Nine years ago I posted a Say It For You blog about an experiment concerning the way people’s attention is engaged. The subjects of the study were people who drove the same route every day to work and back, passing a giant billboard advertising new cars. When questioned, almost none of those people remembered even seeing a billboard, but the moment any individual was in the market for a car, he’d notice the billboard immediately. The point was that if whatever a billboard is advertising is not relevant to our life just then, our brain brushes off the information and doesn’t make room for it in memory.
Anyway, I used that experiment to make the point that everybody’s blog posts are out there on the Internet “super-highway”, available for anyone to see, but that the only people likely to notice your blog at all are those searching for the kinds of information, products, or services you offer.
The other day I had an experience that showed me an interesting twist on that whole theory. I took a different route than usual driving home from a meeting and, coming across E. 96th, happened to pass a billboard advertising a Chipotle’s restaurant. Here’s what the sign said: “Chipotle – ½ mile ahead – if we haven’t moved!”
Now, I was returning from a lunch meeting; I’d had plenty to eat, believe me, and so wasn’t consciously or otherwise craving food. What caught my eye and aroused my curiosity was the “if we haven’t moved” thing. What was that about? Were they planning to move? Were they being forced out? Why weren’t they saying what their new location might be?
I’ve reminded you about my theory on billboards and blogging. I also have a theory about human curiosity and how that tests out in corporate blogging. This is it: our curiosity is at its most intense when it concerns testing our own limits, which is why I advise blog content writers to include quizzes and self-tests in business blog posts. Well, in those couple of seconds driving past that billboard, my brain went into high challenge gear – Where IS that restaurant? Is it still there or will I see a “Moved” sign on the door?
The really curious thing is, even had I been in the mood for a meal, Mexican cuisine would never have been my first choice. It was the “IF we haven’t moved” that made that billboard serve as a come-on, making my brain make room for its message.
What curiosity factors can you add to your business blog so that online searchers will make room for your marketing messages?