In the past, if you wanted to engage in some marketing, you’d take out a full page ad in the paper, or perhaps produce a television commercial, or maybe get a radio spot. Maybe you’d even do all 3, spending thousands of dollars along the way.

The great thing about that media, in that time, was that everyone consumed content in the exact same way. There were only so many radio, televisions stations or newspapers to choose from, so it was reasonable to assume a fairly large number of people would view your ad, regardless of whether it applied to them or not. Then they could decide at that point whether or not your marketing was speaking to them. So your large advertising budget, applied across a broad audience, a small fraction of which would become new business for you, perhaps even enough to justify the advertising budget.

Today is obviously much different. Thanks to the self-publishing world, there are now podcasts and the like that compete for radio audiences. YouTube channels,  Vimeo and many others take their own share of television viewers, and the sheer dizzying array of mediums with which to consume written content is beyond count.

For the consumer, this means more than choice than ever. It means you can quickly find other people out there who collect fishing lures with as fervour as you do. It means you can find a YouTube cooking channel that satisfies your paleo dietary requirements. This is absolutely wonderful, in many ways. However as a business owner, this leaves you in a quandary. In the words of Seth Godin, “all media is now optional”. In other words, no one is going to engage in your status update, blog post, discussion, tweet or open your junk mail unless they want to.

Since this column is too short to really get into what you need to do to get people to engage in your content, I’ll leave you with some homework:

  1. Understand the psychology behind social sharing – this generally involves knowing how to help your readers connect with others, knowing that readers need to trust you before sharing, and that KISS (Keep it simple, stupid) applies to your content, too!
  2. Remove the friction behind sharing and engagement – in other words, given people buttons that make it easy to put your content on other channels.
  3. Use images to stand out and get more social impressions but please! Keep it authentic. A stock photo of a woman wearing a telephone headset is so 1990…! Use your own images so that you are telling a truthful story.
  4. Learn what time of day/week your content is generally consumed and schedule your posts/newsletters/tweets accordingly. Every platform has some kind of “insights” that contain pretty graphs describing everything you need to know about who is looking at your stuff and when.

Something to think about when you want to get your useful/entertaining/informative content out there…

Happy posting!