The marketing gurus and social media ninjas have spoken. We should be telling stories in real-time. Get your content out there as it happens and, the thinking goes, you’ll be rewarded with followers and engagement. But is this fixation with real-time communication eroding the art of storytelling and selling your content short?
This is the first in a two-part “beforetime” special. Be there when Part 2 goes online and chat to the author in real-time.
Think about how you share content in real-time. Let’s say you’re a music blogger who live streams the opening song of every gig you attend. It’s Monday and you’ve just bought a ticket for a live show happening Friday night. You tweet the good news and share a photo of your goofy face with the ticket between your teeth. You’re excited.
Friday night comes, you’ve elbowed your way to the front of the crowd and you raise your iPhone high in the air. Look at you, streaming the opening song in real-time for your blog fans! But how many of us actually saw your live stream in real-time? My bet is not many, if any of us. That’s because, apart from Monday’s tweet and goofy photo, you all but ignored the “beforetime”.
You might be an activist photographer capturing images at a street demonstration and sharing them in real-time on Instagram or Flickr. Or an SEO agency hosting a live Google+ Hangout to engage with leads in real-time. Or an excitable geek live tweeting from a tech event in real-time. No matter what you’re communicating in real-time, it’s likely but a glimpse of a more compelling story, one that started beforetime.
Beforetime is the minutes, hours, days or even months before your real-time moment happens. It’s the backstory that hooks your audience into an emotional connection with your content. It’s the space where curiosity, anticipation and excitement can ignite the conversation earlier. And it’s the elastic that extends the lifespan (and SEO) of your real-time content, so it’s discoverable before it happens and sticks around in search after it happens.
Since the most compelling stories include the five Cs (context, challenge, conflict, climax and change), beforetime is also the context, challenge and conflict that precedes your real-time “climax”. And yet most communicators invest all their energies into delivering a climax bereft of the story that got us there. While sex without foreplay has its spontaneous charms, you wouldn’t ditch the foreplay every single time now would you? That’s right: beforetime is to real-time what foreplay is to sex.
So how can beforetime attract new audiences and deepen engagement around your content? In Part 2 you’ll discover how to make beforetime work for you. I’ll even be there when the article goes online, if you have any questions. Just click here beforetime to be there when it happens in real-time.