Pay attention, please! Person brand building in organized online attention economies

Abstract

Individuals increasingly seek to establish person brands on digital platforms that create organized online attention economies, which bring together attention seekers and audiences. While prior research has taught us much about how individuals develop person brands, there is limited guidance on how they attract and retain engaged attention (that is, attention that includes interaction) on such platforms. Through an inductive analysis of qualitative data obtained from a digital platform on which more than 16,000 authors compete for the attention of more than 13 million audience members, we develop theory regarding the iterative process by which person brands attract engaged attention in such online attention economies. Our paper offers practical insights to those seeking to attract attention and increase audience engagement online, as well as guidance to marketers and platform managers interested in taking advantage of this phenomenon.

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Fig. 1

Notes

  1. 1.

    At present, authors may also attempt to monetize their writing by submitting it to the OOAE subscription program, which accepts select content on infrequently covered stocks and makes it available to paying subscribers. Authors can also now seek approval to establish their own paywalled subscription service within the platform that applies exclusively to their own content (OOAE Editorial Team, 2018). However, paywalled content was non-existent during the data collection period and is not included in the netnographic data set. We believe it is most theoretically and practically useful to focus on person brand building in the “free” sections of the site because that context is most representative of other platforms where people seek to build their person brands.

  2. 2.

    Some content now sits behind paywalls, and other content—while free to view—now requires registration.

  3. 3.

    We are grateful to a reviewer who encouraged the development of this insight.

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Correspondence to Andrew N. Smith.

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Smith, A.N., Fischer, E. Pay attention, please! Person brand building in organized online attention economies. J. of the Acad. Mark. Sci. (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11747-020-00736-0

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Keywords

  • Person branding
  • Organized online attention economies
  • Attention economy
  • Digital platforms
  • Qualitative methods
  • Netnography