Attention isn’t free.
To get attention for our creations, products, or messages, we have to give our time, effort, and resources.
I’ve kept this in mind as I’ve attracted the attention of more than 10,000 subscribers to my For The Interested newsletter in the past year and thought I’d share exactly what I’ve given to get that attention.
If you apply them to your own projects, they will help you attract attention for whatever you create.
1. Give people value.
Attention is an investment and people expect a return on it.
If our creations don’t provide value (or we fail to articulate that value up front), we’ll never attract an audience.
My newsletter provides value through curated ideas that help readers become better at their work, art, and life.
Subscribers know what to expect — one email a week featuring 10 ideas to help them become better — and they know it will save them time and expose them to valuable ideas they may not otherwise discover.
A clear value proposition such as this one is the most important magnet you can use to attract attention to your creation.
2. Show people you care.
If we don’t care about our audience, they’re not going to care about us.
People can sense a creator’s passion and they can feel whether we actually care about them or just care about what they can do for us. We have to be authentic and genuinely care as much about our audience as we’d like them to care about our work.
With this in mind, I go out of my way to connect with my newsletter readers from the moment they first subscribe.
The confirmation email they receive not only thanks them for their interest, but also asks them what topics are of interest to them. This isn’t a gimmick — it’s something I do because I genuinely value their opinion and want to know more about what they value.
I recognize my newsletter is about serving them as much (or more) than it’s about my own interests. I care about my audience and that encourages them to care about my newsletter.
3. Deliver what you promise.
Every exchange of attention is rooted in a promise.
A creator promises to deliver something in exchange for the attention a consumer offers up.
But if we don’t deliver on that promise, we immediately lose that attention.
This is why we hate clickbait —by definition it’s a promise that goes unfulfilled.
The opportunity is found when we deliver on our promise. That’s how trust is built with our audience, how they connect to us, and how it becomes easier to capture their attention.
Each issue of my newsletter that delivers on the value it promised increases the odds my subscribers will read the next one and makes them more likely to spread the word about it.
4. Reveal yourself.
People are always more interesting than brands.
Even powerful brands like Apple couldn’t compete with the aura of the individuals behind them like Steve Jobs.
If we want people to pay attention to our work, we have to allow them to get to know the person who created it. Doing so creates context for our creations, humanizes them, and helps build trust.
My newsletter isn’t specifically about me, but my audience likely has a good sense of who I am and what I believe through reading it.
Although it’s mostly curated content, I make sure to include a couple ideas each week that are personal and come from my own experiences.
I also regularly interact with readers on social media and via email which also connects me to my audience and ensures they continue to pay attention to my work.
Speaking of which…
5. Enable connections.
Our creations can be more than the sum of their parts — they can also be the foundation of a community.
One of the best ways to capture the attention of an audience is to create things that enable connections — between audience and creator as well as between different audience members.
As a product, For The Interested may just be a newsletter. But its readers have become part of a growing community and connected with each other through our Facebook group and various other initiatives.
These connections exponentially increase the value of For The Interested and create many more reasons for people to give it their attention.
6. Do something unique.
Attention is a competitive sport.
Infinite things compete for our attention so in order to attract it, we must figure out how our creation stands out from the rest of the pack.
The more we’re able to recognize what’s unique about our work, the easier it becomes to attract an audience for it.
My newsletter competes for attention with thousands of other newsletters out there that are equally compelling. But, there are attributes of it that are completely unique and that’s what attracts and maintains the attention of a specific audience.
SIDE NOTE: I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what makes my newsletter unique and I believe it’s a combination of several factors including:
- It’s eclectic and covers ideas relating to work, art, and life equally.
- Its content is evergreen and timeless — it’s not just about the news of the day.
- It features my own original writing that can’t be found anywhere else.
- The majority of the content is designed to be actionable — they are ideas that can be put into place immediately to improve your life.
- It’s optimistic, inspiring, and motivational — people feel better after reading it, which isn’t always the case with the news we read these days. Which leads me to…
7. Inspire people.
Inspiration is powerful — there’s a reason our Facebook feeds are flooded with motivational quotes.
But that’s low-hanging fruit. If we’re able to create things that deliver actionable inspiration, we can draw people’s attention into our world.
My newsletter offers its share of inspiration each week, but what most excites readers is when I’m able to combine that inspiration with specific steps they can take to better themselves.
For example, it’s one thing to tell people to believe they can become a better writer, but it’s another to break down how to become a better writer or spell out nine habits that make it easy to come up with great ideas.
8. Give people something worth talking about.
People don’t share things because they’re good.
More often they share creations that give them an opportunity to say something about themselves.
If we create something that represents an idea, belief, or message people genuinely want to spread, it will be significantly more likely to be shared and attract more attention.
It’s no accident I named my newsletter For The Interested. I put a lot of thought into it.
I chose the name because it describes a worldview and mindset of a particular group of people.
It’s aspirational. And it’s (hopefully) the kind of thing readers are proud to be a part of and want to share with others because they want others to know they’re one of “The Interested.”
So far, it’s worked great. And, along with all the other ideas I’ve spelled out in this post, it’s one of the reasons there are now 10,000 people who consider themselves one of The Interested.
And I’m proud to serve them.
If you’d like to join us, sign up here.