I’m curious…

Does this
bold headline
arouse your
attention?

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Roses tend to get more attention than most flowers.

But in a field full of roses, a single lily will captivate.

Attention is a side-effect of contrast.

Roses tend to get more attention than most flowers.

But in a field full of roses, a single lily will captivate.

Attention is a side-effect of contrast.

Want
Money?
Master
Attention,
First.

Because 8 billion humans don't owe you shit.

They don’t owe you their time or their money, and most importantly, they don’t owe you their attention.

The world’s economy is fuller, busier, and louder than ever, and everyone in it is numb to any form of advertising, pitching, or demands on their most precious resource.

Their attention.

When you post…

Customers just see a wall of noise.

They see and hear the noise of a crowded digital market. To them, it feels like everyone is ‘yelling’ at the individual. Their brains have tuned out the noise.

To them, every seller has the same agenda, to get potential customers to ‘pay attention’ to their offering.

So people automatically default to ignoring all sellers.

They do this out of defense-mechanisms, trust issues, information overload, fear, shame, attention-bandwidth, and more.

People default to not caring.

Nobody cares anymore.

If you walk into a sparse quiet room, with one other occupant, that occupant will perk up and pay attention when you enter.

They’ll ‘care.’

But if you enter a noisy nightclub full of light and sound, few, if any, will care.

And the internet is one loud, giant, flashy, non-stop party.

So even though you’re on it… the truth is, nobody cares.

  • That photo you posted? Nobody cares.
  • That video you shared? Nobody cares.
  • That promo you just linked? Nobody cares.

And this doesn’t magically change because you created something great, or because you have a business, or because you reached out, or because you did one nice thing for someone.

That’s not how caring works.

That’s not how attention works.

And we’ll get to how attention works, but first let’s talk about why it’s so important.

Why is
attention so
important?

Axlotl

Well, ask yourself:

  • Can you sell something to someone who won’t even pay attention to you?
  • Can you help someone who doesn’t consider you worth listening to?
  • Can you convince someone who’s ignoring you by default?

Hopefully you realized the answer to all these questions is… “no.”

You can’t get anyone to do anything at all, without first getting their attention.

And even if you do get their attention, they’ll stop engaging with you the second their attention fades.

So knowing how to get, and hold, attention is the vital first step to accomplishing anything that involves other people.

OK, I get it, I gotta get attention. But how?

First you need to understand how contrast works, because attention is created when you use the tool of ‘contrast.’

Contrast is a simple but powerful tool that all people respond to.

If they’re cold, they respond to warmth. If they’re bored, they respond to entertainment. People respond to the opposite of whatever they’re used to and familiar with.

What gets more attention, a sign with thin text written in pink on a red background, or a sign with bold text written in pure white on a black background?

People pay attention to contrast.

But most people are so used to ‘blending in’, ‘going along with the crowd’, and ‘not rocking the boat’, that they never create enough contrast to stand out.

They never create enough contrast to grab-and-hold people’s attention.

And if you want to make money, you must practice creating contrast. How? By looking and listening deeply.

The first step to creating contrast is to take note of your surroundings, your environment, the landscape in your industry.

  • Note down what is common, or else you can’t do something rare.
  • Note down what is same, or else you can’t do what’s different.
  • Note down what’s accepted, or else you can’t do what’s rebellious.
  • Note down what’s timid, or else you can’t do what’s bold.

And on and on.

As we can see above, the first step in creating contrast and getting attention is taking note of what’s currently ‘standard’ or familiar to your target audience.

The second step is doing the opposite of that.

Or at least something compellingly different.

Let's say you want to practice using contrast.

And let’s say you want to create an attention-getting piece of content.

First you note that everyone in your field is creating boy-girl videos. You also note that your own boy-girl videos have been blending into noise. You’re just like everyone else, and your content is not very attention-getting.

So applying contrast, you start doing the opposite, you create girl-girl audio.

