How to Hook More Listeners


My friend Fred Jacobs always finds a way to stir the pot and inspire my thinking and he’s just done that again with the gift of a great new book.

How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal (with Ryan Hoover) is a great read for any of us in the content and audio delivery business (otherwise known as a radio). The book is focused on analyzing the convergence of access and data in a world where speed is critical to success.

If we are to succeed at making our brands more habit forming we have to be sensitive to what they call “The Hook Model.” The Hook Model describes an experience that is designed to connect the user’s problem to a solution frequently enough to form a habit. It has four phases: Trigger, Action, Variable Reward, and Investment.

The book provides great practical action by suggesting a specific inside-out method to be closer to the user experience as you create content. Many times in our business we fail to stop and think, “Who is our product user?” What is our user doing right before exercising their intended habit?

One of the great specific methods the book highlights as a way to answer that question is called the “5 Whys Method,” adapted from the Toyota Production System. This method is the basis of Toyota’s scientific approach which essentially repeats “why” five times in the development process of an idea so the specific solution can become more clear.

From the 5 Whys Method we got to the root of the relationship with the audience, why it’s a special relationship and how, with all of the combined elements, we have created a habit-forming relationship.

By understanding the opportunities of triggering behavior with current technology — emails, notifications, and text messages — the book tries to stir our futuristic thinking to develop triggers. For example, imagine a day when our radio brands can interact with wearable technology to trigger behavior?

Since the author Nir Eyal spent years in the video gaming advertising industries, he understands the power of understanding behavior, motivation, and psychology. These are areas that deeply impact our business on all fronts.

When you think of your brand as it comes out of a speaker, do you stop and  think how your listener is triggered to use you? Do you think about what behavior in their everyday life influences and triggers their usage of your product?

This book provides great practical action steps that can advance your thinking and I highly recommend it.

Thank you Fred Jacobs!



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