The relationship between brands and their customers has changed remarkably in recent years.

Thanks to a variety of new marketing technology and tools, online marketing is undergoing a tectonic shift--from an era of abundant attention and scarce content to a period when content is everywhere, and attention is waning.

With content flooding the internet at an exponential pace, consumer attention is now the most precious resource.

The challenge for marketers is to cut through the clutter of content noise and provide access to the particular alternatives that interest individual consumers.

Here, I've laid out the seven commandments for attracting and keeping consumer attention, despite the challenges.

1. Thou shalt create 10X content.

10X Content is any content that is ten times better than the top ranking SERPs results for a given keyword or topic.

Before anything else, you must create content that is exceptionally better than what's out there if you wish to hold the attention of your customers. Its benefits can include giving a solely positive user experience via user layout, fonts, visuals, interface, and overall style.

10X content is truly exceptional, offering combination of trustworthy, high-quality, interesting, useful and evergreen information, holding attention now and in the future.

2. Thou shalt be omnipresent.

When marketers talk about "reach," it's usually in the context of search marketing. But the reality is that consumers find your content through a variety of channels across the internet.

To stick in the minds of consumers, disseminate your content across all online marketing channels. A holistic approach to online marketing is the best way to engage with potential customers, wherever they are.

3. Thou shalt be consistent.

Whether you're writing a personal blog or building a global brand, mastering consistency is the key to building influence within an industry.

Content consistency is your path to building trust, credibility and a great reputation with people. Consequently, it's the way to hold their attention day in and day out.

Consistently publishing and content builds the foundation for your business and ultimately, your company's reputation. Even if your content isn't "10X" quality at the outset, publish it anyway so that potential customers can expect fresh content from you week after week.

4. Thou shalt build relationships.

While BuzzFeed-style list posts may get clicks and shares, the true value of your content lies in its ability to build lasting relationships with your customers.

Build connections with your readers by giving them information that solves their pain points, addresses their needs, and inspires them to take action.

Contrary to most content marketing, which grabs attention via interruption, relationship-based marketing starts willingly via an opt-in by the customer. Further, when you have a relationship with customers they will actively promote your brand through word of mouth.

Build relationships with your customers and you'll find that they will naturally want to give you their attention.

5. Thou shalt respond to criticism in a timely manner.

There's no doubt that one of the biggest risks to businesses involved in social media is the possibility of brand and reputation damage.

But don't let negative feedback on networks like Twitter and Facebook scare you. Instead, recognize that feedback is a two-way street, and a chance to learn and grow from customers.

Always listen to customers and their feedback. By no means is the customer "always right", but your company's slip-ups are an opportunity to turn a negative situation into something positive.

Rather than get defensive, recognize that friction and "crises" are a huge growth opportunity, and a way to build goodwill with customers.

6. Thou shalt provide an exceptional user experience.

When designing your content, get rid of clutter and make it simple for your customers to reach their end goal. Good marketing requires an emphasis on a stellar user experience.

Recognize that people can't focus on more than one thing at a time. Rather than design content that "grabs" attention, effortless direct readers' attention where you want it to go.

Give readers the information they need, and not a sentence more. Eliminate everything that distracts from the final outcome and doesn't meaningfully contribute to the content.

7. Thou shalt measure engagement.

For years, content marketers held click-through-rate (CTR) as the ultimate measure of content quality.

As user experience became an important ranking factor, engagement metrics like bounce rate and time on site gained recognition.

A recent Chartbeat study showed that, if a page could hold a visitor's attention for just three minutes, that visitor is twice as likely to return to the site than if the page kept them for one minute.

In other words, two or three minutes is all it takes to become a trusted brand in the eyes of consumers.

Rather than focus exclusively on the quantitative metrics like traffic and pageviews, track the quality of that traffic by measuring how users interact with your content.

Measuring attention-based metrics, you can update your content in ways that bolster engagement and hold readers' attention.

Conclusion

These days, it's becoming more difficult and expensive to buy attention. To stand out with content marketing, you have to earn attention.

Earn it now and in the future by creating epic content, 10X content, or even 100X content. Be so good that you amaze your customers in ways they never expected.

Give people experiences they will never forget, and in return they will happily give you their trust and attention.

What principles have you discovered that hold the attention of your audience?

Published on: Jun 16, 2016