You’re excited to get attention and start growing, but it fails. It does kind of help you stand out, but it doesn’t really catch on.

Wisely, you don’t jump to the conclusion that “contrast doesn’t work” (because it always does), and instead you realize you’ve changed too much at once.

So instead of changing both the genre and format, you back-pedal to just changing the format.

You make boy-girl audio.

It blows up, your audience loves it, because they always liked your boy-girl stuff, but your ASMR-style experiments are just different enough to get their attention.

You did it.

You noted what was common, and you boldly experimented with something different.

You managed to get people’s attention.

Or let’s say you already have a unique, attention-getting product… but still no one is paying your product much attention.

How come?

Can we just claim “contrast doesn’t work” or that “people are blind to greatness?”

No.

Sometimes it’s not enough to have attention-getting content.

Sometimes you need attention-getting marketing, too.

Because ‘business‘ is half creating the thing, and half marketing the thing.

The job of selling is half creating something valuable, and half getting eyeballs on that valuable thing.

So in the case above, we admit that “yes, our product contrasts others in the industry”…

…but then we ask ourselves, “does our marketing have enough contrast?”

And if you’re like most people, the answer to that is, “no it doesn’t.”

When we ‘take note’ of the current landscape, we notice that we market the same way everyone else does.

This is not attention-getting marketing.

So how do we fix it?

Well instead of spamming links, paying for shout-outs, and promoting Instagram ads… how about we tattoo a QR code on our skin, and then we’re promoting our new product every time our tattoo is on camera.

Boom.

That’s different. That’s contrast. That’s attention-getting.

You may even need attention-getting CTAs.

CTA stands for ‘call to action’, and it’s usually the last line of your caption, instructions to go to a link, a button to click, or a suggestion to tag.

So even if you do have people paying attention to your marketing…

…if your call to action is the same as everyone else’s, –again– it may not work well.

“Like what you see? Checkout the link in my bio,” is bland, boring, repetitive mush. People are blind to it. They won’t pay attention to this call to action.

Experiment with others such as:

  • “Want me to treat you like my daddy? Click the link below.”
  • “Want to be harder than you’ve ever been? Google my fan site.”
  • “Am I shaved? beacon.ai/myname to find out.”

Be creative.

Care about your call to actions. Care about your headlines. Your captions. Your photos. Your videos.

Weave attention-getting contrast wherever it feels helpful, effective, and appropriate. (Hint, everywhere.)

Just don’t overdo it or cram too much contrast in at once.

Inject contrast into any area of your biz that's being ignored.

Dig deep into your audiences words and language. See what they’re talking about. See what’s on their mind lately, and tie your contrast to that. Keep experimenting until you find what resonates.

Ideally you’re publishing value, contrasting, attention-getting things that move people to share it.

Shareability is key.

What's shareability?

A post’s shareability indicates how shareable it is.

In other words, how likely others are to share it.

Look at any piece of your content, and really ask yourself how shareable it is?

Ask yourself how shareable it is compared to Gangnam Style. Or how shareable it is compared to the “Charlie Bit My Finger” video. Or how shareable it is compared to a Nike commercial.

If you want your content to get enough attention to actually be shared, there’s secrets to it.

There’s secrets to making people care.

If you put in the effort to understand human emotion and practice influencing it, mainly through the power of compelling, resonant, off-beat stories, since it’s just about the only thing people pay attention to these days.

Especially stories passed around by digital ‘word of mouth.’

Because 90% of people trust recommendations from family and friends, word of mouth.

But learning to scale word of mouth effectively will take real commitment. Like any skill, you’ll suck at first, but once you get the hang of it, everyone will be impressed with your results, including yourself.

According to Tim Staples and Josh Young in Break Through The Noise, rule number one to accomplishing this is ‘Be Shareable.’

Here’s a few examples of share-worthy stuff.

These will help get you thinking of fun, new ways of spreading the word about your work.

