Finding the Right Format for Your Message

The other day I was in an airport travelling home from a meeting.  I had time to kill so I stopped in one of the many terminal bookstores and browsed the magazine section.  I ended up purchasing a copy of People magazine. In addition to selling “newsstand” single copies, People also sells their magazine as a print subscription.  They have a robust online digital edition of their magazine as well as content you can access through Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. You can subscribe to their e-newsletter as well.

Why do they go to all that trouble?  The answer is simple – they want to reach as many people in their target audience as possible.  They understand that people have different lifestyles, different habits, schedules and tastes. Just because I’m not interested in paying for their subscription service or even bothering to read their content free online, doesn’t mean that in the right circumstance (such as having time to kill in an airport) I can’t be enticed to spend money to read their content.

The same applies to the message you have to share.  You write a book and are thrilled to see it in print, hold a copy in your hands, share it with a friend or colleague.  But how many more people in your target audience might you reach if that same message that you invested to have developed in print book form might also be available in these other formats:

  • eBook
  • webinar
  • audio book
  • podcasts
  • a series of magazine articles
  • a series of blogs
  • e-newsletter articles
  • an interactive online course
  • a master class or cohort.

If you want to be a successful communicator and writer you have to be good at three things:

  1. Creating content that a specific audience wants to digest
  2. Putting that content in a format that they will accept
  3. Making them aware of that content

Oh sure, we can drill down into the issue of pricing, design, timing etc.  But I contend these are subsets of the three factors above. Bottom line, you have to write something that your audience deems of value.  But once you’ve done that, consider how your audience lives. How can you present your content in a format that fits their lifestyle. I love Hibachi Chicken – but I almost always order it take-out, never dine-in.  If my favorite Japanese restaurant only served dine-in, they wouldn’t get much of my business even though I like their food. They have to prepare it in the format that suits my lifestyle. So it is with your message. Just because you never listen to an audio book doesn’t mean your audience doesn’t.  How many potential customers are you not reaching simply because your content isn’t available to them in the formats they prefer.

As you prepare to publish, consider your audience.  Do some informal market research. Ask them if they listen to podcasts, or audio books.  How many blogs do they read regularly? What social media do they spend time on for work-related or personal growth reasons. It’s important you clarify this.  Just because someone spends 2.4 hours a day on Facebook doesn’t mean they are using facebook to gain information to help them grow personally. Perhaps you’ve written a book on growing your retirement nest egg.  Facebook may not be the best way to reach your audience even though they spend time on Facebook simply because the reason they are on Facebook is to catch up with friends. They aren’t looking ad self-improvement ads or posts.  

You spend so much time thinking about your message.  Invest the same amount of time and energy, getting to know your audience!  Understand how they can most easily discover and embrace the valuable content you have to share.  Be prepared to publish your content in the formats that will allow you to reach the most number of qualified readers.

If you’d like help in sorting out the various publishing options give us a call.  We’d be honored to listen and to offer you practical, cost-effective and proven strategies to get your message into the hands, heads and hearts of the most number of people.  Call us at: 407-563-4806 or email us at

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