Five Essential Elements To Every Online Strategy

Online is “different” in a Web 2.0 world. A few years ago, we’d speak of necessities in terms of technologies and tools.

It’s time to kill that approach. It’s now all about these elements – the tech simply doesn’t matter.

I’m going to suggest that everyone looking to market and publish online needs stop thinking about WordPress and Facebook and YouTube and Podcasting and the like – but think FIRST about these 5 elements and how they can use whatever technology they want to make sure they’ve leveraged these issues. It’s a subtle difference but can have a powerful impact on your place in this space:

Syndication. The Internet is now received on your audience’s terms. This is powered by syndication. Yes, RSS is part of this, but it is by no means the only (or most important) tech behind this element. I’d drop RSS in a minute for the syndicated social stream made possible by Twitter, Facebook or YouTube.

I can hear the geeks screaming now (I hear them because I am one), “but RSS powers all that stuff.” First of all, it doesn’t anymore and secondly, it doesn’t “matter” at all. It ain’t RSS that lets my audience watch my latest YouTube Video on their way home from work (after being notified that it’s live) and I’d bet you 90% of my audience who reads via RSS doesn’t even know that she’s the tech behind the scenes.

In short, 1) If EVERYTHING YOU PRODUCE ain’t syndicated, you are wasting your time. 2) If you think it’s about RSS, you’ve missed the point.

Interactivity. You must allow your audience to interact with your content much the same way that television must broadcast in color. It is simply expected and you basically look silly if you don’t provide it. There are tools that make it more robust and there are dozens of strategies on what to do with the interactivity but you must have it, period.

By the way, please comment below on what you think of this idea.

Microbursting. As I type this Blog post, I have to face two simple facts. The first one is that some of my audience will never read this blog by default (regardless of bookmarking or syndication). They need a reason to do so. These are people who make decisions based on the microburst. Microbursts (today) include Twitter, Facebook updates, status alerts, etc. But, and make sure you get this, whereas the tech might change tomorrow, the need to microburst ain’t going away. You need a microburst strategy more than you need a Twitter client.

When I publish this post, I will microburst everywhere that makes sense that this article is live, and I’ll see as many readers from the microburst as from anything else. This is, of course, automated – but that is another Blog post all together.

Multimedia. The second fact I must face is that the written word of a Blog like this only hits a certain segment of my audience. Like some respond to the microburst, some respond to audio and visual media. This isn’t me reading this Blog post into a slideshow and posting at YouTube, this is me asking myself how I can reach and audience best reached through audio and video (text ain’t enough).

Destination Strategies. You gotta go where people are. As cool as it is to think that everyone wants to visit our Websites and Blogs on a regular basis, we need to identify where they are and be there too. As I write this, a destination strategy demands a Facebook Fan Page and a YouTube User Page (even if you have no videos) but this could change at any point. In short, know where your audience is, and be there too.

One of the most freeing effects of this approach is that it moves content producers from having to master a tech to having to master communicating with their audience. Imagine how much better things will get for all of us once we’ve all made that move.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Austin Beeman

    Wonderful Post. I've been reading your stuff for years, and this is one of the most profound and powerful things you've said.

    In short, it is the completion of the old presentation “Think like Media, not a Podcaster.” I wouldn't be in this space if it wasn't for the mp3 of that 2007 presentation being posted online. BTW.

    I'd like to see you create an information product around this concept. I would buy it and it would also do lots of people lots of good.

  • BetterBizIdeas

    Great insights as always Paul.

    Here are two free tools I've begun using more and more:

    You can send your tweets to Delicious and then filter out certain content. Classic example of automating stuff.

    Deliciously Bookmark Tweets that have urls

    I am increasingly using tools that enable more and more of my content to be syndicated via Now, the quality of the content is a whole different story :) I am working on that… I actually got a BLOG up and running via FINALLY (what a pain in the arse….) I know you have expressed your frustrations with WordPress.

    Not sure if you saw this but Loic (founder of ) posted (March 2nd video) his use of caused his fan page numbers to go up notably by syndicating his content using the tool. He is also sending his stuff to Buzz, which I am trying to figure out how to do :)

    Loic's video on YouTube

    Dan Ross

  • paulcolligan

    Thank you for the kind words – and I couldn't be more thrilled that it has helped. Now, tell me this, what changes in your situation as a result of it? Let us all know so we can learn from you as well.

  • paulcolligan

    Thanks Dan.

    Cool thing is, I've been updating Delicious via for over a year now and, of course, I've seen the same results as have Luic (and chosen the same approach) so it's good to get confirmation that these things are actually working.

  • davidchandler


    Fellow Oregonian here…and will be in SD for the Traffic Geyser event. Will hopefully connect with you there.

    Great stuff here in this post. People are desperate for real-human connection…even though the “tech” is what will disseminate our message…people still have a need to connect with the messenger.


  • paulcolligan

    Awesome on the SD event – yes, let's connect.

    And, yes, it is about connection – not about tech. The second we make it about tech, the robots win.

  • michaelhartzell


    While I agree with all of these points… they are for the now.
    Will the 5 points remain the same in 12 months? Or will the five points change because of the clutter and over abundance of junk filling the virtual cracks?

    good stuff. thanks!

  • paulcolligan

    Great question. The idea here is to plug 99% of the problem with some standards that are pretty clear (and should be clear years to come from now). For instance, the way we contact each other might change, but the need to give content information seems like that will be going for awhile.

    And there is the simple fact that there will always be some junk – but if we move the industry to where the majority of it (and the expectation isn't) junk, we'll all do better.

  • zahzelr

    Great blog
    Need to get more followers? Check out http://www.HowtoBuildYourBusinesswithEzinesandO