  • Music Videos (Fun, Catchy, Dance-y)
  • Kids/Animals (Adorable, Expressive)
  • Stunts (Extremism, Record-Setting)
  • Surprise (Pranks, Reaction Videos)
  • Humor (Comedy, Jokes, Memes)
  • Inspo (Motivationals, TED)
  • Tips (Quick Tips, Top X Lists, How To’s)
  • Kindness (Random Acts Of Kindness)
  • Questions (What X are you?)
  • Politics (Fear, Division, Negativity)

I don’t recommend the last one, it’s like playing with a forest fire, but suit yourself.

Videos work best because human brains have evolved to pay attention to movement.

Things that move are either threats, or food, and our brains will absolutely jerk us out of our autopilot lives to pay attention to threats, or food.

So as people scroll their feed, they’re far more likely to pay attention to the eye-catching motion of video than they are to a static web page like this one.

There’s no point arguing this fact.

It’s why Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube are the biggest platforms around right now.

Once the motion gets someone’s attention, it will linger for a few precious moments when you have someone’s attention.

To get someone to stop and watch past those first few seconds, the concept must truly grab their attention, and the concept must be easily understandable.

Things that don’t grab, or aren’t understandable, get ignored and scrolled past.

Anyway, whatever you end up using, aim to get so much attention, and be so shareable, that people are compelled to share what you post.

Why Do People Share?

Well, no one likes to admit it, but…

People share because they’re selfish.

We share because it feels good.

We share because we care about the thing we’re sharing, not because we’re thinking deeply about our friends at the moment of sharing.

When we share the latest Jay Z/Beyonce collab, it’s not because we deeply believe our friends need new music, we’re sharing because we’re a fans of that music.

Our identity feels better when expressing what you love.

We did this as kids, decorating our bedroom walls, and we do it today as adults, with our social feeds.

The ‘bedroom wall’ has evolved into a ‘digital wall’.

People put on their wall (feed) what they want others to know they love.

  • People share Chappelle clips because it was funny — and posting funny things proclaims that the sharer has a sense of humor.
  • People share Jay Z songs because they have style — and posting stylish things proclaims that the sharer has style.
  • People share Heineken’s World’s Apart ad because it had empathy — and posting inclusive things proclaims the sharer is inclusive also.

Even journalists, who’s literal job is to share, pick stories that are ‘easy to write’, or that are ‘likely to go viral’, or are ‘gonna get clicks’ because it’s in their own, selfish, best interests to do so.

People share to gain social credit.

They share because their is something in it for them, and that’s a good thing. It ensures that everyone wins when the sharing happens. The share-er, the share-ee, and the public.

So people share to proclaim to the world that they’re generous, happy, smart, insightful, sexy, kinky, funny, or many other adjectives.

If your content doesn’t help people proclaim these kinds of things, your content won’t compel others to share it.

If you want to capture someone’s attention, you need to know:

Getting Attention - Take Sharing Offline

What tribe you're targeting.

Because getting the attention of sports fans is very different than getting the attention of tech-geeks. Getting the attention of stock-brokers is very different than getting the attention of hipsters.

Your content, brand, and efforts will have to be invested very differently depending on who’s attention you’re aiming to get.

If you want to capture someone’s attention, you need to know:

What that tribe considers to be ‘valuable.’

This is because it’s way too easy to get focused on what *we* consider valuable, in our minds, and our words.

But the people you want to target aren’t you. They’re their own people. They have their own things they consider valuable, and they resonate with their own language, words, and imagery.

You might think your audience considers girl-girl content to be valuable. But in your audience’s minds, they might be hungry for one-on-one girlfriend experiences, so all your lesbian play is a waste of effort.

Or maybe your audience might like a combination of both, girl-girl content combined with a GFE, in which case you’d be close to getting their attention, if only you experimented and broadened your girl-girl horizons.

You must figure out what your people consider valuable, even if you think it’s silly, or it’s not your favorite thing, or whatever.

