What IS Reach?
Once upon a time, I subscribed to the Chicago Tribune. (I apologize to the New York Times and my friends who Yankees fans. I also live in Wrigleyville.) I subscribed to daily delivery during the period that the Tribune won 11 Pulitzer Prizes. I’m not certain that I read any of the winning articles. Though the paper came as promised, with a job in the city, my schedule often didn’t offer me the time I wished to read it. Even when it did loosen a bit, I didn’t read every word of it.
So though the paper reached me. I wasn’t exposed it. I was on their list and I would bet that I was counted in their ad fees based on circulation.
My point is that reach only meant I was paying for it.
They didn’t have my eyeballs, impressions, or attention.
The traditional model of impressions, circulation, subscriptions has always been false.
The model of impressions and circulation numbers sold ads and justified advertising costs. I was the product the Tribune was selling. I was the demographic they were basing their numbers on. The people who bought the ads knew that I was supposed to be seeing, reading, and paying attention to those ads, but that there was know way to know if I was.
They were access to subscribers — much like the subscribers to my blog.
Do you believe for a second that they got access to every subscriber? Do you supposed every subscriber read every ad in every paper. Do you read everything you subscribe to — even most? (If you do, perhaps I should talk with you about some ads in the email that goes out with my blog.)
The impression, circulation, subscription model never delivered the numbers that it sold.
Now we’re applying that model to social media.
If I pay close attention and “prune” my power network just right, I should be able to connect to the perfect 150 power people who have each also connected to another 150 power people and so on outward. A mere two generations out would be a network of 3,375,000 power people. But just to hedge the bet, perhaps I should connect to 150,000.
Thing is any message I send to my own group only gets read the same as the Tribune did … when they have time. I’m not foolish enough to believe more than that.
Reach is not a guarantee of engagement, participation or even exposure.
Reach is merely a possibility.
“For decades, PR has been seen by many marketeers as âcheap reach via editorialâ â in other words, the goal of PR was to gain editorial coverage that provided the greatest number of opportunities to see â at a significantly lower cost than advertising.”
But even cheap is expensive if no one is paying attention.
How do we tell the folks who don’t want to know?
–ME “Liz” Strauss
Work with Liz on your business!!