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How to stand out in the “attention economy” I Selected


Welcome to the second edition of Sesamer’s Declassified Survival Guide, where we give our take (and resources) on challenges amplified by the pandemic.

If you’re a professional, feeling overwhelmed and looking for solutions, this is the place for you.

Our last edition was on how to provide support for your remote team. This week we’ve compiled a guide on how to stand out in the “attention economy.”


  • Understand the importance of the “attention economy.”
  • Learn how to evaluate your competition.
  • Try out our list of Sesamers Tips to keep attention.
  • Get inspired by some case studies.  

What is the attention economy?

Accelerated by the pandemic restrictions we all find ourselves in, it doesn’t take me sourcing 5 articles for you to believe that there’s been a huge increase in the amount of time spent online.

Buzzing around are the following words: Zoom fatigue, the information age and the attention economy. I think by now that everyone (& their mother) has probably already watched The Social Dilemma and “been transformed.”

We’re living in an unprecedented age where we have immediate access to information from anywhere, for everything, on-demand.

But the fact is that we are not (yet) super computers, our brains get tired which manifests in different ways, including:

  • Shorter attention spans
  • Lack of engagement
  • Loss of interest

Over the past few weeks, the term “attention economy” keeps coming up in our exclusive Coffee with Sesame weekly meetings with event organizers. Time and time again, event organizers are asking themselves – and each other – “how do we stand out & how do we compete in this attention economy?”

Event organizers have never had such tough competition. Virtual events are not an equal experience replacement to physical events, we all know that. Instead of being in a venue surrounded by people, attendees are now at home watching a live stream in one tab and working in another. At the end of a work day, there is no drive to spend more time in front of laptop to absorb content. Our “tiny” human brains just can’t take it all.

TL;DR – Attention is precious. Keep reading to find out we are going to help you to capture it & keep it.

Evaluate your competition.

The first step to getting some of that precious attention back is to evaluate your competition. Here are some guiding questions:

  • Who is my audience? How will they be participating in my event? What device will they be using to participate?
  • Who is my competition?
  • What do they offer?
  • What are they missing?
  • If I can’t beat them, how can I join them?

Sesamers Investigation: Clubhouse & other audio-based mediums

  • What are they missing? Recording of sessions, pre-registration, analytics
  • What do they offer? Quick, spontaneous (often informal) sessions, free content

Identify why you’re losing attention.

Our #1 recommendation is to focus on value, value, value. Although easier said than done, the best way to keep someone’s attention is by providing them with quality not quantity content.

People are busy.

  • Provide access to recorded playback of your content / sessions
  • Offer more inclusive platforms (desktop and mobile, Android and Apple)
  • Keep the length of your content short. Do not create sessions with the expectation that attendees will sit in front of their computer all day
  • Source good moderators to keep the conversation engaging

People multitask.

  • Provide a way for attendees to synch their personal calendar with the event calendar
  • Try to find a solution that allows for PiP playback
  • Make a strong notification strategy. Email? On platform? Frequency?

People are facing options overload.

  • Build a community
  • Create catchy & sharable visuals
  • Generate hype prior to the event
  • Be present on multiple social platforms and keep up with current trends (like Twitter threads )

2 case studies

Hello Tomorrow Global Summit 2020 (virtual)

3 best practices:

  • Play-at-your-own-speed trivia game
  • Discussion boards
  • Access to recorded sessions post-event

Platform: Swapcard (mobile + web app)

START Summit x Hack

3 best practices:

  • Major social media campaign (including YouTube ads)
  • Spread out content over 8 days
  • Provided matchmaking tab to connect with other attendees at any time

Platform: Developed their own web-based platform

And since we still have your attention 😉 check out our upcoming event series – Sesamers on Tour – 12 weeks of content highlighting some of the best international tech ecosystems, every Tuesday afternoon from April 13th to July 6th, for free!


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