Does Making S@#! Up for Attention Work? – By Jim Kukral

by Shawn Collins on May 14, 2010

Sure it does. It happens all the time.

For instance, a town in Israel is claiming a mermaid shows up at night to frolic in the sea for all those that want to watch. Local officials are now offering a cash prize of $1 million for the first tourist to take a photograph of the mermaid. Look, we all know there is no mermaid, so nobody is going to make the million bucks. But, it likely drives a lot of tourists, and tourists spend money on food, beverages, lodging and merchandise. Attention equals revenue.

Think about how many millions of people have visited Loch Ness in Scotland to try and catch a glimpse legendary Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster? Or, the money made off of tracking down Bigfoot, or the lost city of Atlantis? How many historical societies have claimed ghost hauntings to get more people through the doors? How many people have traveled to Area 51 in Roswell, NV to see for themselves if aliens do in fact exist?

The answer? A lot. More than you can count, and they’re all customers.

There’s no reason you can’t make something up to get attention for your business. Your customers might even like a nice ghost story. The point is that making things up sometimes just works. Consider a made up idea to be marketing, because that’s part of what good marketing is… telling stories.

All marketers do this in some way or another. The difference between the good marketers and the bad ones is that the good marketers embellish and create and entertain to help convince you of a need for their product or service offers, and the bad ones are just trying to deceive you.

Your potential customer is looking for something from you that they can latch onto, and telling a story is a great way to give it to them. I’m not talking about having a robust “about page” on your Web site (which is important to have, yes). I’m talking about creating a story out of your brand. What is unique or different or fun or sad or amazing about how your business or career came about? Tell that story, and if you don’t have one, make something up.

Storytelling is an art in many ways, but it can be learned. Successful copywriters are master storytellers. They are able to tap into the emotions of their readers, engaging them and leading them to an eventual ending. In the world of marketing, that is the call to action, and until you have a strong call to action, you’re never going to be able to turn attention into revenue.

The preceding is an excerpt from Jim Kukral’s book Attention! This Book Will Make You Money, which will be in bookstores in August 2010.

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