Facebook! Twitter! LinkedIn! Blogs! Everybody tells us that online marketing is important, and that we’re doomed to fail if we don’t show up in all these places. At the same time, everybody around us seems to be using the whole range of social media with ease – while we don’t even know where to start or what all these tools potentially could be good for. It’s easy to feel like a complete technological dinosaur in this world.
Let me tell you a secret: The technology is irrelevant. What really matters is doing the important work you need to do in this world. What really matters is to get your message out to your right people.
I’ve seen too many projects, organizations, startups invest all their money and resources in a shiny website, a blog with all the bells and whistles and sophisticated social media platforms only to abandon them afterwards because they didn’t have the capacity to keep it up.
Online communication is not a one-off: It’s a conversation. What determines the success or failure of your project is not whether you’re on all platforms and use all the latest gadgets, but your ability to engage and grow your people around your project.
And that’s where I’d love to see you start.
If, at one point, you’d like to have a blog with one new article per week: Start writing now. See whether the rhythm is good for you. Find your topics, your style, your message. Once you have a few articles, show them to a friend (or a stranger). Ask them to point out what is good about your writing, what they would want to see more of.
When you’re ready to show your work to the outside world, the simplest of websites will do. Don’t worry about the looks or the right technology. Even though others will recommend that you move to more professional sites or get your own domain name, you can always do that later. Use with whatever works for you, right now.
If, at one point, you’d like to have a large following on social media or a large newsletter list: Start connecting with people now. They will want to hear more from you if you send them something of interest, something that makes them smile or helps them live their life better. Email is perfectly good, and at the beginning, you might just use an Excel sheet and send the message per blind carbon copy. No new tools needed.
When you’re ready, you can experiment with other platforms. You’ll want to be social, so pick the platform your peers are already using and connect with them. Think of it as a cocktail party: Say ‘hi’, listen for a while and be helpful first before you talk about your own topics.
Try to have fun and enjoy! As you start playing with technology to get your message out, you’ll see: Technology is easy. Content is hard.
P.S. – for some extra clarity or handholding for your forays into online communications, check out my ONE ON ONE Sessions!