Broadcasting and publishing the easy way
Anyone can be a global broadcaster and publisher in less than an hour by using free tools that can be downloaded and activated in minutes.
Social networking has removed the barriers and the mystery.
Now anyone can build a global audience.
The following is a deliberately simplistic take on what is involved.
Image courtesy of Tim & Selena Middleton and release under Creative Commons
Step 1: Words (10 minutes)
- Register for a blog using one of the many free options
- A microblog such as Posterous or Tumblr could be a good start if you want to be up and running in minutes
- Write an honest biography and mission statement - keep it concise; there is a lot of competition out there
- Upload an article; better to have a blog with content than an empty one
- Check whether your blog has a retweet button; you will find it valuable later
- You will need to make full use of social networking so that people who like what you write can save it, share it and help with distribution (see Step 2).
Write a compelling biography or mission statement - make sure it is sharp and to the point
Step 2: Distribution (10 minutes)
- Open a free Twitter account.
- Don't follow anyone yet.
- People are unlikely to follow a blank Twitter account with no biography, no links and no valuable tweets
- Include your biography (mentioned in step one) - you can use the same one you used on your blog, consistency is important.
- Link to the blog or microblog you set up in Step 1.
- Go to HootSuite and set up a free account, or download any of the tweet aggregators, such as TweetDeck or Split Tweet. (Please add any other recommendations to the comment box at the end of this article.)
- Find topics that interest you and retweet half a dozen, adding information if you can
- Write a couple of tweets offering tips, advice, answer any questions - contribute rather than take
- Now you can follow others - because now you will have something interesting on your Twitter page and people are more likely to follow you (I never follow empty pages and I guess I am not alone in this).
Write a couple of tweets of your own - offer tips, free advice, answer any questions - contribute rather than take
Step 3: Audio/Video/Images (15 minutes)
- Open a free video hosting account
- You Tube, Dailymotion and Vimeo are options (please add others below).
- If you are working with audio, try AudioBoo or Soundcloud
- Again, for whatever product you choose, write a biography to go in your profile for the reasons set out in steps 1 and 2.
- Link to your blog or microblog.
- If you already have a piece of audio or video, upload it.
- Open a Flickr account, or any of the other image networking sites such as Picasa.
- Buy a cheap video camera, or if you have one on your phone use that.
- Think witness, and look for material not covered by others.
- Once your video is uploaded, tweet it and link to it from your blog or microblog.
- If the video is related to an earlier blog posts you may want to embed it in the text and then retweet.
Think witness, and look for material in the category of "had it not been for you the world would never have known"
Step 4: Creating a network (10 minutes)
- Now open a free Facebook account.
- If you have something particularly valuable to say, (and we all think we have) start a Facebook page and invite others to join.
- Be sure you have built enough interesting content on your page first; you need to feed the social networking debate not drain it.
- Consider starting discussions on your Facebook page when you have updated your blog with something you think may stimulate debate, or when you want to seek out the opinions of those in your social network.
- If you are on LinkedIn, start a group there, too.
- While on Linkedin, set up an automatic feed from your microblog or blog (RSS) to your new LinkedIn group. It's great for starting discussion threads each time you publish an article on your blog.
- You may want to build some Twitter lists; have a look around and see what you can do.
You need to feed the social networking debate not drain it
Step 5: Convergence and cross-promotion (10 minutes)
- Keep going back to your four sites - your blog or microblog, your Twitter page, your video page and your Facebook page - and make sure you are cross-promoting.
- You need links between all your social networking sites.
- Many have autopost options so that one post or email to one site updates the rest - be sure to activate them all.
- You want people who find one of your sites interesting to be able to find the other sites effortlessly.
- Think about how much traditional media cross-promote - social networkers need to be as active.
- However, be sure it is appropriate to cross-promote. As @lookseecity points out in one of the comments at the foot of this piece, "I see social media as several different tribes with subtly different roles. For example my Facebook page is more for friends and family - they don't want to be bombarded with constant tweets essentially about business. I think you have to discriminate more for maximum impact."
You want people who find one of your sites interesting to be able to find the other sites effortlessly
Step 6: Start creating stories
- Try the various curation tools to share information - Scoop.it, PearlTrees, Curated.by and Bundlr are good, but there are many others too.
- Sign up for Storify or Storyful. These have excellent tools for creating content and managing it. You can also embed your Storify or Storyful articles in a web page
- Use your new tools to do a bit of newsgathering around topics you find interesting - some tips here
Make full use of curation and aggregation tools to enhance your newsgathering
Step 7: Sit back and enjoy
- Continue to find ways to create interesting content for all your new outlets
- Share resources, share ideas, ask questions, answer questions, give people a hand, give information away, generally take part
- Respond when asked something and volunteer to respond if not asked - have a look at Socialoomph for ways of auto responding and looking after your followers
- Spend some time clicking through Mashable for picking up new tips. The site has a great How To section
- Make sure you spend enough time working on who you follow by logging on to Twitter and checking the suggestions
- Start creating a new digital contacts book and create Twitter lists so that you can categorise those you are following
- And if you want a bit of fun, start a paper.li site where you can create a daily newspaper from material uploaded by those you are following, a shared #hashtag or one of your Twitter lists.
Share resources, share ideas, ask questions, answer questions, give people a hand, give information away, generally take part
The author of this piece, David Brewer, is a journalist and media strategy consultant who set up and runs Media Helping Media. He delivers journalism training and media consultancy services worldwide via Media Ideas. He also runs a media mentoring service.