More is practically* always better

I was talking with some friends today about their nonprofit website. We were talking about a bunch of other stuff about creating community, building a network, etc., and they said, by the way, how often should we be updating the site?

Love this question. Partly because I have a better answer than I ever have before. It’s one of those questions that editorial folks like me love to bat around, as if there were a “right” answer.

So before I give you the “right” answer, just remember, the real answer is “it depends.”

So the answer I gave is, today, information is flashing past all of us much faster than any human could hope to absorb it. If you want to have any hope of competing — with your competitors, with Facebook, with TV, with Netflix, with text messages and iPhones and Angry Birds — you have to throw as much out there as is humanly possible while staying true to your mission.

The more nuanced answer is, you also have to mind how you’re delivering your content. Because in practically no situation is 100 posts a week on Facebook the right answer. Are you hitting people at the right time, in the right medium, with the right info?

But too much is so rarely the issue. Look around here….I’m terribly stingy with my own blog posts….resolving to improve that situation posthaste. The point is, so few people are putting out too much stuff. The danger of that is rare. So get out there and start sharing!

*Practically: The only situation is which more is NOT better is alas, a situation I do see from time to time, and that social media sadly enables. People who are out there spamming their poor audiences with irrelevant content should be drawn and quartered. There’s enough real information we can’t sort through — don’t muddy the water with spam, no matter the medium.

How to build community around your content

If you’re using the web today to talk to your audience, you have to understand better than they do how they use the Internet.

Great post today from Mitch Joel on building community around your content. If you’re not in the social media sphere, though, that sentence alone sounds like inside baseball. Let me see if I can translate myself into plain English.

Whatever your organization, it’s critical to differentiate yourself from your competitors. We all have competitors — and the Internet has only opened those doors wider. Even local monopoly-like organizations [like an industry association or certain nonprofits, for instance] now have to compete for time and attention with resources the Internet brings to our doorsteps.

For many of us, sharing our insights online becomes a differentiating factor. The transparency and accessibility that social media gives you multiplies your presence. You can have the reach of a larger organization like body sculptingĀ Scottsdale, even if you’re just one person.

But if your customers are taking advantage of the Internet and social media, you can also experience the opposite effect — you are drowned out by the onslaught of sheer volume. It doesn’t even have to be your direct competitors. Anyone, anything that takes your customers away from you is competition.

That’s where Mitch’s insights come in. If you’re using the web today to talk to your audience, you have to understand better than they do how they use the Internet.