“What the heck is favorable attention?” a friend asked me today. My respond was simply: “It’s a conversational game-changer.”
Of course, this begged more question, so I commenced with a more in depth explanation along with some examples. Favorable Attention is all about appealing to your listener’s pride. So what does appeal to pride mean? Look for something that is of importance to your listener and compliment them on it. For example, did a positive change recently occur in the life of the person you’re talking with? This could be a new job, promotion, engagement, new home, recent vacation, accomplishment of a goal, new car, etc. Or is there a known quality about that person that you admire? If any of these exist, acknowledge and compliment them on it. One of the best examples of this is actually given in my book “The Diamond Thieves” of the Extra Innings trilogy when the character Pastor Cook is trying to get the attention of the adults who are in an uproar over T.J. playing in the 4th of July baseball game because T.J. is black and their sons are white. (Remember this trilogy takes place during the late 1940’s to early 50’s in the Deep South and encompasses the theme of social injustice. Cook compliments the feuding men by calling them “intelligent men” and goes a step further by acknowledging that “everyone here knows that about you.”
Imagine the opposite. What would happen if you’re initiating your conversations with an insult? Immediately, your listener would become defensive. For example, if a manager or supervisor was trying to counsel an unproductive or insubordinate employee and starts off the conversation with: “I don’t know what’s come over you? You use to be our top producer and lately you’re sales are worse than some of our newbies.” Versus if the boss starts the counseling like this: “You have more integrity than most anyone I’ve ever worked with and historically, I can always rely on you for outstanding results. Help me to understand what’s been getting in the way of your performance lately and let’s see if we can work together to get you back on track.” You’ve appealed to the listener’s pride by complimenting them on their integrity and past reliability to perform. There is nothing about this sentence that would trigger the listener to become defensive. This allows them to continue the coaching session with an open mind and without the distraction of a defensive wall.
My father, Wes Gibson is who taught me about Favorable Attention. He was a VP with Goodyear and is a master at this skill. He learned it from his father, my grandfather, Charles Gibson who had a successful career with the Singer Sewing Company. This skill, like most, is not developed overnight. It takes continuous practice. When mastered, it will take your conversation skills to a whole new level and allow you to leverage any conversation to ensure that your listener receives a clear message from you with fewer distractions. It also allows the listener to walk away feeling good about the conversation. Remember the Maya Angelou quote from my last blog “A Writer’s Worth of Mouth.” Maya said: “People will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” So why not say something that makes them feel good about themselves. This will also keep you in a positive light in their mind and allow for a better connection between you and them. Appeal to their pride with a compliment and this will gain you the Favorable Attention you need to make a more positive lasting impression and get your message across without any major roadblocks.
First, let me begin by saying that I would not (yet) consider myself a successful blogger in terms of a following or any sort of fanfare. However, I do have 15 years marketing experience along with a degree in marketing from Sonoma State University. (NOTE: I also took a marketing and advertising semester-long course at the UMASS Amherst. This foundation has gained me the ability to recognize effective qualities executed by a blogger. Below, I’ve bulleted the top three qualities that I believe are critical to an effective blog.
Be honest with your readers. Don’t spew on the screen keystrokes full of b.s. this will turn away readers. If you are not an expert in the field in which you are writing, at least admit it. This will actually gain you more respect than trying to be someone you’re not.
I talk a lot about gaining favorable attention by an appeal to pride. Favorable attention only works if you truly mean it. Although, it may gain you a short-term boost in reader traffic, these readers will eventually catch on. If you’re not dishonest or the compliments you’re delivering are just an illusion to gain more followers, your long-term retention percentage will be extremely low.
This can be broken down into 2 elements:
- UNIQUENESS: What sets you apart from other bloggers in your category? Do you stand out or do you blend in with the rest of the crowd? Keep in mind, the crowd I speak of is a rather sizable blogosphere of 152 million (as of July 2014) with more bloggers adding to this population on a daily basis. Is the topic of your blog creatively engaging? One of the best ways to answer this question is by following other bloggers within your targeted market? Are you repeating the same things they’re saying in their blogs? Or is your blog teaching them something that they can get nowhere else? Or if the purpose of your blog is to entertain, does your blog have a uniquely magnetic personality? Kurt Mortensen is the author of the best selling book “Maximum Influence” where he explores his ’12 Universal Laws of Power Persuasion.’ This is a great book for salespeople and I have learned a tremendous amount by reading Kurt’s work.
- WIFFM: What’s in it for your reader? To answer this question, you need to step outside of yourself and review your blog from your targeted customer’s point of view. You should be able to identify at least one WIIFM within each of your blogs. What are some take aways from your blog? Is there at least one take away that’s either changed or enhanced there reader’s perspective in a way they’ve never looked at that idea before? As your blog gains popularity you will know if you’re achieving this based on the comments your followers are leaving.
This is the area in which my blogging struggles the most. Interestingly enough, attention to detail is a considerable strength in my Extra Innings trilogy. Of course, writing in the genre of historical fiction, I better pay close attention to detail for if any of my readers were alive during the period in which this story takes place, they would surely call me out on any oversights. Granted, the McGee twins are fictional characters so that does give me, as the writer, some wiggle room. As for blogging, I struggle with attention to detail mostly because I am a new author trying to build a popular reputation and so I feel rushed to produce an eruption of blogs. My advice is to slow down. Take your time. Make sure your spelling and grammar are correct before clicking publish. Review your blog for rambling. Are you repeatedly repeating yourself? Repetitiveness and rambling seem to be common mistakes in many of the blogs I read. In today’s fast-paced society, ain’t nobody got time for that. Especially, my YA target market. I’m lucky if I’m able to capture five minutes of their undivided attention. I recommend saving your blog as a draft, sleeping on it or walking away for a little while. Then, go back and review before publishing. Ask yourself: Are you making your point clear and concise? There’s nothing worse than having a captivating title to your blog but the body that proceeds it is irrelevant. The details of your blog must be relevant to it’s title AND to your target market.
Hope this helps boost traffic to your blog! Please let me know and stay tuned for more marketing tips!