Don’t Drown Yourself Out! Timeliness & Prioritization in Online Communications

The wonderful thing about online communications is that it gives us unlimited opportunities to push information out to the public in an array of different ways. The bad thing about it is – you guessed it – that it gives us unlimited opportunities to push information out to the public in an array of different ways.

So which is it? A blessing or a curse? Well, it’s both. And here’s why: Whether we’re talking about e-newsletters, Facebook updates, tweets or emailed press releases, the old-timey problems of needing paper, ink, postage, ad space or delivery time simply don’t exist. When your organization has news you can get it out to everyone quickly and effectively with no wait and at little to no cost.

However, this free-love era of communications doesn’t come with boundaries.

How do you know when you’ve sent too many emails or tweeted to the point of excess?  And when your schedule is completely full with your regular rotation of blogging and Facebooking and website updating, when do you fit in time for the special announcements? How does one differentiate big news from the regular news?

Like time in the sun and ice cream sandwiches, online communication tools must be used in moderation to remain delightful. Here are a few tips to both maximize your use of these delightful resources and not overwhelm yourself or your audience:

  • Pick Your Poison The number of communication tools you utilize should be in proportion to the size of your audience and your business or organization. Google can use everything. They are big enough to staff and have an audience for blogs, social media, newsletters – you name it. The local hardware store? Maybe a monthly enews is enough. Maybe a website and Facebook page will do it. If your audience is too small for multiple media outlets, you’re only diminishing the number of people who can pay attention to each of your efforts. Invest your time into the communication tool or tools that best fit you and your customers.
  • Look and Learn How often do you send out your enews? How often should you make Facebook updates? This is an easy one: as a consumer, how often is too often for you? What do you do with the weekly emails your musician friend sends you about where he’s playing that night? Delete them? That’s because weekly is too much. Look at your favorite business page on Facebook and see how often they update. Then do the same. You know how much is too much when it happens to you. It’s safe to assume your audience will feel the same way.
  • Make it Work for You If you have 10 hours per week to dedicate to communications, make sure your regular rotation of online communications only takes five to seven of those. Timeliness is important. Sometimes big news comes along and it has to get out today. More often small news comes along and it has to get out today. Give yourself time to be able to be responsive to the last-minute deadlines that arise out of nowhere.
  • Make Special News Special If you blog and tweet daily, big news won’t make a very big impact if you only blog and tweet about it. Instead, blog, tweet, send out an enews and post it on your website when a message really needs attention. And then link to your website from your tweets, and then write a blog that links to your enewsletter. If you’re making a splash every day (which you should be!), make sure you’re in cannonball mode when the occasion calls for it.

The internet is a big place. Sadly and delightfully, many, many people and businesses have figured out the ease and wonderfulness of online communications. You are but one voice. Though it’s a challenge to not let everyone else drown you out, the real key is to start by not drowning yourself out. Pick your tools wisely and then spread your great news!

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