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Social Media: A Different Kind of Expensive

by Tricia Cornell

Joe Pulizzi is sick of hearing people refer to social media as a “free” way to market content and build audiences. Sure, there’s no sign-up fee for Facebook or Twitter, but Pulizzi, founder of and co-author of the book Get Content, Get Customers, wants you to know this about social media: It’s not free and it’s not easy.

Social media, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube videos, and an ever-growing number of other options, can be a powerful tool that publishers can use to attract and retain more readers, subscribers, and followers. But, Pulizzi says, “Most people don’t have a strategy or even know why they need to be there.”

Pulizzi shared his “Five steps to building a social media model that rocks” with an audience of about 30 circulation managers, publishers, editors, and salespeople at the MMPA Summit on May 20. He included some tips that contradict a lot of old-school media thinking: Link to your competitors’ content as well as your own, offer a peek behind the curtain as you create content, and get those pesky, ankle-biting bloggers on board.

“Most publishers view those bloggers as competition,” he said. “I’m pleading with you: Work with them.”

He warned that even something as fast-paced and of-the-moment as social media won’t show results overnight. “It will take some time,” he said. “You won’t see anything happen in a month. But in six months, seven months…”

Happily, he pointed out that one key to a successful social media strategy is something we in the magazine industry have been doing right for a long time: consistent, valuable content, whether it’s in your print publication, your Twitter feed or your contributions to LinkedIn Answers.

“It’s hard work, but it’s totally worth it,” Pulizzi said. “The great thing is, you already have a brand.”

To view Joe Pulizzi's handout for the session and more resources from this year's Summit, visit the new MMPA website.

Tricia Cornell is the Editor of Minnesota Parent and Minnesota Good Age.

©Josh P. Roberts