My background is in publishing. I worked for various publishing companies for 10 years before starting my own business. In 2005 I studied part-time for a Postgraduate Diploma in Digital Media Management at Birkbeck, University of London – one of the courses I now teach on. This was the first time I came across social media – or ‘Web 2.0’ as everyone was calling it then. I started out building websites, creating digital media – and advising on social media. I narrowed my specialism to social media and continued to share what I had learned with others. Teaching is central to everything I do, whether it’s lecturing, running a workshop or in-house training, writing books or producing online learning materials.
Yet I’ve almost come full circle, because part of my business is now publishing magazines, ebooks and other learning resources at Publishing Talk – the online community of authors and publishers I have built up over the last few years. So, you might still call me a publisher. But here’s the thing: whatever your business is, if you are using social media you too are a publisher. My experience of publishing, social media and running a small business has made me realize just how interconnected these things are.
You don’t have to run a content business or a training business to benefit from social media. You don’t need to run a high-tech business or sell ‘information products’. You don’t even need to sell products from a website. You just need to have a presence online, use the social networks that your customers and prospects use, and give them a reason to connect with you. But you can’t just do a few tweets: you need to publish some content. That content is the starting point for your online marketing campaign, as you use it to reach and engage with potential customers and clients who will seek it out with their online searches.
The principles apply whether you are a carpenter or a bike shop. Anyone with an internet connection and a bit of creativity can now communicate with the world via the written word, audio, video and images. You don’t even need a computer – you can do it from your smartphone. A radical power shift of content creation and distribution from large media institutions to individuals has taken place over the past few years: everyone is a publisher now.
This post is an extract from the Introduction to the 2nd edition of Get Up to Speed with Online Marketing. Read the full Introduction and Chapter 1 here.