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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