Content Marketing Strategies For Dummies
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Although some may treat attention as an unknowable commodity, there are actually codified ways to capture it. In his book Captivology: The Science of Capturing People's Attention (HarperOne, 2015), Ben Parr, former Mashable editor, details seven triggers that you can employ to get attention.

These triggers have been drawn from the fields of psychology and neuroscience and help you understand how and why people pay attention (sometimes without a conscious thought.)

The triggers are

  • "Automaticity": This trigger relies on the automatic response people have to sensory cues, such as color.

  • Framing: This trigger gets people to pay attention by challenging their world view. This means that when you present something in a way that is unexpected or doesn't match people's understanding, you get their attention. You have framed the problem in a way that doesn't match their understanding.

  • Disruption: When you use the disruption trigger, you upset a person's expectations, which causes them to pay attention.

  • Reward: By using the reward trigger, you tap into the inherent desire people have for rewards.

  • Reputation: This trigger relies on the fact that people believe the words of experts and will give them their attention.

  • Mystery: When people are unsure about what will happen or they don't understand something, they pay attention until they get an answer.

  • Acknowledgement: People freely give their attention to those who nurture and support them.

In looking at this list, you probably think that getting attention is less mysterious than you thought. The problem you have when creating content is the fact that you have to know your audience well enough to know what constitutes a trigger. The table lists questions you can ask yourself to determine the triggers for your audience.

Parr's Captivology Triggers
Trigger Some Questions to Ask
"Automacity" Are there specific senses related to your persona that you want to tap into, such as school colors or songs?
Framing How can you change your personas' view to convince them that you are the only right choice to solve their problem?
Disruption Can you challenge expectations? Shatter some myths?
Reward What constitutes a real reward for your personas? For example, perhaps you can offer access to your new product in advance instead of a discount.
Reputation Have you done your homework on influencers? If so, you will know who your personas take advice from.
Mystery Can you develop a series of stories about your topic that will keep personas coming back for more?
Acknowledgement Can you provide valuable customer service that goes beyond the expected?

If you have completed the development of your personas, you will be able to ask yourself specific questions directed at each one.

Using these triggers as the basis for your content should help you get more attention for your brand. Give this list of questions to your teams to help guide them.

About This Article

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Stephanie Diamond is a marketing professional with more than 20 years of experience building profits in over 75 different industries. A strategic thinker, she has worked with solopreneurs, small business owners, and multibillion-dollar corporations. Follow her blog at

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