Engage the public or die

Halfpenny postage stamp, issued 1891.Image via Wikipedia

Part 4…

After the overall challenge of profitably hosting a Complete Community Connection – C3 – but critical to achieving that goal, effectively engaging the public may be the toughest part of the job.

I have a few ideas for how to approach this, but for now I’d like to toss out some questions. Feel free to share if you have answers or even additional questions.

  • Who is your target market – IOW, who is it that you want participating as members of your C3? Institutions as well as individuals? Is there anyone you don’t want?
  • What might compel someone who freely comments on news stories from the comfort of anonymity to begin using his real name?
  • Why would a busy local expert spend his or her time helping your LoMediaCo add context to the news?
  • What can you offer that would persuade young people, bridge clubs, veterans, runners, stamp collectors, Alzheimer’s support groups (anyone, really) to participate in your C3 when they already have ready access to numerous online alternatives?
  • How will you engage people in meaningful ways? How will you get them to care?
  • How much control over content are you willing to give up?
  • What content is appropriate, and what (if any) is not?

If I had all the answers, I’d probably be blogging from my dream cabin in the Rockies instead of my cozy chair in front of the TV. Obviously, I don’t. However, if I were to actually build the Smithtown Howler Community Connection, I’d very likely try to adapt some good ol’ advertising and marketing techniques to this new world and appeal to people’s egos, their curiosity, their wallets and their stomachs.

My apologies for stretching the limits of brevity again. Look for some thoughts on interactivity and simplicity later this month.

Comments? A free cappuccino at Coffeesmiths in C.R., IA, for first one on-topic. Limited-time offer expires midnight Sept. 12.

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