Learn How to Maintain Attention to Position Yourself in the Industry (via Obaid Durrani)

Obaid Durrani
READ TIME – 10 minutes

Hearing about low attention span is nothing new.

Every platform and creator tries to fight against it with Reels, TikToks, short hooks and texts with a lot of spacing to make reading easier.

But since people can swipe your content in seconds, how can you grab their attention, and moreover keep them engaged to read, watch or listen to your whole content?

How can you stop them from scrolling?

Which creator wouldn’t want to be Mr. Beast and master the art of capturing and retaining audience attention?

Starting with written content, the ability to hook an audience from the start is a craft that great content creators excel in like the ones Neal O’Grady mentioned in his post.

You can use thought-provoking questions, relevant statistics, or captivating headlines, with the final goal to make your audience read all your content.

But what about video content?

You can use the same techniques as the written format or but there is more to it.

Besides the hook and the topic, in videos the visual elements play an important role in retaining attention. 

The placement of key elements on the screen, the choice of backgrounds, use of different formats, using cinematic techniques, and the integration of graphics all contribute to the overall visual appeal. 

You should embrace creativity and explore unconventional approaches to break the monotony of traditional content to capture interest.

In B2B you might say that humor and viral trends might not always apply, but we have Todd Clouser or Tim Davidson who keep their audiences engaged with edutainment. 

Same as in writing, you must aim to build a distinctive brand personality to differentiate yourself from the masses and make yourself memorable for the content you create.

Like Sahil Bloom who is now maintaining his audience’s attention with his cold wisdom talks or Obaid Durrani who’s rapping about marketing or playing video games while talking about marketing.

But no matter how much you crave for your audience’s attention you must keep in mind that that’s not your ultimate goal.

Your goal is to create memorable experiences for your audience and create a sense of community.

Who is Obaid Durrani?

Obaid Durrani is a seasoned professional with a diverse background in sales, content writing, and marketing.

He began his journey in sales, than he scaled a content writing company from $1.7M ARR to $7.2M ARR in 2 years.

Later, Obaid bootstrapped a 5-person content and animation team, achieving an MRR of $35k. 

He actively participated in content creation and strategy, editing thousands of blog posts, growing multiple websites to over 150k in monthly search traffic, and training a considerable number of content marketers.

Obaid also started a podcast called Cheat Codes and co-created The Easy Mode Framework together with Todd Clouser, which helps B2B SaaS companies turn their in-house marketing team into creators & establish a content engine.

In 2022 he started to be more present on his LinkedIn and grew his audience to almost 14,000 followers.

In March 2023, after a 3-month break and passing on a few companies, Obaid was convinced by Emir Atli to join HockeyStack as their first full-time marketer.

And he says it’s the perfect place for him to learn, experiment, and make an impact.

How is Obaid maintaining attention and why is he a B2B creator?

  1. Grabbing and maintaining attention
  2. Building a personal brand around B2B marketing
  3. Building The Flow for HockeyStack
  4. Creating the Easy Mode Framework

Grabbing and maintaining attention

Obaid is a master of catching people’s attention from the way he begins his LinkedIn posts to how he creates his videos.

Take a look here where he hooks your attention with a question talking about familiar brands, Headspace and YouTube and giving you that incredible views number that just makes you want to click on “See more” to see what was Headspace’s strategy.

It should be obvious that Obaid is great at catching attention in written format given his previous experience.

But, what I want to talk about is his approach on videos.

I’ve said earlier that a person’s attention span is low and things aren’t looking to get better.

So grabbing and maintaining attention is going to be harder than ever in the years to come.

On TikTok the trend of creating videos using the Duet or Stitch features has been going on for a while to keep the viewers on the app.

But how can B2B creators keep their viewers engaged when their videos have nothing to do with funny cats?

Obaid appeals to video games.

He creates video game content where he talks about different topics from B2B marketing while he plays video games.

You can still see him on the left corner of the screen while he talks, but what you see on 90% of the screen is the video game he’s playing.

Obaid even added lofi music and sometimes overlays images about what he’s talking about.

When he first started making these videos, he used to appear on the right, but eventually he switched on the left.

