How To Create Memorable Content And Avoid Being Forgotten

People act on what they remember.

Being remembered and being memorable is one of the biggest challenges for any business.

Let’s be real for a second.

Most businesses are forgettable.

Most people you meet won’t remember you.

Most restaurants offer bland and forgettable experiences.

Most ads you see you forget. Most books you read you forget.

Our memories are getting shorter and shorter. According to this study, humans have a shorter attention span than a goldfish!

As a business owner, it’s very important to understand this concept. Most people forget things. When people say they will do something they usually don’t follow through.

Early in my career, I used to take things like this personal. Now, I understand that this is a natural human condition that has been made worse over time by technology.

Technology has been made our memories shorter.

In Impossible to Ignore, Carmen Simon argues people make decisions based on what they remember.  Over 90% of your content will be forgotten within a few days. It’s your job as a business owner to communicate your message in a memorable way to overcome the forgetting curve.

Creating memorable content will lead to more prestige, authority, action, and sales.

What is the Forgetting Curve

In the field of psychology, the term forgetting curve describes how the ability of the brain to retain information decreases in time.

This concept was first described by Ebbinghaus. He hypothesized that people remember messages depending on a number of factors, including difficulty, of the learned material and stress and sleep.

Even though this is only a theory I think it’s evident that people hardly ever retain information anymore. I remember when memorizing phone numbers was not difficult. Now, this might be too tall of a task for most people.

You can’t control for your audiences stress and sleep but you can create memorable content that will stick to your audience’s memory like butter.

ADD World

We live in an ADD world with endless chatter and distraction. It’s becoming harder and harder to stand out. You’re not only competing against other businesses you’re also competing against iPhones and Facebook.

Good content is not enough. Epic content is not enough. Unique and compelling content is what gets noticed.

In her book Impossible to Ignore, Carmen Simon identifies 15 variables that you can use to influence people’s memory: context, cues, distinctiveness, emotion, facts, familiarity (tied to integration with reflexes and habits), motivation, novelty, quantity of information, relevance, repetition, self-generated content, sensory intensity, social aspects, and surprise.

For the rest of the post, I will be going over what I think are 10 of the important variables you need to create memorable content.

1 Unique and Compelling Content

What’s your unique about your message? What makes you different than your competitors? What’s your unique value proposition?

These are some of the questions you have to answer to stand out in a unique and compelling way. The vast majority of service providers rely on referrals to get new clients.

Referrals are the best types of clients, however, by relying on referrals most businesses neglect unique parts of their businesses.

We are all unique. We have unique genes, unique experiences, and unique stories, but we fail to tell our stories because we conform.

We conform because it’s easy. It’s easy to do what everyone else is doing. It’s easy to copy your competition. It’s a lot harder to think deeply about your prospects problems and come up with a unique way of solving that problem.

2. The Importance of Following Up + Repetition

Most businesses don’t have any type follow-up system. Most people won’t buy the first time they hear from you. Depending on the price point and the level of complexity with your product/service it can take months or even years for your prospects to take action and buy.

A systemized indoctrination program can serve to remind people of who you are, how you can help them, what results you’ve gotten with other people, etc…It can also serve to educate your audience.

There are a lot of different ways you can follow-up. You can follow up with the following:

  • Email Drip campaign
  • Phone calls + Voice Messages
  • Postcards

The best way to make an impact and be memorable is to segment your messages to be relevant to each person’s unique situation. Ryan Levesque calls this “buckets”

Companies that use email to nurture leads generate 50% more sales ready leads and at a 33% lowered cost. And nurtured leads on average, produce a 20% in sales opportunities compared to non-nurtured leads.

3. Visual Content

People act on what they remember. And, people will remember a visual and compelling image over a piece of text most of the time. Our brains are visually wired.

Our brains process images over 60,000 times faster than text.  According to Dr. Lynell Burmark, Ph.D. Associate at the Thornburg Center for Professional Development and writer of several books and papers on visual literacy,

“…unless our words, concepts, ideas are hooked onto an image, they will go in one ear, sail through the brain, and go out the other ear. Words are processed by our short-term memory where we can only retain about 7 bits of information (plus or minus 2) […].  Images, on the other hand, go directly into long-term memory where they are indelibly etched.”

To illustrate this, consider the following example used to describe the same thing:

It is easier to show something than it is to describe it. When you combine descriptive language with visual and compelling imagery you are one step closer to influencing people’s memory and being memorable.

4. Novelty

People will remember something they haven’t seen or experienced before. Even if your content is novel people will forget it after a while.

The best way to be remembered is to tie novelty with a benefit to your audience. The novelty concept is similar to what Todd Brown talks about with his strategy “The Big Idea”

The big idea is a strategy that says you should present your message in a unique way that your audience hasn’t heard before. This is done to prevent mental opt out.

What is mental opt out?

Mental opt-out are the thoughts your audience gets when they see your message and think “I’ve seen that before” or “I’ve heard that before”

Creating a novel big idea message for your content and marketing is a great way to be memorable and get people to take action. (remember people act on what they remember)

5. Emotions

Most buying decisions are made with emotion. We rationalize our buying decisions after we’ve made them. To create memorable content you should use emotions in your messaging.

For most marketers, this means you describe the emotional benefit your product/service is solving. Most people don’t care about your widgets. They only care about the emotional benefit they’ll receive when they use your product.

6. Facts

Every time you make a claim you have to back it up with a fact. Your content will be more believable if it has facts backing it up

Specificity beats generality every single time. When you have exact numbers behind your message your content will be more memorable.

For example, “This One Weird Trick Has Made Me Over 6 Figures In The Last Weeks” vs. “This One Weird Trick Has Made Me Over $106,690.67 in the 43 days”

The second claim is a lot more memorable.

7. Relevance

Relevant content is more authentic, believable, and adds value to the conversation. People won’t care about your content unlesss it’s relevant to their problems, hopes, fears, and dreams.

Even Facebook and Google will knock points of your ads if it’s not relevant to the audience.

The more relevant your content is the more memorable. Segmenting your audience allows you to separate your audience into different categories.

When you understand each of your audience’s unique situation you can create content that resonates with them on a deep level.

8. Repetition

If you study successful sales letters you realize that the same benefits are constantly repeated throughout the letter in different ways.

By constantly repeating your main points you emphasize the most important parts of your message. Over 90% of your message will be forgotten in a few days so you should make sure to repeat the most important part of your message.

Repetition breeds familiarity.

9. Storytelling

When someone asks you what you shirt you wore a week ago what’s your answer? If your like most people you think back and see what you were doing that day.

If you had to go to work did you wear a particular shirt? What did you do that day? People think in terms of stories. Ancient wisdom was passed down through storytelling.

When creating memorable content you craft a compelling story and tie to the benefits of your product/service. This is why case studies, testimonials, and before/after images are memorable.

10. Cues

Similar to the NLP concept of pre-framing cues serve as a signal to remind your audience of what comes next. This is powerful because we all know that people can experience the same event in different ways.

By pointing out to your audience the “cues” they should look for you prime your audience with information that they should remember.


A lot of the concepts and ideas described are just rehashed from direct response marketing. They are told in a unique way so I still found the book valuable.

Carmen Simon argues that the two most important variables in creating memorable content are repetition and emotion. I agree and would also add storytelling as the third most important variable.

About the Author

My name is Mauricio and I'm the founder The Cardenal Group. I write about online marketing, sales, and entrepreneurship.

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