Has there ever been a more dreaded phrase in the English language than “To be continued …”
I’ll never forget going to the first Lord of the Rings movie with my husband on Christmas Day 19 years ago.
Although he didn’t really know anything about the movie or the series of books, my husband had seen the trailers and thought it looked interesting. This was back in our pre-kid days, so we grabbed my brother and my cousin and decided to go last-minute.
Three hours and 20 minutes later, my husband hadn’t blinked. As Frodo and Sam crested the hill and saw Mordor for the first time and the credits began to roll, my husband had a mild freak out.
“Wait - no! It can’t be done! What happens? I have to know what happens! What do you MEAN it’s a trilogy? I can’t wait a whole year for the next one! They cannot leave us like this!”
Grabs Audience Attention With Open Loop
My husband was on Amazon first thing the next morning ordering the whole Lord of the Rings boxed set of books. Then he read them all back to back to back.
To understand the significance of this, you need to know my husband is NOT a reader. He reads the Bible and a hunting magazine. He’d much rather be doing something active.
If you want to catch your audience’s attention, use pain points to create an open loop and watch them zoom that focus right in.
What IS Open Loop?
Open loop is a strategy where you use a hook without a resolution.
People love resolution. They love coming full circle, and they like a beginning, a middle, and an end. When you use open loop, they will keep coming back to close the loop because they want resolution.
You know where you see open loop a lot? Soap operas and infomercials. I’m not a huge watcher of either type of show, but they’re both masters of the open loop.
Every. Single. Frame. Of. Every. Single. Episode in a soap opera features open loop. That’s what keeps watchers coming back episode after episode and season after season for more. They HAVE to know who Sally Smith’s baby’s father is, why Derek Doright came back from the dead again, and who killed Veronica Victim.
The ONE Rule of Open Loop
One of the (many) reasons I don’t watch soap operas is that they break my ONE rule of open loop. What’s the one rule?
Close every open loop.
That’s it. That’s the one rule. If you’re going to use open loop as a strategy, always, always, always close it.
Your audience deserves it. Open loop really only works if the audience trusts you, and if you’re continually opening loops without resolving them, they’ll stop paying attention.
Actually, what happens is even worse than that. They won’t stop paying attention - they’ll just turn their attention to SOMEONE ELSE. Someone who is not you who may not have an offer as helpful or life changing as yours.
So close the loop.
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Hi, I'm Christa, an Iowa-based messaging expert specializing in targeted messaging, copywriting, and ghostwriting services. I have one handsome hubby who's my partner in crime (not literally) and two great kids who keep us busy (Track and field! Volleyball! Basketball! All the sports!) Using words to help people promote what they love is my favorite!