Online is “different” in a Web 2.0 world. A few years ago, we'd speak of necessities in terms of technologies and tools.
It's time to kill that approach. It's now all about these elements – the tech simply doesn't matter.
I'm going to suggest that everyone looking to market and publish online needs stop thinking about WordPress and Facebook and YouTube and Podcasting and the like – but think FIRST about these 5 elements and how they can use whatever technology they want to make sure they've leveraged these issues. It's a subtle difference but can have a powerful impact on your place in this space:
Syndication. The Internet is now received on your audience's terms. This is powered by syndication. Yes, RSS is part of this, but it is by no means the only (or most important) tech behind this element. I'd drop RSS in a minute for the syndicated social stream made possible by Twitter, Facebook or YouTube.
I can hear the geeks screaming now (I hear them because I am one), “but RSS powers all that stuff.” First of all, it doesn't anymore and secondly, it doesn't “matter” at all. It ain't RSS that lets my audience watch my latest YouTube Video on their way home from work (after being notified that it's live) and I'd bet you 90% of my audience who reads via RSS doesn't even know that she's the tech behind the scenes.
In short, 1) If EVERYTHING YOU PRODUCE ain't syndicated, you are wasting your time. 2) If you think it's about RSS, you've missed the point.
Interactivity. You must allow your audience to interact with your content much the same way that television must broadcast in color. It is simply expected and you basically look silly if you don't provide it. There are tools that make it more robust and there are dozens of strategies on what to do with the interactivity but you must have it, period.
By the way, please comment below on what you think of this idea.
Microbursting. As I type this Blog post, I have to face two simple facts. The first one is that some of my audience will never read this blog by default (regardless of bookmarking or syndication). They need a reason to do so. These are people who make decisions based on the microburst. Microbursts (today) include Twitter, Facebook updates, status alerts, etc. But, and make sure you get this, whereas the tech might change tomorrow, the need to microburst ain't going away. You need a microburst strategy more than you need a Twitter client.
When I publish this post, I will microburst everywhere that makes sense that this article is live, and I'll see as many readers from the microburst as from anything else. This is, of course, automated – but that is another Blog post all together.
Multimedia. The second fact I must face is that the written word of a Blog like this only hits a certain segment of my audience. Like some respond to the microburst, some respond to audio and visual media. This isn't me reading this Blog post into a slideshow and posting at YouTube, this is me asking myself how I can reach and audience best reached through audio and video (text ain't enough).
Destination Strategies. You gotta go where people are. As cool as it is to think that everyone wants to visit our Websites and Blogs on a regular basis, we need to identify where they are and be there too. As I write this, a destination strategy demands a Facebook Fan Page and a YouTube User Page (even if you have no videos) but this could change at any point. In short, know where your audience is, and be there too.
One of the most freeing effects of this approach is that it moves content producers from having to master a tech to having to master communicating with their audience. Imagine how much better things will get for all of us once we've all made that move.