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<140 Character Attention Span - Marketing in a New Era

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Why do some companies/people attract more press than others? Silly, Stupid, Simple, Stolen ideas always come out ahead. Why? (124 characters)

Ok. The first part was a challenge to myself, could I communicate the idea of this article in 140 characters of less? If you are reading this then I must have done well enough.

The idea for this article came while I was on IRC and someone was talking about @ShitMyDadSays. Justin, the creator, signed a book deal in about 3 months which seems incredibly fast. He also has amassed over 800,000 people following him becoming one of the most popular accounts on twitter(#223 according to twitterholic) and probably the fastest growing of any major account (3.5 months old at the time of this article) the closest accounts were about twice the age (7 months). How did someone who was unemployed, moved back in with his aging parents suddenly become a phenomenon?

His content was sticky and free, people found it funny, sympathized, empathized and it didn't take any sort of commitment to enjoy. The perfect content.

If you didn't catch that...
The Perfect Content is:

  • Sticky - leaves you wanting more
  • Free - nobody likes paying
  • Funny/Entertaining - life's too short to be serious, everyone loves to be entertained
  • Easily Understood - If the message isn't clear fast, most people will ignore it
  • Commitment Free - After I have read it I have no obligations or strings attached (Looking at YOU NY Times who put stuff behind a logged in wall after a day or two)

Of course this is done from a consumer of content's perspective.

From a business perspective you cannot meet those 5 criteria in most circumstances and move your business objectives forward. So what do you do?

Business Breakdown:

  • Sticky - Hard to sell and keep people coming back
  • Free - Make it as simple and free as possible for users
  • Funny/Entertaining - Depends on what you sell, some brands can get away with playfulness more than others, nobody likes grandpa in a B2C world. B2B is very different.
  • Easily Understood - If you cannot convince me of your idea in 10-15 seconds or <140 characters I will stop listening.
  • Commitment Free - Don't try and lock me in, nobody likes being forced into a situation. I stay with a business because it delivers me the most value.

To understand the value of sticky content and marketing yourself I will share another story. I was talking to a friend of mine yesterday about a Swedish entrepreneur who garners a lot of media attention with his mash-ups that simply combine service+location on a map. Technically, this is child's play. But the media eats this up. Why?

I tell you I made a 'Sushi Map' and it shows you all the best places for sushi in Stockholm. In one sentence you know everything you need to know about my service.

What does it do? Helps you find sushi places in Stockholm.
Why would I care? I like Sushi and am in Stockholm (or whatever area).

Simple and to the point. Easily explained in 140 characters.

Is it sticky? A bit, if I am a sushi lover (and I DEFINITELY AM) finding good sushi restaurants is something I would check on occasion.
Is it free? Don't know, I presume so. Something like this SHOULD be ad monetized, it's not Zagat.
Is it entertaining/funny? It's not simple static content, maps, seeing stuff (maybe users could upload pictures? I don't know...)
Is it easy to understand? VERY!
Is it commitment free? Absolutely!

Do you have a story to share that does or doesn't fit this model? Please share!

Want to try your 140 character pitch? Feel free!

Think this model is missing something or wrong entirely? Tell me why!

Picture Credit to Vanessa of

Average: 3.6 (8 votes)

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I have an idea for a movie

I have an idea for a movie about an asian guy with an afro. He sits around and plays video games all day long. He is usually not good at them.

Solid stuff Kevin!

Kevin, I really enjoyed this article. You hit the nail on the head by explaining what makes content sticky and potentially viral and connecting it to the business opportunity of it all.

In today's content driven Internet business world, finding ways to make your business as simply explained, value-driven, and "sticky" as possible is absolutely crucial. Agree?

I liked the format of this post too. The bold bullet points were nice. I will check back soon!

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