Digital marketing is easier and harder than it has ever been.
I recently launched an avocational project, a light-hearted podcast on fly fishing called “2 Guys and a River (http://www.2guysandariver.com/).” The word avocational is key. In this case, it means “on the side” and “on the cheap.” I run a marketing company, so normally the “doing” of marketing is something my firm pays employees and contractors to do.
But not when the doing comes out of my own pocket. I had to do the work myself.
The Somewhat Easy Part of My Digital Marketing Adventure
So I began to learn how to podcast. I asked around and figured out I needed high quality microphones (there are two of us), a 4 x 4 box (for the microphones) to plug into my Mac, and some small microphone stands for a table. I realized I needed audio editing software, so I decided to purchase Audio Audition. Then I had to figure out how to edit a podcast. Painful. Watching online tutorials drove me to (more) drinking.
I then needed to set up a small site.
Decided to purchase a WordPress template. Set it up myself. Found an illustrator to create our branding. Figured out how to set up a podcast feed. And how to get our podcast feed on Stitcher and iTunes.
All. By. Myself. And with some cheering from the other guy of “2 Guys.”
The creating of my “2 Guys and a River” digital marketing was relatively easy. My podcast partner handled the editorial, and we were soon off and running (or off and podcasting). With today’s ubiquitous web site templates and hosting services, free how-to information on the web, software for everything you need—never has it been easier to launch a service or a product.
Boom. Nailed it.
The Harder Part of My Digital Marketing Adventure
The fly fishing digital space is crowded. Loud. Noisy. And full of experts and guides and products and videos. Just like every other space. Creating another property or entity or product is not the widest part of the river to cross. It’s building relevant traffic. Creating and sustaining attention.
Last week, I told my podcast colleague, “Well, it has been a successful launch. We did it. Now we have to figure out the marketing.”
It’s not like we didn’t think about marketing up front. We did. We had a plan. And a paltry budget (remember, this is avocational). So we began our efforts with a whimper.
We decided to focus on Facebook and Twitter for our social platforms (while also tipping our hat to Google Plus). We couldn’t do it all (we quickly learned). Instagram and Pinterest would have to wait. We began to boost posts on Facebook and promote tweets on Twitter.
We published a new podcast weekly and one new article weekly, curated related topics on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus, and began the arduous slog of creating social engagement.
Building traffic has been a slow train coming. We discovered Outbrain, which has been (to date) our best engine for driving traffic. Still trying to figure out whether traffic from Outbrain translates into subscribers (the Holy Grail) to our feed.
Facebook and Twitter promotions are mixed. I’m sure we could have done a better job, but when you actually do marketing, you learn that much of what is trumped by marketing people like me is simply not true (or only true if you’re Coke or Pepsi and results from your marketing spend really don’t matter—or only relatively matter).
An article by Bruce Philip, who wrote The Orange Code and Consumer Republic, made the provocative statement that “Click fraud remains such a big problem that organizations have been formed to fight it as if it were a disease. Major brands like Kraft and Kellogg so distrust the viewability numbers they get from online video publishers that they’re boycotting them until they see independently verified data.”
Whether it’s our little podcast, “2 Guys and a River,” or Kraft—we all want the same thing. Traffic. Relevant traffic. Real traffic. And the more money you have doesn’t necessarily mean more engagement, growth, and, if you are selling something, revenue.
A Thousand Days of Attention
We plan to give ourselves a thousand days. Three years. About forty-two podcast episodes a year.
What do we really want after three years?
Well, we’d like 10,000 subscribers to our podcast feed. Perhaps the hardest part will not be the creating or even the doing of the digital marketing. Maybe the hardest part is sticking with it for three years.
And that’s exactly what I tell my clients. Are you ready for a long obedience in the same direction?
I am now being forced to live what I preach. Today’s digital marketing demands discipline, nimbleness, attention, a sense of humor—and a commitment to a thousand day march