Because your tribe has something you want, their attention, and they’re literally only parting with it, if you deliver something they value.

And they need to value it ‘hugely.’

Why?

Because people rarely notice if something is ‘slightly’ more valuable. Slightly more valuable doesn’t stand out from the noise. People need something significantly and noticeably valuable.

Something hugely valuable is what breaks through people’s doom-scrolling and auto-swiping habits.

Something that resonates with their own daily worries and dreams.

Something that speaks their language relatably enough, but also has enough contrast and novelty to stop them in their scrolling tracks.

First you ask yourself what does my tribe consider hugely valuable.

Then you ask…

How can I provide that value in a way that suits me?

Without these two questions asked sincerely and answered honestly, you’ll almost never create anything attention-getting.

And remember, getting attention is the first step to selling… anything.

Ever.

So taking the time to craft something attention-getting it’s a worthwhile investment.

You can tell if you’re making progress towards attention by taking a look at your engagement rate.

Don’t know what that is? All good, it’s easy.

It’s just the # of engagements your post has received, divided by the number of views (or impressions) that same post has gotten.

If you had a post that was viewed by 100 people, and one person liked it, that’s an engagement rate of 1%.

If you had a post viewed by 100, and it got a like, a share, and two comments, that’s an engagement rate of 4%.

Engagement Rate = Engagements / Views.

And don’t worry if your engagement rate is low, because everyone’s is.

Kim Kardashian’s is low. Belle Delphine’s is low. Nike’s is low. Apple’s is low.

A good engagement rate is about 1%.

In fact, global megabrands have an engagement rate of about 0.87%, and that’s after spending millions on big budget ad spots and promos. (According to Adage rankings brands like Coke, Ford, etc. spend millions on and reach on average a less than 1% engagement rate.)

A mega-hit viral piece’s engagement rate is usually about 2% to 3%, max, and these are record-setting pieces of content.

Speak your truth, in your ‘voice,’ in a way that resonates with your tribe.

If you want to put out content that embodies the message “I love boobs” to your tribe of mostly gamers, and part of your personality is loving marijuana.

You can get your message out in multiple ways. Some ways will be more attention-getting, with contrast and shareability built-in, and some ways will be less attention-getting, often created on autopilot.

For example:

1. You can post an image of you showing some cleavage.

This might count as ‘speaking your truth’, but it’s being done in a way that anyone cleavage-owner could manage.

It has none of your unique voice added, and it isn’t aimed to resonate very strongly with your tribe.

2. You could post an image of you in a ganja-leaf tee with a low neckline.

This could be seen as speaking your truth, with some of your unique voice added in, but it still neglects your tribe. It has not considered what would really resonate with them or be embraced by them as ‘huge value.’

3. You could post a shot of you in Toronto Maple Leafs jersey, where the logo’s been swapped with a cannabis-leaf, with the neckline cut enticingly through it.

This shot has had real thought and care put into it. This shot has been crafted o put out your message of “I love boobs”, but to do it in your unique voice, and to blend it with something your sports-fan audience will absolutely go nuts for.

All three pieces just involve wearing a piece of clothing while posing in front of a camera, but they will have drastically different results.

Approach one will largely be a waste of effort, getting almost 0% engagement rate; minimal attention.

Approach two will be a semi-wasted effort, getting about 0.3% engagement rate; mediocre attention.

Approach three will be a good use of effort, getting about 1% engagement rate; great attention. 

Using your voice well. Inject that voice into all you do, so people become familiar and comfortable with it.

And if no one has made it clear to you yet…

Your title / caption / headline is ridiculously, insanely, over-the-top important.

Seriously. Words are power. Politicians use words to take over entire countries. Revolutionaries use words to incite movements. Journalists use words to incite movements. Musicians use words to activate fanbases.

Every youtube video you’ve ever clicked on compelled you to give your attention because of it’s title. Even reels or tiktoks, if they don’t have subtitles, you’re very likely to scroll by… and the same goes for everyone else.

