The Indisputable Law(s) of Attention for Copywriters Part 3

If you haven’t read parts 1 and 2 of this series, please do so first, it will probably help. Start here:

Some people seek attention, some give attention, but the only way to find out is to be present with the person and see how much time they spend between talking and listening (or how deep their listening has been based on the questions they ask – if they don’t ask questions, they’re 100% not an attention giver).

Why does any of that matter? Because we need to know who we’re writing/selling to.

You may be wondering right now why attention and knowing who is attentive makes any difference, after all, most of the time we have no idea who our audience is.

But that misses the one major mistake most of us make – blind assumption. We get a brief, research the topic, pull out some kind of crappy template, and fill in the blanks. Our client then publishes it, sends a bunch of traffic, checks the ROI, and fires us. And so it goes.

We don’t know if our audience are buyers, talkers, freebie seekers, tyre kickers, drinkers, smugglers, mercenaries, or anything else.

But it’s OK. It’s not our fault. If the client hasn’t bothered researching their customers, why should we? I mean, we’re getting paid right?

When I’m writing, I’m not writing a blind letter. I’m writing to you. If you like what I write (or it helps you in some way), you’ll give me your attention (and better still, you’ll probably come back for more).

And that is precisely what we need to do if we want to get a prospective client’s attention. That is, if we want more work (or even just our first commission), we need to be very much in the attention giving game.

That means we listen to what our prospective client is saying. How? We make contact. How? We put up a website and publish relevant content (relevant to our prospect).

Then we create something attractive and stick that under their nose. How? Maybe we create an ad. Maybe we create some lumpy mail. Maybe we send a letter. Maybe we make contact on LinkedIn. Maybe we pick up the phone. And so on.

Everything we put out has to be aimed at someone. But that’s not the real point of this series. The real point is this. Few of us actually bother to do it and that’s why so many of us fail.

In 2005 James Surowiecki wrote the book “The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few”. It was one of those myth busting books, full of surveys and science, and right on the money.

One hundred and ten years earlier, in 1895, Gustave Le Bon wrote an equally famous book called “The Crowd”. It said the opposite. It was also based on research and science. And it too was right. Crowds can become stupid (Hitler, Stalin, and a bunch of other villains swore by Le Bon’s book).

Perfectly respectable people can do perfectly unrespectable things when in a crowd (the French revolution and the recent siege of the US Capitol Building spring to mind).

Both types of crowd (smart or stupid) can reject a product or unanimously make it go viral.

We also know that the same rule applies to every industry (from the much used movie industry stat of 1 in 10 producing a decent ROI to 1 in 100,000 rock musicians becoming famous).

The Pigeonhole Principle tells us that it takes x number of something to guestimate some kind of probability that one of those numbers is a duplicate (apply this to an audience and probable sales, and you have a sales predictor mechanism conjured up from thin air).

So here are the indisputable law(s) of attention. Without attention we sell nothing. Without applying our attention to a real person we fail to attract the real people we want (although we may get lucky).

PS. The rock musician stat is made up. I figured there are probably 50m would be rock stars on the planet and only 800 famous ones (according to Wikipedia), but whatever the real figure is, it was never going to be easy to get the attention of enough fans to become famous, which is why I gave up becoming a rock star and ended up as a writer.



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