Getting heard in the noise


Three prong plug - photo by Alikai (flickr)

A common problem people face when trying to address a community is that of noise. We live in an incredibly noisy environment, with people drowning in information and ever shrinking attention spans.

So how do you successfully spread your message?

I tend to use a 3 prong approach to publishing, with different information content and length:

  1. The message: something with a permanent URL, such as a blog-post, a forum post, a wiki page or a static web page. (as long as needed)
  2. An announcement: a blog or forum post announcing the existence of the new permanent URL, with links to it. (~100 words)
  3. Traffic bait: tweets, IMs and forum posts linking to the announcement. Short, to the point, with a link to click for the interested. (140 characters)

This approach captures people of varying interest and attention span. If the bait is sufficient for people to click the link, the announcement will give them enough information to decide whether to go on to the long post.

If the message itself isn’t too long, as in less than a few hundred words, you can probably skip the announcement and link straight from the bait to the message.

I’m by no means a professional publisher, but I’ve found this strategy to work well. What do others do? How do you get your message heard?

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About Lars Kurth

Lars Kurth is a highly effective, passionate community manager with strong experience of working with open source communities (Symbian, Symbian DevCo, Eclipse, GNU) and currently is community manager for xen.org. Lars has 9 years of experience building and leading engineering teams and a track record of executing several change programs impacting 1000 users. Lars has 16 years of industry experience in the tools and mobile sector working at ARM, Symbian Ltd, Symbian Foundation and Nokia. Lars has strong analytical, communication, influencing and presentation skills, good knowledge of marketing and product management and extensive background in C/C , Java and software development practices which he learned working as community manager, product manager, chief architect, engineering manager and software developer. If you want to know more, check out uk.linkedin.com/in/larskurth. Personally, Lars has a wide range of interests such as literature, theatre, cinema, cooking and gardening. He is particularly fascinated by orchids and carnivorous plants and has built a rather large collection of plants from all over the world. His love for plants extends into a passion for travel, in particular to see plants grow in their native habitats.
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