Wednesday, July 24, 2013

What's the best source of promotion?

When I was young technology was something seen on a Jetson’s cartoon on a Saturday morning in your PJs. We had TVs with channels 2, 4, 7, 9, 20 & 50; and usually only one TV in the house. There was this round knob on it that when you got up and walked across the room and turned it, it actually changed the channel for you. There was also one for volume (imagine that). We had a stereo console with a built-in record player (that played REAL records). We didn’t have answering machines or call waiting, cell phones or computers. Wow… how did we ever survive? We even had these thick yellow things called ‘phone books’. If you wanted to call a plumber or an electrician you looked up their ad in the book. Times were definitely different then and for many, much simpler.

Technology can be a great tool. It can be helpful and efficient, but it can also be a distraction - just look at all the people losing sleep over Candy Crush. I guess it just depends how much you want to use technology, what you want to use it for, and why you want to use it. I read an article the other day that said if you want to be a serious and competitive journalist you absolutely have to have an IPhone, otherwise you can’t share your stories on the scene and instantaneously. Makes sense since getting the first scoop is usually the #1 requirement for a reporter.

This week on Facebook I saw a post from a friend looking for a reference for a roofer. I’m happy to say I was able to help her out. Seems to me that old-fashioned person-to-person referrals are still the best source of promotion. It doesn’t matter if it comes in the form of a phone call, a Facebook post, or a real face-to-face conversation while standing on your driveway.

Promotion is crucial if you’re in business; you need to get the word out about your product or service, why you’re better than your competitor, and how much you can save the customer. Publicists, advertising agencies, and webpage designers will no doubt try to convince you that you can’t possibly do it without their help (for a low, low price of course), but businesses are different. They’re all about their product or service. Relationships are another thing entirely. They need one-on-one contact, they need attention, and they need nurturing to be able to grow.

I’ve been thinking about all of this because of this blog. This blog is an extension of me – it’s my being personal and having one-on-one conversations with my readers. But how do I promote it? How do I make it grow? How much do I even want it to grow? To me, it still comes down to referrals. Sharing the blog with your friends is a referral; the best kind, because you’re making it personal. It’s using the modern day tools of technology and combining it with old fashion personal contact. A great blend, if you ask me. Sure I could make flyers on flashy paper or pay for ads on the Internet, but that would only increase the # of readers I’m reaching. It wouldn’t let me get to know my readers; that comes from readers making comments on an entry and me responding back. Someday this blog may grow by leaps and bounds, but then again it may not. We’ll just have to wait and see. In the meantime we’ll just take life one blog entry at a time.

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