Is the number one commodity in today's world. Unless you can get it, you cannot proceed.
1. You don't get multiple bites at the apple.
Since attention is scarce and stretched if someone checks you or your product out and is not closed, chances are they will never check it out again. Which is why you should not launch before you are ready and when it comes to a product many companies release first iterations as betas, signaling the customer should expect rough edges. If the concept is good, if the utility is reasonable, people will put up with bugs in betas.
2. You can't spread the word, your users must.
Advertising is crippled. As is press. They can cause a limited amount of awareness but people today are turned off to ads, never mind DVR'ing TV shows and watching HBO and Netflix, they employ ad-blockers on their web browsers and if you're paying for advertising you'd better have a monster launch with a ton invested otherwise it's a no-go, and it still may be a no-go if you spam everybody. Because you can't reach everybody and people are wary of advertising, they don't believe it, they need to hear it from their friends. We all need to hear it from our friends. Who we might know in person or might just know online. It's about trusted filters. And those filters guard their credibility wisely. Credibility is everything in the attention economy. If you can't be trusted, then you're probably going to be ignored. You're building your reputation every day online, and all the bread crumbs are there for everybody to see. We don't take a look until our friends/trusted filters tell us to. And oftentimes, we have to hear from multiple friends/trusted filters that something is worth checking out.
3. Overnight success is history.
MTV blasted acts to the moon and they fell to Earth just about as fast. If you can gain major attention in today's world right away chances are you're going to immediately fail thereafter. Because few things live up to the hype and the hype causes backlash and in today's world it's not about stagnation but evolution, what does version 2.0 look like, how good is the follow-up song. When the bar is set so high to begin with chances are you cannot jump over it the second time around and people will stop paying attention. Better to grow slowly.
4. Don't hammer the audience.
If you spam us every day looking for attention we ignore you. Launch and then follow up. New songs/more product is much more important that more publicity. Satiate the core, which wants more. It's the core who will spread the word. But if you drop an album and promote it for two years you're missing the point. You're going after the looky-loos, the least committed people, your core is burned out on your new work and abandons you. You need to keep the attention of the core. And the more you say "Look at me!" the more you are ignored, or made fun of. Sure, there's train-wreck attention, where someone blows themselves up and we all know about it, but it lasts for about a day.
5. Respect your audience.
You've got no time and they don't either. Even babies are scheduled, we're all overwhelmed. It's a privilege to get someone's attention, you're not entitled to it. Ask for it nicely and thank people for giving it and don't ask for too much. Ask people to listen to one song, not an album, if they like the one they'll ask for more. If you send ten, they probably won't listen at all. You don't want to overload people.
6. Pull economy.
You cannot push, that's positively last century. Sure, you can grease the skids, pour some oil to get something started, but it's only working if people are demanding more. And if they are not, you don't have a marketing problem, you have a product problem. Marketing has never meant less. It's seen as phony and manipulative. You lead with your product. And it's either growing or failing. Either every day more and more people are watching your YouTube video or you need to make another one, that's different.
7. You rarely feel like you're winning.
With everybody clamoring for attention and traditional news outlets challenged you oftentimes don't know whether you're winning or losing. Which is why today it's about stamina and follow-through. So you've got to polish your product and create new ones and stay in the game, constantly tweaking what you've got and trying new things, and if you're getting more attention you know you're on the right track, if not, back to the drawing board.
This is where we are today. Tomorrow will be different. Virality is a thing of the past. As in faking it to get everybody to pay attention, it rarely works anymore, we've seen the trick and if you're trying to goose the process for instant success you're on the wrong track. Today it's about an overwhelming number of messages, tomorrow it's about the winnowing down of those messages. What will this look like? Will there be new gatekeepers? Will so many outlets fail that the ones remaining have more power? If you're not reevaluating and pivoting on a regular basis you're being left behind. Now, more than ever, what worked yesterday won't work tomorrow. So you have to keep experimenting. But success remains tied to attention. Your goal is to get people interested, dedicating their time, giving you their money. And the more sunlight there is online, the less fakery there is too. So, instead of promoting, you should be practicing. The truth is we're all looking for great stuff 24/7 and if we find it we tell everybody we know. Let it be you we are telling everybody about.