For 14 years I’ve published a weekly email column. It’s sent to thousands of people every Monday. You might be on that list – but you’re not reading that, either.
Maybe you’re in the print industry and apt to visit two
of the major media sites regularly – piworld.com and whattheythink.com. They publish my news. I’ve sent them releases about past events I’ve produced. Speaking engagements. New books I’ve authored. Market research I’ve conducted. And this past Spring, news about my new company. But you didn’t read that, I’ll bet.
Nearly 5000 people follow me on Twitter, where I post a few times each day. Maybe you follow me. But I don’t pretend you read my posts with any regularity.
I experienced a little epiphany this week. I sent out an email to all of my contacts, hundreds of them, letting them know that my email address changed and that my old company’s site (Print Buyers International) was about to come down.
In my mind, this wasn’t news. I’d announced my new company months ago, through all of the channels I mentioned earlier in this post. I’ve been using my new email all along. I’d personally emailed many of my contacts with this news. I sent out a news release, which is also posted on my site, and which I link to via Twitter and LinkedIn and my company’s FB page. And at the beginning of my weekly email, I’d often mention my new endeavor.
But the comments that came pouring in within hours after I sent out my “note-my-new-email” email made me realize something key. A great many people, important people, still didn’t know my news, which I considered old.
You’re not reading what I’m writing. Let me rephrase that. You’re not reading what I’m writing necessarily. Or all of the time.
I get it, honestly I do. Because I’m not reading what you’re writing, either. All of the time.
Every day I get over 200 emails. On a few different email accounts. Some are links to newsletters or blogs I have subscribed to. Some link me to major media portals. Some link me to your blog. Some might be your regular email missive. Many of these emails are junk.
I’m following over 5100 people on Twitter. But I’m not reading all of their posts, either. And I have 1650 contacts on LinkedIn. I guarantee I’ve missed some pretty big announcements from most of them. (I’m sorry.)
Every day we get 2 newspapers delivered at home, 3 on the weekends, which I read. Mostly. The television is usually on then, for network news. The newspapers sit on our leather ottoman, along with current issues from the dozen or so printed magazines we subscribe to. And don’t get me started on books.
I have 254 friends on Facebook. I check this site regularly and try to keep up with friends’ comings and goings. I'm sure I’m failing in this quest.
Those closest to me like to text me on my iPhone. That’s fun. It’s another form of communication that comes my way daily.
And occasionally the phone rings. Funny how that’s become the most personal form of business communication, next to standing right in front of someone.
So if you’re like me, you, too, are tossed nonstop on this sea of information, this congestion of content. How can we not be?
We’ve learned to pick and choose what communication gets through to us. Otherwise, how else could we get anything accomplished? We’re forced to “curate” the content we’ll consume, and if we writers/bloggers/emailers are lucky, ours is some of that content.
This isn’t going to stop or even slow down. I think we’ll all get much more selective in what content, what information, we’re open to, and even then, what we pay attention to will depend on a lot of circumstances. We don't have a choice – if we want to maintain our sanity.
What I learned from this is important:
You have to share your news again and again and again and again. A news release is good for starters. Then there’s email, blog posts, social media posts, and your web site content. Call the people who really need to know.
When you’ve done all of that? Rinse. Repeat.
Never assume that your whole audience has seen what you’ve written. It might have been a blip on their consciousness and never really registered. In a New York minute they were off to another post, email, newspaper article, or text message.
Whatever you do, don’t take it personally. I don’t. I simply realize more than ever how incredibly pressed for time we all are – especially time to consume information.
Finally, I won’t presume you’ve read this. Expect a recap – do I smell an infographic?? – in a month or so.