In today’s content-saturated world, marketers face an uphill struggle. According to Rexi Media, audiences forget 90% of any content they consume. Studies also show a decreasing attention span among Millennials. We have 3 hacks that could help you leave a lasting impact on your audiences – all based on the science of how our brains respond to content.
Days Of Advertising Past
Neuroscience as a sales ‘secret weapon’ is hardly new. It all began with ads and films inserting frames with subliminal messaging to exploit our brains’ pattern-seeking tendencies.
Psychologists failed to find conclusive evidence for the influence of subliminal advertising on buying decisions. The technique however did reap big rewards for brands.
Since then, companies have been more direct. Look at the short, catchy, and positive taglines (and the colourful logos) used by brands such as Nike, Apple, and Disneyland. ‘Just Do It’. ‘Think Different’. ‘The Happiest Place On Earth’. All familiar phrases that create brand awareness and recall.
The Wandering B2B Brains
These brands understand one thing: that awareness and recall is everything when the human mind wanders 47% of the time.
Brand awareness is a key organisational goal for many B2B marketers. In fact, according to a Content Marketing Institute survey, 82% in North America alone think so. And this has not changed in the past few years.
But to realise this goal amid a culture of dwindling attention spans, marketers face the double challenge of :
- making content appealing to different personas,
- keeping the audience engaged without doubt or friction
The human brain often slips into a ‘mind-wandering mode’ where negative thoughts are common. Your content should not worsen the situation.
Break On Through
To leave a more lasting impact on the audience’s minds from the start, and (hopefully) lessen the marketing trial-and-error, try these methods based on evidence from brain science research.
Use quotes, references and catchphrases in your messaging.
Think about any presentation or lecture you have attended. Can you narrate the entire script of the speaker? Surely not. And yet you may still recollect the essence of the content, especially if certain pithy, catchy lines were used repeatedly.
This is how human memory works. Great quotes stick in the mind – especially if you are exposed to them often. How often do we recall entire stories from their most-quoted words? Think “Life is like a box of chocolates” and you might remember the adventures of Forrest Gump.
If it suits your target persona, use pop culture references. Jason Miller of LinkedIn does this effectively when he channels his passion for rock music in his content. A reader’s mind is more likely to pay attention to your content if he or she can relate to it right away.
“Personalise but don’t get personal”, says Ann Handley.
Addressing the reader directly helps to snap them out of their wandering state. Whereas making the content all about you will distract them from their stay-on-task mode, so strike the right balance.
Blogs and emails see the best personalisation. More recipients open emails with if their names are in the subject line. Sometimes all it takes is for your reader to open the email and read the first line – so make it count.
Relate your content to topical stories.
Tools like Google Trends will show you keywords to use that are fresh in your readers’ minds. For example, if you are creating content aimed at data security professionals, make them care by mentioning the impact of the recent Sony hacks. Just take care to avoid sensitive topics.
Topical keywords will also have great SEO value, bringing in more readers.
Neuroscience and cognitive psychology have much to contribute to content marketing. They help guide us in our understanding of a reader’s mind to tailor content for maximum impact.
Have you used similar techniques in your content marketing efforts? Share them with us.
Read more: Content marketing solutions from GetIT Comms.