Brian Solis is coming to Minnesota on Tuesday, July 27 to talk about his new book Engage (and I’m sure a host of other smart things – if you’ve read the book, you’ll know what I’m talking about).

I’ve got 36 business days between now and then to assemble a tribe of people to come see him.

How am I going to do that?

In order to spread the word about this event, I’ve created a challenge for myself based on a key concept in the book (and one of my personal soapbox issues): engaging through effective social media content.

(And yeah, the title of the challenge is a nod to the movie, “500 Days of Summer,” too. Um … cause it’s summer and this dance number makes me happy).

So, why a content challenge?

As social media has grown in popularity, it has contributed to a rise in the art of “short form communications.” We’ve got a lot to say, but now we have less space to say it in and readers who will devote less time to reading it.

Applications like Twitter are forcing us to find new ways to make an impression and engage with our audiences. As James Poniewozik said in this week’s TIME, “Twitter is pure voice, an exercise in implying character through detail and tone.”

It’s a style of writing that we’re still learning to master.

If I were to tweet: “@BrianSolis is coming to Minneapolis on July 27. Register Now: http://bit.ly/aigVPP every day for the next 36 days, the repercussions would be troublesome. And yet, this is how many people approach their social media content:

  • Facts included? Check.
  • Link attached? Check.
  • Optimized keywords seeded? Check.
  • Shorten for “retweet-ability” Check.
This is Brian Solis. We are quite fond of him.

This is Brian Solis. We are quite fond of him.

But those qualities are just scratching at the surface of what makes good content for social media engagement, (It’s akin to thinking that you’re going to get lucky at a party tonight simply because you know for sure that your breath doesn’t smell.)

You devalue and dehumanize your social audiences when you limit yourself to a checklist of content logistics.

Think of the doors that you could open, and the relationships that you could deepen, if you were to ask yourself bigger questions, like:

  • Is this content interesting?
  • Will anyone want to read this?
  • Does this content offer a solution to anyone’s problems?
  • Is this content about/relevant to “them” and not just “me?”

Professionally, I’m often tasked with teaching clients how to artfully marry the answers to the questions above with the practical logistics of short-form communications. And I’ll admit, it’s not always an easy process.

The reality is that it takes practice to write 140 characters of content that is both optimized and eloquent.

The “36 Days of Brian” Challenge

To that end, I’ve developed a “36 Days of Brian” challenge for myself, as both an exercise and an illustration of the power/practice of writing for the social web.

Each day, for the next 36 business days, I’m going to share one post, tweet or update about Brian Solis through one of our Kane Consulting social media channels. (Most likely, many of these will be tweets, primarily because I like Twitter best.)

My goal is to produce content that people will actually take a moment to read (and, ideally, share), to take advantage of all the hallmarks of short-form writing and (of course) to entice you to come hear him speak next month.

I’m human and hardly a master of the form, so I’m sure I will write some clunkers during the next 35 days (this blog post is fulfilling my requirements for day one), so I hope you will hang in there with me. But, I hope you will learn with me, too.

As Poniewozik also said in his article, “give people 140 characters and they’ll take a mile.”

I’m going to try to run mine in 36 days.

I look forward to your feedback, participation and questions along the way and hope you can join me for Brian’s talk on Tuesday, July 27.

For more information on An Evening With Brian Solis, visit our website or check out the press release.

© 2021 Jen Kane — All Rights Reserved