Friday, April 12, 2013

Defining Promotion

Chris McGinty (According To

There is a discussion that happens in our group somewhat frequently that involves pointing to a blog, video, website, etc., and saying, “That’s what we should be doing. Look at how many hits they have.” I always return with, “I bet that before they had millions of hits, they did a lot of promotion.” I think maybe that I haven’t defined what I mean by promotion very well. I think a blog post might be just the place to do it.

From the Merriam Webster website: 2: the act of furthering the growth or development of something; especially: the furtherance of the acceptance and sale of merchandise through advertising, publicity, or discounting.

Let’s focus on advertising and publicity for this blog post, because the ATW already provide hours of entertainment for free. We can’t really discount that unless we start paying folks to be entertained by us.

When I did door to door fliers, I started by doing fliers for my job at the time, which involved delivering pizza. While I was out advertising the pizza place, I grabbed a flier from a door here or there that the recipient didn’t seem to want to receive, and I called to try to get more work. The flier business was never successful enough for me to quit delivering pizza, but it did provide extra income.

In 2000, I had an e-zine (website that contained writing, basically). I had guest writers on the e-zine, mostly people that I knew personally, but I also had three outside submissions. These didn’t come from people randomly finding the website and submitting. They came because every time I updated the website, I went to e-zine community websites and let people know the website existed.

With both the flier business and the e-zine, promotion was contacting one person at a time, or posting to one website at a time, and letting them know a service existed. This is commonly known as word of mouth or grass roots. By letting a few people know at a time, you let a lot of people know long term. I think the problem with this definition is that some promotion involves reaching out to large groups of people, and I think that most people consider that to be the default definition of promotion, because bigger is better.

I think that when I talk about promotion, this is what my cohorts hear, “How do we get hundreds, nay, thousands of people to come to our website by next Thursday?” When really what I’m asking is, “How can we get one more person than yesterday to start frequenting our blog or website?” I think there is a place for both types of promotion, but more importantly, I don’t think you can effectively promote if you ignore either type.

You have to get 1 view before you can get 1,000 views. You have to get 1,000 views before you can get 1,000,000 views. Worry about them in the proper order.

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