He used to play games similar to Counter Strike, but now he plays videos driving cars or motorbikes in the city.

I wonder if these have something to do with visual techniques from the cinema.

Long story short, seeing characters in movies moving from left to right or looking into the right side creates a positive connotation since our western culture has trained our brains to view left to right movement as an indicator or progress.

Plus, seeing the objects (the car or the motorbike) moving forward suggest progress as well. 

Before vs. After

These types of videos he creates contribute to building his distinct brand personality. 

And viewers may remember Obaid for the unique and creative way in which he presents content.

This differentiation helps him stand out in a crowded digital space and attract a diverse audience.

He also posts on LinkedIn short-form videos where he plays video games without him in the corner where he talks about all sorts of things from his life.

Besides grabbing attention with these two types of videos, he creates a sense of community among viewers especially the ones who enjoy playing video games.

Need proof?

He created this post about Mortal Kombat with marketers where he created some of the marketers he knows in AI to look like MK characters and it had 350 likes and 177 comments.

The gaming marketers niche specifically asked him to create a community which he did, but more on that later.

Building a personal brand around B2B marketing

More specifically, he’s building his brand around content marketing.

In everything he posts to his almost 14,000 followers, whether it’s videos, podcast snippets, or written format posts, he talks about content marketing.

Some of his posts generate 200 reactions, or others original ones go to 381 reactions and 281 comments.

Take a look at this video post where he created a video rapping about marketing.

It’s about more original approaches to content creation.

He did this rapping after posting another one a few weeks back that had 333 reactions and has played for 3.700 minutes.

To put things into perspective, 3.700 minutes means 2.5 days.

But why is he coming out with out of the box posting ideas?

Because content marketing doesn’t equal blog posts and newsletters.

Content marketing can take a lot of forms and content teams should be more open to experiment to maintain their audience’s attention.

And one more thing, he strongly believes marketing is about creating memorable experiences.

For that, Obaid stresses the importance of delivering messages through a unique or interesting perspective, encouraging creative thinking in content creation.

He also emphasizes on writing content for your specific audience, not for yourself, for your team, for your manager,  or for your CEO – something we tend to do sometimes.

With his creative thinking he grew his LinkedIn following to almost 14,000 in 1 year proving that people are more likely to engage with original approaches to content.

Building The Flow for HockeyStack

In one podcast, Obaid said that in a Zoom call with Todd Clouser, Obaid told Todd they should create a platform to put all their video content and group it into a series.

Even though their content wasn’t serialized at the time, they thought of their common themes that could be transformed in series.

Todd frequently shared videos shot in his backyard, directly addressing the camera that could be called “Backyard Stories”. 

Obaid adopted a unique approach, discussing marketing topics while streaming on his PS5 that could turn into a “Level Up” series.

Companies with existing content can identify their common themes and organize content into serialized formats, be it videos or blog posts, or audios.

Emir Atli, CRO at HockeyStack, approached Obaid, who was in Dubai at the time, working on a Lavender song, with a job proposal. 

Obaid was hesitant at first because he was on a break from working in what seemed like unsuitable environments. 

Before accepting, he made it clear to Emir that he wanted to engage in creative marketing, not just create blog posts and ebooks. 

Since Emir kept on saying “You got it” he also told him about wanting to build a streaming platform.

That’s when Emir showed Obaid “The Flow,” a project that was not a traditional blog nor a library, but it was inching towards a streaming platform.

Emir told Obaid that’s why he actually wants him in his team, hiring him as the first marketing to work on this project.

Before deep diving into the project, they crafted a strategic narrative, aligning it with industry sharing, product vision, company objectives, and audience interests.

Behind the scenes, a fiercefull strategy was being implemented to drive their vision forward.

To maintain motivation and cohesion, they emphasized the critical role of content in achieving company goals.

Content, in general, is the driver for building awareness, guiding prospects through the sales funnel, and providing clarity about a product. 

Since working independently doesn’t properly work in marketing teams, they implemented a media content approach from the outset. 

This approach accounted for individual tasks and gradually constructed a comprehensive plan that helps them accomplish specific purposes through the series they make.

By strategically developing series tailored to achieve specific goals, they can further distribute content across different channels. 

