, that it completely throws your audience off-balance, and lowers their guard just enough for you to make your presence felt – and grab their attention for a few fleeting seconds (now what you do with that next is a completely different story).
This technique can be used in many aspects of life…
But first, you may have heard of Roy H. Williams, the “Wizard Of Ads”, and one of my “Guru Drona’s” that I paid tribute to in my first book I ever authored, back in 2007.
Here’s an excerpt from one of his newsletters, that I even today eagerly await every Sunday at midnight.
In this, he talks about asking people to volunteer ridiculous, over-the-top subject lines, and how he ties it to their marketing, in front of a live audience…
"The stagecraft begins when I ask everyone in the room to write a statement that would catch the ear of any person who overheard it. "The statement doesn't have to make sense," I say, "It just needs to be larger than life, evocative, difficult to ignore. The kind of statement that would make a passing stranger turn and say, 'Huh?' I then ask 6 volunteers to bring their statements onto the stage. I'm now going to craft real ads for real businesses using the statements written on those papers as the opening lines for the ads. 'Do I have any business owners in the room?' Six business owners take the stage. I randomly pair them up with the colorful statement-holders. I have no idea what businesses are on stage or what statements are written on those papers. I owe Tom Robbins (not to be confused with Tony) for this little bit of stagecraft. In a magazine interview that accompanied the release of his novel, Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates, Tom said, "Everything in the universe is connected, of course. It's a matter of using imagination to discover the links, and language to expand and enliven them." Business owner number one. Tell me about your business. 'I have a plumbing company.' Name a profit center you'd like to improve. 'I'd like to get more calls for our 24-hour emergency service.' Crazy person number one. What did you write on your paper? 'I came home and the dog was bald.' The room roars with laughter as I walk to the front of the stage and balance there - my toes hanging over the edge - as 2,000 people hold their breath. I came home and the dog was bald. I haven't been that surprised since I woke up at 2AM to pee and stepped out of bed into an inch of water. Thank god Martindale Plumbing never goes to sleep. At 2AM they were just sittin' there, hoping someone would call. They fixed the problem while I made coffee. Great guys. Thank god for Martindale Plumbing, 24 hours a day. But I still got no idea what to do with a bald dog."
I started laughing so hard at 3:45 AM in the morning while reading this newsletter on my phone, in my bed, getting ready to fall asleep, that I literally became wide awake, and couldn’t fall asleep for a 1/2 hour after that. That’s how much it tickled me, inspired me, and got my juices going (this was a few years ago – I no longer use electronic devices right before going to bed – other than, say, listening to a podcast while I brush my teeth).
Remember, it’s not just about writing something ridiculous, larger than life, and simply shocking for the sake of shocking. That usually ends up sounding like a bad joke, or worse, distasteful or crass.
The key is to start your copy (email subject, blog post, book title) with something ridiculous, outrageous, and even shocking, and somehow tie it all together with your main story.
That’s when you make people laugh in a dark room at 3:45 AM in the morning and inspire them so much that they lose their sleep!
Oh, and don’t forget to go sign up for the free Monday Morning Memo, written by one of my favorite people in the world.
Dogpoo and Dosaa: 41 Business, Marketing & Tech Ideas & Inspiration for Entrepreneurs & Digital Creators
That’s the name of my next book, which I had put on hold for almost 6 months, and just picked it back up again. I hope to finish it within the next month. Let me know if you’re interested in getting an advanced review copy for free.
I hope the title is a pattern interrupt when it comes to business and marketing books.
A Mini Headline/Subject-Line Challenge
Imagine you’re sending out an email to your list… something to do with your product (any product or service, or yourself).
I challenge you to come up with a “pattern interrupting” headline, and how you would tie it in to your story…
And please do post it below in the comments below (scroll to the bottom of the page) with what you came up with!