Genii Weblog

An unladen user

Tue 19 May 2020, 02:16 PM

by Ben Langhinrichs
Inline JPEG image
When creating videos and demos and blog posts, I always have to ask myself how long is long enough and how long is too long. But the question turns out to be a trick, because there are no unladen users. Everybody is too busy, too distracted, and too absorbed with their own issues. Unladen means not carrying a load. If you only focus on users who are not carrying a load, you are focusing on nobody at all.
Having said that, people probably do have a need for your software or services or whatever. Year after year, people buy our software, so we're clearly not only focused on the unladen. The difficulty then is knowing what load they are carrying, and how your software or services or whatever can lighten that load, or make it more productive or profitable.
So, while I strongly believe in brevity and most of my videos are 3 minutes or shorter, the real question: how you can get and keep the attention of a laden user? Clickbait headlines and dimmicks are good for getting attention, and lousy for keeping it. Information dense articles and videos are good for the thoroughly engaged, and lousy at engaging. Storytelling is fairly effective, but your story has to hit the mark quite closely, as distracted users often won't extrapolate to their own issues if the one being solved is not very, very close to a match.
Do you have ways you get and keep attention? If you do, how long do you assume the attention span will hold out? Obviously, the more your offering is exactly what people will need, the more likely they are to stay around to hear the pitch, but what do you do when they don't recognize that it is exactly what they need?

Copyright 2020 Genii Software Ltd.

What has been said:

1122.1. Richard H Schwartz
(05/19/2020 11:30 AM)

"Hi. This is Ben. I'm going to tell you about X. At some random point in this presentation, I'm going to give you a secret code that you can redeem for a milkshake. Now, let's take a look at..." :-)

1122.2. Ben Langhinrichs
(05/19/2020 11:32 AM)

Well, that would certainly work on me, but I might have to offer a beer for many other folks.

1122.3. Doug Finner
(05/19/2020 12:53 PM)

Videos that follow the 'Tell them what you're going to tell them, tell them, tell them what you told them' work for me.

Edit the crap out of the dialog; every word is important.

Steady camera, well lit. Show them what you're telling them.

I figure you have 5 minutes to get your point across. You may be able to hold them for longer but 5 minutes is a good target.

Your videos are well done. Kudos!

1122.4. Ben Langhinrichs
(05/19/2020 01:02 PM)

Thanks, Doug. I work very hard to edit the videos carefully, and usually add closed captions because it helps some people. I've also learned (somewhat) to put the end-result near the beginning so that people who don't hang around can see where you are going. If I knew I had undivided attention, I'd work up to the big reveal, but sometimes you have to sacrifice surprise for the sake of catching people while they are still paying attention. Took me years to learn that, sadly.

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