I am afraid my audience is going to lose interest in my writing

Audience Bridge


The Context

We live in a culture where people’s attention spans are decreasing by the day. It’s getting harder and harder to be listened to, even if the work is brilliant. The minute you make anything, you compete with everything. Spotify’s algorithm, which has the best user data available on listening habits, reports that to count a song as one play, aka, one stream, that song has to be listened to for thirty seconds or more. Thirty seconds. Furthermore, they report based on billions of music plays that a fourth of listeners skip within the first five seconds, another fourth skip within the first ten seconds, a third skip within the first thirty seconds, and nearly half skip before the song finishes. All the more reason to have a bridge. If you don’t give people something different that’s worth sticking around for, you lose them. They skip to the next song.

The Tool

two color

Audience Bridge

AUDIENCE BRIDGE — Keeping customers engaged with your work through the power of surprise

Startups could learn a thing or two from songwriters. They could challenge themselves to answer some bridge building questions. How are you creating a sense of anticipation with your work? To what degree are you introducing variety into the products you ship? What could you do to tell stories about universal human emotions such as transformation and surprise? Disney famously launched a customized map programs that let families to create their own personal journey through each of the theme parks, six months ahead of their trips. Then the company would send their future guests five full color maps that were built to their specifications. Talk about a bridge. Even if your company doesn’t have those kinds of resources, it can still adopt the same spirit. Want to keep your clients psyched up while they wait for the next iteration of your software? Send them weekly screenshots of the latest prototypes until you’re done. Want to keep customers at the edge of their seat? Install a countdown timer on your website until your next event and update the page every time you secure a new featured sponsor. Want to keep your client’s enthusiasm bubbling while you’re toiling away at the office? Add a pre announcement section to your newsletter or blog with messages.

Scott's Take

Scott's Take

Desmond, the hall of fame songwriter who composed hundreds of hits for top rock and roll artists, shared a hot take on the purpose of a song’s bridge. After the second chorus, he teaches students, you better give the listener something different in the song that’s worth staying in the song for. Man that’s powerful. Think about some of your favorite songs of all time. You come for the hook, but you stay for the bridge, right? That’s certainly the case for me. The bridge is a transition. A break. The artist provides the listener with a sense of anticipation, signaling the start of the final section and creating variety in the music. And to me, this lesson goes beyond the field of songwriting. This is about transformation, surprise and human emotion, and how the stickiest stories in the world are the ones that have some kind of bridge.

The Rest

In conclusion, let’s quote the best selling book on storytelling of all time. Mckee writes that the arc of any story is the great sweep of change that takes life from one place to another. If the value charged condition of the character’s life stays unchanged from one end of a scene to the other, then nothing meaningful happens. Build bridges. Give people a reason to stay in the song. Who’s pressing the skip button on you?

The Benefits

Introduce more variety into the work you ship
Create a greater sense of anticipation around your projects
Keep audiences engaged while waiting for your next iteration
Build loyal fans who are on the edge of their seat to see what you make next

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