Just because you’re good at taking photos and hate writing, is not a good reason to ignore the power of words to get attention.

Especially the ‘right’ words that resonate with your tribe and blend relatability and novelty well. But there are countless articles out there about headlines, so I won’t get into it here.

And even though your headline is important, you’ll want to treat each of your posts as if you’re putting together a fashionable outfit…

…if every piece of the outfit doesn’t mesh well and play nice together, the outfit won’t really impress.

Your post’s text, image, first 3-7 seconds, soundtrack, vibe, feeling — everything — should be treated with care, with thought, with artistry.

Make them all really send the message you want to send. Make them all resonate with whoever you’re targeting. Make them sing.

And hopefully you set up a system so that you’re checking whether each piece of each post you put out satisfies the following:

  • Is it your specific truth?
  • Does it have elements of your unique voice?
  • Have you blended it with what your tribe values?

And if you don’t have a system that ensures this kind of quality control… build one.

I’ve heard people come up with all sorts of excuses to avoid stuff like this. They’ll say things such as “I don’t know what my voice is”, and so on.

Well, not to be insensitive, but put on your big-girl pants and get to googling. You can’t wait for someone to spoon feed you this stuff, you’ve gotta be proactive if you’re serious about growing your wealth.

So research how to find your voice. Experiment. Because there are many content-creators out there who have done the work and found their voice, and that’s who your audience is going to go click on unless you get your shit together.

Trust me, I’ve failed 16+ businesses for many different reasons, but all of them come down to me not getting my shit together.

I’ve been more stubborn and a slower learner than anyone ever needs to be.

Hopefully you can learn from my mistakes, whether that be in finding a voice specifically, or in getting attention in general.

We live in an attention-economy, and getting attention is basically “the beginnings of wealth.”

The beginnings of selling anything start with getting the attention of ‘prospects’, people who may possibly want what you’re offering.

If you get their attention successfully, although they haven’t opened their wallets yet, they have become ‘leads.’

From there, you can nurture, engage, and become trust by those ‘leads’, at which point they become ‘warm leads.’

And warm leads are very likely to become buyers at some point, if they’re offered the right offer at the right time and you persuade them past any objections.

None of this can happen without attention.

Attention is where all the leads for your business start.

So I hope
you see
how to use
attention
to turn
strangers
into leads.

Hopefully you realize there’s countless ways to create contrast and get attention, and they don’t all have to be as extreme as permanently tattooing yourself. They don’t even have to be as extreme as a cannabis-leaf hockey-jersey.

But they do have to have enough contrast to be noticed. And you may have to increase the contrast in your ‘delivery methods’ too. And you may need to speak your truth more, or do it with more personal style, quirks, and voice. Or you may have to put more effort into resonating with your chosen target or tribe. And you may need to experiment and check each posts engagement rate to see how you’re doing. And you may need to put extra effort into being shareable.

And if that sounds like too much work, maybe the attention game isn’t for you, and that’s fine.

Anyone who doesn’t want to get attention, can just get a job and rarely really worry about attention again.

Because that’s really the choice.

You can create wealth on your own terms by mastering attention, or you can work for someone else who’s already got the hang of it.

Companies and creators all over the world have figured out ways to get attention with their marketing and you can too.

And you have to if you want to be a successful spicy accountant (or entrepreneur of any kind), because if you don’t, all your efforts will end up…

…completely ignored by others.

I wrote this because I want better for you. I want you to be more in control of attention, rather than at the mercy of other people’s whims.

The people who control attention in this world are the powerful influencers we look up to, and even if you don’t want to be one, you at least deserve a taste of what it’s like to proactively gain attention for your valuable work.

I know you can get attention, so get out there & prove me right.

"Someone told me to be selfless, but we are helpless without attention. Wealthy people learned their lesson, and never donate without the press there."

— Three-Thirty, AJR

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