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Time and Attention: The 2 Resources Marketers Will Have to Fight For


I want to let you know right from the start, that this is the kind of article that will get your attention and will consume some of your time. So, get ready!

Before we get right into the subject of this article, I want to ask you some questions. Why did you click on the link you saw on Facebook or Twitter? Is it because you trust me? Because you thought that the headline was interesting? Because you the featured image got your attention?

Why do you even bother to read another article and consume another kind of content today?

In this digital world we can talk about 2 types of users: the one who creates content and the one who consumes content.

Sometimes I find myself creating more than consuming. Because I have 2 other blogs, a podcast, an Instagram channel and I also work for one of the best banner makers. And I need to create content because I believe in the power of content marketing.

But to create and to consume content we all need 2 resources: time and attention.

We need time to read that 2000+ words article from which we will learn how to boost our link building strategy, how Netflix takes advantage of content marketing or what are the 12 visuals we can use in a blog post. We need 10 minutes or 15 minutes to watch an entire daily vlog or we need 40 minutes or 50 minutes or even more to listen our favorite podcast.

We need time to consume content.

And attention is one of the assets many content creators are relying on. That’s why you will see awesome thumbnails that will get your attention on YouTube. That’s why there are instagramers working one or 2 hours on one single image to capture your attention. That’s why there are bloggers using tools in order to create headlines that will make you click on the article.

Content creators use attention as an asset for their work.

And here we go with the 2 important elements we need to focus on more and more: attention and time.

Gary Vaynerchuk said that Uber does not sell transportation, they sell time. And I couldn’t agree more with him because I can see this every time I request an uber.  I know how long it will take the driver to pick me up. I even know how much time I’ll make on the way to my destination.

Podcasts are  my time saviours. I can listen to some podcast or an audiobook while I drive a car. I can listen for the news, interviews or other stuff while I’m at the gym.

Podcasts are the single type of content you can consume while you are doing something else.

I remember reading an article in which the CEO of Instagram, Kevin Systrom was saying that they had to create a feature that would make the users spend more time on the platform. The regular user was used to just creating a photo, editing it and uploading it. Then, he spent little time on the feed while occasionally tapping and commenting on photos.  But they wanted more. So they created Instagram Stories. A new feature that made the regular Instagram user spend more time in the platform. Why? Because this feature is the result you get when combining attention and time:

Also if we look at the features that Instagram developed inside the Stories function we will see options like Poll, location tag, hashtag, person tag and others. Things that make the consumer want to engage with other users.

Here you go, a simple example on how to use attention and time as an asset into your product.

I believe that in the near future (I don’t want to say 2018, 2019, or 2020) we will see more top brands, products and social networks that will invest more in these elements: attention and time.

And I’m not saying that only in the digital will focus more on these elements. Just think about a concert. While you are there, listening  to your favorite band performing on the stage, you can also see things that are capturing your attention: playing with the lights, dancing on the stage, creating a cool atmosphere while they are using the screen behind them. These little elements captured your attention.

So think about TIME and ATTENTION and how can you use them in your daily work. What product can you build using these 2 assets? What feature can you build to give more time to your consumer (we did this with Banner Generator)? What option can you develop in your brand to create more attention around it?

Time and Attention will be the 2 elements many smart marketers will have to fight for.

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Robert Katai

Content Marketing Strategist

"Content isn’t king. Usefulness is. Robert does this in the online marketing and social media space with ease."

Ram Castillo