Jon Burkhart is a content strategist, keynote speaker, and author (Newsjacking: The Urgent Genius of Real-time Advertising) who knows how to close out a show. His signature closing "beernote" was a hit at CMA Live 2018 in Scotland. (You can also hear Jon speak at the MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum 2018, where he'll present "The Blockchain Trust Tango: A Constant Curiosity Game Show!")

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He’s founder of marketing consultancy TBC Global, where he invents interactive games to help brands enhance and refine their content-making process. Previously, Jon worked for the BBC, Starbucks, Google UK, Deloitte Digital, Accenture, MTV, and other global brands.

I invited Jon to Marketing Smarts to discuss how brands can create "firecracker moments" to get and keep their audience's attention. We also talk about how to know whether engaging in real-time marketing is appropriate for your brand in any given situation, and how blockchain technology is experiencing its own set of "peak" and "pit" moments just now. 

Here are just a few highlights from our conversation:

Before newsjacking, brands should do some "QU-I-E-T" thinking (04:29): "Truth be told, not all brands need their entire content strategy to be 'newsjacked this and that.' That's led to me having a career as a content strategist, trying to get people to step away from Twitter. I've been learning from the crimes against humanity, even starting my own 'brand trolls against humanity' card game, because there have been literally hundreds if not thousands of examples of brands where they thought [doing] this is right and then the reality was it was so, so wrong....

"So, 'QU-I-E-T' is my framework. I live in Britain, and we just had this wedding where this prince guy married this American girl.... I would say a lot of brands should have been quiet instead of trying to tell Harry and Meghan what they thought and [thinking] this is their chance on the big international stage. Let's ask some Questions about whether we have any reason to be in this conversation around Harry and Meghan, then let's apply some Imagination to the answers of those questions. Which ones can we really come up with a great answer for and imagine a piece of content?

"The 'QU' is questions, the 'I' is 'imagination,' and then let's apply some Empathy to the people who buy our product. So, essentially, if we started with 100 questions and only 20 really good answers to those questions, there's going to be even fewer that really connect with who you're trying to reach. Of those 10, you really need to test them, the 'T': So it's Questions, Imagination, Empathy, and Testing. That 'QUIET' framework...that's led people to do less and, by doing less in the whole newsjacking sense, you actually make more of an impact."

To get and keep attention, create "firecracker content"—content that "POPS" (10:34): "Because it's so hard to get and keep attention, what I help brands do is find this 'peak moment' where all of their fans, customers, are going to remember them. Chip and Dan Heath in their book The Power of Moments mention Disney as a content experience, and they go through the whole day and pinpoint the moments that most people view as a 'peak moment,' that being the adrenaline rush of Space Mountain, and than an 'end moment,' when you get the Mickey Mouse ears and walk away....

"I try to make sure that, through [the application of the QUIET framework], that we end up creating content that is very memorable and will stand out. I call it content that POPS.... A peak moment that 'POPS' is one that is Provocative, it's one that is Original, it's often Playful, and it's one that has a brick in the window at the end of 'oh my gosh, I didn't see it going there'—and that's a Surprise.

Think before creating content on a topic just because it's buzzy, like blockchain (22:06): "There's been this buzzword that's been bubbling for the last 10 years, and because of this Bitcoin thing it's come into the public consciousness...and people are just kind of freaked out about it, confused by it.... The reason I'm excited about it is because I've been involved in...judging talks on blockchain for SXSW Interactive...and I would say for the last three years I've seen this go in lots of different phases.

"Now we're into the crazy boom phase [of blockchain] that's going to lead to a bust. Because everyone's trying to solve every problem you can think of. I've got a deck in front of me right now. There's 42 big industries that blockchain could transform. I'm so excited that Ann Handley has given me the chance to present at the MarketingProfs B2B Forum so I can sift through those on stage in an interactive way, creating a blockchain gameshow."

To learn more about being "QUIET," creating content that "POPS," or Jon's speaking topics, visit Jon's website or follow him on Twitter: @jonburkhart. You can also connect with Jon on LinkedIn.

Jon and I talked about much more, so be sure to listen to the entire show, which you can do above, or download the mp3 and listen at your convenience. Of course, you can also subscribe to the Marketing Smarts podcast in iTunes or via RSS and never miss an episode!

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Music credit: Noam Weinstein.