An X-Rated Column ©
In writing, that sentence is known as a 'hook'. In advertising, it's called 'positioning'.
For in effect what I'm trying to do is seduce you into reading more.
It's important to capture your attention because we're all on information overload.
Think about it.
Each time we turn on the radio, open a newspaper, magazine, or book, watch television, or listen to a speaker, we're inundated with information. How much we retain is questionable. It depends on our interest in the subject, how effective the words are that we hear and read, whether it affects us personally, and how the message is positioned.
I was horrified to learn how much overload to which we are subjected. For instance, the typical American family watches television more than 7 hours a day. It may be the same or more in Canada. Each year 30,000 books are published in the U.S. Each cereal box we read while eating breakfast contains more than 1000 words of copy. Hansard, the official Canadian publication that records our politicians' wise words of wisdom, must crank out thousands of pages and millions of words from Parliament Hill and Queen's Park. Judging from the junk mail this newspaper receives on everything from News in the U.S.S.R. to agricultural pesticides being tested on crops, the information is never-ending.
And did you know...
- there are in the neighbourhood of 100,000 prescription drugs on the market? How can a physician possibly keep up with the information on each?
- or that the typical supermarket has probably 12,000 products on its shelves?
It's mind-boggling. And impossible to retain all that information.
So to grab your attention, it's imperative a speaker, advertiser, writer, teacher, use short, snappy come-ons. It's no mistake that U.S.A. Today, the colourful newspaper with short articles from across the border, has hit success. USA Today is marketing the newest fad in newspapering - "McNews" - a quick, fast read. It positioned itself for that role.
In the same way when our paper came out last September with our new look, we followed a similar pattern: colour with shorter, more human stories. Also in this market place, another major regional daily newspaper is following suit with its 'new' look. Some of the older-style journalists don't like it, but McNews is definitely the way of the future.
We have too much information to digest in too short a time, thus a fast read is important.
So to a local parks executive, who inadvertently started the thinking on this subject with the loan of his book called "Positioning, The Battle For Your Mind", thank you.
I'd write you a note of appreciation, Bob, but I haven't got time. I'm busily ingesting and digesting all the information I get so I can keep up with the overload.
* * * * * * * * * *
Speaking of positioning power, our charitable organizations often have a difficult time reaching the public to publicize its special events.
Lend me your mouths for this one, please. The 2nd annual Hearty Soup Day Luncheon (at $5) is set for this Friday, January 27, from 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. at The Royal Canadian Legion across from our paper.
It's a neat and nutritious event with special ladlers. I'll be one of the ladlers along with other media members, local politicians, and dignitaries.
Even though it was great fun last year, I only hope I don't get soup spilled over me as I did then.
But then, I suppose it can be prevented. It depends, I guess, on how well I 'position' myself.