Getting Their Attention

Getting Their Attention

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Whether you’re doing business or trying to score a date, we all run into times when we need to get someone’s attention. And unless you’re devastatingly attractive or insanely rich or famous, the best way to get someone’s attention – usually – is to be a great storyteller.

I’ve written more than once about the necessity of being a great writer in our business, especially for the purposes of conveying clear and concise messages to the media.

Before you can be that great storyteller, you need to know what great anglers refer to as “setting the hook.”

In other words, what do you say right out of the gate that makes someone go, “Yeah, tell me more?”

1. Relationships and reputation – Before someone reads your snappy subject line in your pitch letter or release, they see your name, either on the printed page or in their email inbox on their screen. Are you a known commodity? Do you have a reputation for sending good info or are you a spammer? Are you reliable and trustworthy? These are all things that will come into play in deciding what to do with your pitch, before they even click “open.”

2. Accuracy and brevity – The people to whom you are sending your opus are busy. They’re getting dozens of these pitches every day. Whatever you write needs to stand out, and being brief and accurate are absolute necessities. They also help you weed out the unnecessary details that will get in the way of a person making a positive decision on how to act on your pitch.

3. Ask directly and provoke action – Make a clear petition for a person to do something that you want. Give them a reason to act quickly (the word “exclusive” often has a narcotic quality with savvy and reporters). Give them an easy way to come back to you and request more info. And respond when they ask.

4. Promise and deliver – Tell people what you’re going to do for them when they respond and follow up immediately. The more time you let lag between these two, the greater your chance of failure grows.

5. Titillate and Anticipate – Making someone curious is your goal. But provoking that killer comeback is useless if you don’t have a good followup. Since we’re all human with the same basic needs, we’re pretty predictable. And you can typically guess what someone is going to ask for next in life. So do your homework and be ready.

What are your secrets for getting someone’s attention?

[Disclaimer: This post was prematurely emailed before it was finished. For those loyal enough to have subscribed, you may have received an earlier draft of this, and I apologize. So much for “scheduling posts.” Thanks for your understanding.)

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