If you’ve been wondering why some previously unknown individuals get on a social platform like Facebook or YouTube and attract millions of visitors and followers while many sit there with few to none, a new book, The Impact Equation: Are You Making Things Happen or Just making Noise?, by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith answers this question. I was lucky to receive an advanced copy to review, and my husband Ken and I give it two enthusiastic thumbs up. In fact, we’re in the process of reading it again, because there’s so much valuable information in it that we want to go back and bookmark certain sections. Here’s why we think it’s a must-read for anyone in business or in the business of marketing:
What is Impact?
Chris and Julien say that the difference between an idea that resonates with millions and one that’s ignored is a measure of its impact on its audience; and their equation gives you a tool to analyze and tweak your idea’s impact. Many of us are aware that we need some sort of a platform like a blog to get our ideas out and that our message needs to appeal to the interests of our audience, but sticking your fine ideas on a social platform can seem like buying space on a billboard in the Badlands when your audience is in Virginia City.
The Impact Equation
So how do we make the magic that causes our message to catch on like funnel cake at the town fair? Chris and Julien decided to examine the question from the point of view of the audience. What would matter to the individual on the receiving or viewing end? The result is six attributes that are needed in combination to catch and hold an audience’s attention and resonate–in other words, to create an impact. Carefully named so as to make a nice, memorable acronym (CREATE), they are as follows: Contrast, Reach, Exposure, Articulation, Trust and Echo, and the formula is
Impact=C x (R+E+A+T+E).
The Contrast attribute is basically what most marketers understand as “differentiation.” Your message has to somehow be different in a way that it stands out from all of the others clamoring for attention in the same arena. Chris and Julien made it the multiplier of the equation because it’s the single most important attribute. In their view the other attributes are useless without it.
Reach is the size of your list, the number of subscribers who will receive your message. Exposure is how often they will receive your message, and Articulation is how quickly it will be understood. Trust is a measure of how well people trust you as a conveyor of the message. Do they feel you have sufficient credentials, experience, and reliability to trust what you’re saying? Finally, Echo is the degree to which your message connects with the audience. Like Trust, Echo is actually as much or more about you as it is about your message. Does your audience connect with you? Do they like you? Do they feel you are one of them? Are you reaching them where they live?
Using the Formula
The book explores in more detail the meaning of each of these attributes and the ways they can be measured, helpful tips for maximizing each and pitfalls to avoid. The trick to using the formula is not to use it as a pass/fail judgment of your efforts, but as a discovery tool for uncovering your strengths and weaknesses so you can concentrate your attention on the attributes that need it most.
More About the Book
While relating their formula in this 261 page paperback, the authors give us a fascinating picture of the state of online marketing today and a glimpse of its future. Are we in fact as Chris and Julien say in the Wild West where all the rules are out the window in a media power grab? I think beyond a doubt that we are, and we’ll be left in the dust without tools to find our way. Chris and Julien have given us just set of helpful tools. Impact Equation is available on Amazon in both print and Kindle versions, so as they say in the Wild West, “Saddle up, partners and git yerself a copy!”
More About Chris
Chris has some other books on social media topics in his quiver, including another he co-authored with Julien, Trust Agents, and his own on using Google Plus, G+ for Business. He also contributed information on G+ for the book Kathryn Rose and I co-authored together, Solving the Social Media Puzzle. You can find out more about him at chrisbrogan.com.
NOTE: Apryl Parcher and Parcher Marketing Associates are not an affiliate for this book, and were not compensated in any way for this review.