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Five Essential Elements To Every Online Strategy

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.

Video Boss – YouTube Superbowl Parody Commercial – Andy Jenkins (The Video Boss) Andy Jenkins brilliantly parodies the YouTube Superbowl Ad. He explains how he did it in part 3 of his “Video Makes More Money Than Anything” (Video Boss) series available, for free, at http I’m thrilled I can show you the video commercial here but the free content available at the site is nothing short of brilliant.

Before You Get All Excited About Facebook …

I’m very optimistic about Facebook and have placed a ton of emphasis and focus on my new Paul Colligan page over there. But, … we need to face(book) some facts.

Fan Page Updates are almost meaningless. Internet marketers love to act like these are as good as email so I decided to put things to the test. After three different tries, with three different messages, the numbers were almost exactly the same. I am 30 times more likely to get a click from an email than I am a Facebook Fan Page Update. Oh, and I might ad that where my email list is several years old, my Facebook list is less than 6 months old. Yuck.

Facebook Video is now the #3 video site on the planet – but that doesn’t mean they’re consuming your content at Facebook. Now, I’ve only experimented and test this with audio but, … Internet Marketing This Week audience members are 7 to 1 more likely to consume the show on the obscure Internet Marketing This Week iPhone App than they are Facebook with a simple click to play button for every episode (and remember, stats are that they’re more likely to hear that we have a new episode on Facebook than in most places). BTW, iPhone app to Zune is 5.5 to 1 more likely (for the Zune) and iTunes to Facebook is … 621.5 to 1 more likely (for iTunes). Yes, there is certainly that simple fact that a download on Zune or iTunes doesn’t mean a listen where a stream usually does – but the numbers are still pretty strong.

Positioning yourself in Facebook is not as easy as it may seem. A weekly Facebook user might have 5 pages of updates to catch up on and if you’re anywhere but page 1, the chance of them catching up with you (especially interacting) are pretty thin. The only way to deal with this effectively is to repeat the same message over and over again, which of course, loses fans on a regular basis. As a result, you can only really effectively use Facebook to remind people that you are around and still exist. Disagree? – leave your comments below …

The Facebook Fan Page content is indexed by Google bit is, although true, hardly as effective as a Blog entry also indexed by the gMachine. I recently developed a bit of a feeding frenzy at my site on a particular topic and rank well in Google for the keywords – but the actually entry (if they click) through appears on a long page of links and content, about 3/4ths of the way down the page. The idea that someone will find what they’re looking for at your Fan Page via Google Search is a long shot a best. The idea that someone might stumble across you page is there, but you better have an effective strategy of bringing them into your fold. If someone comes into the middle of your Fan Page – do they know the benefits of becoming a fan?

Finally, the “Fan Pages Don’t Require A Facebook Account” is both blessing and curse. If they can get the content on your Fan Page without doing anything, why are they going to click to fan you? If they’re not a Facebook user (there are a few left out there), why would they sign up for an account just to get your stuff? I’m already extremely selective about what pages I fan in Facebook as my social stream is already too cluttered as it is. The stuff I don’t fan, I don’t see.

I know we’re all supposed to love the Facebook to death – and I do – but it ain’t the same thing as we’ve had before. Make sure your strategy for this thing is more than a Fan Page – on account of everyone else having one.

Not too long ago, that’s why we were on MySpace …

Thoughts / comments? Leave them below …