But most importantly, their content wasn’t designed in the manner of a simple ebook download, it was meant to provide enjoyment and value to customers creating a deeper connection with the audience.

Most of The Flow content is edutainment to attract and maintain their audience’s attention.

Creating the Easy Mode Framework

Easy Mode is a framework, a community, and a four-month program tailored for B2B SaaS marketing teams seeking to cultivate an in-house media engine.

The program is structured into eight essential components, spanning Mindset, Purpose, Strategy, Ideation, Creation, Distribution, Performance, and Iteration.

It helps marketing teams understand how to make a variety of content, how to make audience segmentation, and helps them establish content objectives. 

The purpose is to then build a strategic narrative and content engine based on a company’s goals, products, and audience’s interests.

This is the framework used by Obaid and Todd to create The Flow streaming platform and it was also implemented at Lavender, Cognism, Kasper, Heimdal, and more.

The Easy Mode framework consists of eight parts, and Todd and Obaid talk in detail about it in Obaid’s podcast Cheat Codes.

1. Mindset

First you have to understand what it means to create good content and then consistently try to create good content.

Based on Obaid and Todd’s ideas, good content can be:

  • Insightful – provides valuable insights or education. It could be in the form of a talking head video or a text-only post on platforms like LinkedIn
  • Interesting – presenting the insightful substance in a more engaging and interesting format 
  • Entertaining – it involves delivering insightful substance through an interesting format and also building the content on an entertaining concept. 

2. Purpose

Obaid says in a podcast that there are three purposes:

  • Top down content which targets strategic decision makers in a target market with a strategic narrative to drive change in a company from the top down.
  • Middle out is the content targeting those who would tactically implement your product.
  • Bottom up which is the content aimed at the end users who can drive admiration and evangelism from the ground up. 

3. Strategy

Obaid thinks people often encounter challenges in the ideation process due to a lack of understanding in these five essential elements..

These are details about your product, your product’s narrative, your audience, objectives, and content formats.

4. Ideation

Then you have to choose your marketing objective or business goal and determine which content formats would help move you closer to that goal.

It’s also important to think about the message you want to send and what action you want your viewers or readers to take after engaging with your content.

5. Creation

Start building memorable experiences for your customers based on the above mentioned points.

6. Distribution

Think about the best channels where you can distribute your content and the cadence you will be able to post depending on your production time.

7. Performance

Todd and Obdaid say that there are six things you want to look at when trying to understand the performance of the content you’re creating based on their framework.

It’s about seeing an increase in engagement from your ICP, receiving questions and comments, building relationships with people from your ICP, collabs and podcast invites, tags in other conversations regarding the topics you’re building content on, and increase in follows from your ICP.

8. Iteration

Here is the part where you analyze how everything performed and refine your strategy.

What can B2B creators learn from Obaid?

Learn to maintain attention

You should learn to maintain attention using a multifaceted approach that combines creativity, strategic thinking, and a good understanding of audience behavior and your goals. 

Think outside the box

Embrace creativity and explore unconventional approaches in content creation.

Obaid’s use of video game content while discussing B2B marketing topics is a great example of thinking beyond traditional methods to engage and entertain the audience.

Apply the Easy Mode framework

Consider adopting the Easy Mode framework especially if you plan to create a content engine.

It will help your marketing team to be organized, to have the proper mindset, know the purpose and strategies and deliver insightful and enjoyable content that your audience would like.

Final Thoughts

Obaid is proof that content marketing shouldn’t be boring and that it doesn’t limit itself to blog posts.

He even gives a list of 50 content ideas to try this year.

So it’s time to be creative and come up with interesting formats, unique ideas that will grab your audience’s attention and keep them engaged.

2 responses to “Learn How to Maintain Attention to Position Yourself in the Industry (via Obaid Durrani)”

  1. […] Obaid Durrani once said in a LinkedIn comment that there are three reasons someone posts on LinkedIn. […]

  2. […] about this since 2019, companies like Apollo.io seeing the importance of growing evangelists like Zoë Hartsfield, and content creators like Obaid Durrani or Todd Clousser seeing the importance of promoting the […]