First – some clarity: I don’t know David Petreaus, Paula Broadwell, Jill Kelley, or any of the other players in the soap opera that is playing out in this week’s news cycle. I am betting however, that I get a lot more Blog visitors because of the title I chose.
Right now, if you Google Petreaus, over 13 million hits come back. If you Google Petreaus, Broadwell, 168 million hits come back. It means that as much as was written or recorded about the General before the news of his affair broke, there is a whole lot more interest when things resemble a soap opera. Throw in some politics, some government (and not just ANY government agency like the Department of Education or the U.S. Treasury, but the CIA and the FBI), and the military (and not just a foot soldier, make it a very high level officer) and you have a way to get even more attention. Pundits, reporters, politicians, weight in. The social commentators, psychologists, authors and tangentially related occupations have two cents they are eager to toss in as well. Late night talk show hosts get to poke fun, and Op-Ed authors find that there is a sudden uptick in readership.
A Lesson learned: If you really want to get people’s attention, you better have a great hook.
Your hook can be salacious, sexy, tawdry or simple social commentary. It can be observational, used as a springboard for a related topic, or serve as a vehicle to connect. It can be clever, funny, or thought provoking. If the population you are trying to reach isn’t curious about what comes after your ‘headline’ they won’t read or listen any further.
If we want to engage, we must first get the attention of others.
I’d prefer that people read, comment on, re-post, send on, and tweet about the blog because they find it of interest and useful. I aim to be thought provoking about topics that relate to management, empowerment, communication, and professional behaviors. But first, I have to get the reader’s attention.