How To Build Share of Audience Attention To Improve Your Marketing Results

Share of Audience Attention or SOAAHave your content marketing, communications and social media results eroded?

Do you spend more on these marketing tactics than you did last year?

With seismic marketing shift, more and more marketers face this double whammy.

Yet knowing this won’t reduce your boss’s expectations or increase your budget.

So how can you improve your marketing results?  

  • Avoid content saturation,
  • By-pass increasing content distribution costs, and
  • Improve measurable marketing results. 

And how do you accomplish this?
Use Share of Audience Attention (or SOAA for short).

Since SOAA not only helps your content distribution, but also builds your business value.  Even better, the results translate to terms your c-suite understands!

To improve your marketing, let’s examine SOAA.


Why Audience Attention Matters For Your Marketing

How can marketers attract people’s attention when they cross streets without looking up from their devices to check traffic?

Although it may surprise you, this problem isn’t new.

In Ad Age in the early 1970s, Al Ries and Jack Trout stated that they lived in an “over-communicated” world

(For marketing,) the true scarce commodity is increasingly attention, according to Microsoft CEO SatyaNadellaClick To Tweet


Unlike goldfish, people use attention in 3 ways based on Microsoft Research (2015):

  1. Sustained attention allows a person to maintain focus despite distracting and/or competing stimuli.
  2. Selective attention enables a person to filter out non-device and media distractions.
  3. Alternating Attention allocates a person’s mental resources between different cognitive activities.

Despite this, marketers face challenges getting people to pay attention to their messages.

In Positioning: The Battle For Your Mind, Ries and Trout advise:

Frame your product or service in your prospect’s mind to capture their attention in a message-packed environment.

Further Ries and Trout point out:

“The mind, as a defense against the volume of today’s communications, screens and rejects much of the information offered it. In general, the mind accepts only that which matches prior knowledge or experience.” 


Share of Audience Attention Definition

Share of Audience Attention creates the desire and expectation for your content, information and/or data in the mind of your audience.  

So your readers actively want and seek your information to fulfill a need or provide entertainment. In the process they develop a consumption habit for your content. As a result your content becomes part of their weekly (or bi-weekly) content diet and fills an information need for the reader.

And more importantly:
Audience members willingly share their email address (or other contact information). But remember this requires a fair exchange of information.

You must be transparent and careful how you treat readers’ personal information to build trust over time. As a result, they don’t need to be enticed with special offers or other information of value.

Share of Audience Attention consists of 3 key attributes:

  • Show up for your audience on a regular schedule. Because you promised them you would.
  • Provide consistent content. Use the same structure and format each time.
  • Create a human connection between content creator and  reader. Where possible, associate this relationship with your brand and business.

Share of Audience Attention - 3 Attributes

So ask this marketing question:
“Does my audience actively look for, consume and act on my content, information and/or data?”

If not, you’ve got a serious marketing problem.


Because your content, communications and social media doesn’t make a sufficient impression on your audience.  Since it’s not memorable your audience  wouldn’t care if you stopped creating and distributing it.

Further, without SOAA, your marketing loses the additional benefit of getting attention for your other larger crowd-pleaser and mega content efforts.


How To Create Marketing And Business Value With SOAA

SOAA transforms the marketing equation from share-of-market grounded in branding and revenues to growing an owned communications channel. 

Since current consumer content consumption habits make “appointment media” irrelevant. So each member of your audience controls their media consumption habits, not you!

As a result each reader controls and decides:

  • What information they want to consume (including entertainment),
  • When they want to consume it, and
  • Which device and format they want to use to access it.

For the astute marketer, these constraints provide an opportunity:
Only a small number of content creators will gain access to your audience’s inner circle.

As a result, you compete with established brands like The New York Times, entertainment, sports and family!

To build Share Of Audience Attention:
Develop an audience habit for consuming your marketing information.

Joe Pulizzi

SOAA builds business value by:

  • Developing an addressable audience that wants your content, information and/or data. 
  • Reducing the cost of content distribution since you don’t pay for promotion. Because you already have reader contact information.
  • Creating content influencers and advocates. Since they like your content, information and data, they talk positively about it.

Share of Audience Attention or SOAA


SOAA: How To Deepen Audience Relationships

At its core, Share of Audience Attention builds durable relationships with the people who want and consume your content regularly. Instead of focusing on audience numbers such as email addresses, assess the quality of your audience readership based on frequency of opening and consuming your content.

To understand this relationship better, Ries and Trout explain:

“The medium may not be the message, but it does seriously affect the message. Instead of a transmission system, the medium acts like a filter. Only a tiny fraction of the original material ends up in the mind of the receiver.”

Most importantly, Share of Audience Attention avoids seismic marketing shift’s content saturation since you already have a relationship with your audience.Click To Tweet


Share Of Audience Attention Conclusion

As a scarce community, the ability to attract and hold audience attention for marketing purposes is valuable.

To build business value, invest to develop and nurture your audience over time to create Share Of Audience Attention.

Also protect their personal information and contact data to maintain trust. At the same time, provide value to your audience to keep them reading your content week after week.

SOAA supports content amplification and distribution since it deepens your relationship with your audience. As a result, your audience finds, consumes and acts on your mega-content and crowd pleaser content because they are already interested in your content.

So how do you start to develop share of audience attention?
By building your list for your consistent content one person at a time.

And then devoting resources to creating quality content they want on a regular basis to them coming back for more.

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies.
You can find Heidi on FacebookTwitter and Google+.


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Editor’s note: This post was originally published in September, 2018. It has been extensively revised and updated with new research.

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