We all know that attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. No surprise there.
Unfortunately, what this means for content creators is that it’s getting harder and harder to make yourself heard.
So, what can you do about it?
Well… firstly, for people to really value your content, they need to be able to easily extract the value that’s there in the first place.
The problem is, no one’s going to wait around for you to explain this at length. You’ve got to get that point across and get it across quickly.
Luckily, there’s a solution. All you have to do is say more with fewer words.
Hmmm… easier said than done I hear you say?
Well, not necessarily.
All you need to do is tap into the mental schema.
The mental what?
The mental schema is a concept that already exists in and is firmly rooted in the brains of your target audience, and you can use these schemas to pack an entire story into just a few words. It’s a communication strategy based on popular association.
They say that back in the 90s when the Keanu Reeves movie ‘Speed’ was being pitched to producers, they described it as simply ‘Die Hard on a bus’. Since Die Hard was a well-known movie, they were able to leverage off this familiarity and pitch an entire premise in just 5 words.
Then there’s the story of YouTube way back at the beginning being described as ‘Flickr for video’. I get that you may have either never heard of, or totally forgotten about Flickr, but it was once a popular free photo sharing service. Again, an entire premise summed up in just a few words.
As these examples show, schema takes advantage of what your audience already knows to tell a complete story in fewer, more familiar and more powerful words, which ultimately makes communication more successful.
There are all sorts of things you can use. Everything from analogies, established worldviews or popular culture to name but a few. When done properly, any of these can create a pretty much instant understanding. It can be an incredibly powerful tool that you can use to your advantage.
After all, why say in 500 words what you can say in just 5.
Just think about all the different areas in which you could use it.
It’s one of many strategies that is handy to have locked away in your bag of tricks, and then pulled out at the appropriate moment.
Give it a try next time you are creating some content or preparing a presentation and see how you go.
I always love to receive feedback (positive or constructive) on this or any of my posts. Feel free to contact me at any time.