Are You Making Things Happen or Just Making Noise?



Bloggers Chris Brogan and Julien Smith burst onto the publishing scene in 2009 with their social media marketing best-seller Trust Agents. They return with a new book, The Impact Equation, which delves deeper into how to be heard and noticed in an age when everyone is connected.

Brogan and Smith know their subject. As the authors explain: “Anyone can write a blog post, but not everyone can get it liked 40,000 times on Facebook and not everyone can get 75,000 blog subscribers. We’ve done these things, but it isn’t because we’re special. It’s because we tried and failed… We tried again and again, and now we have an idea how to get from point A to point B faster because of it.”


The authors’ secret to getting from Point A to Point B is encapsulated in the equation:

Impact = C x (R + E + A + T + E)

The “C” stands for Contrast, which is another way of saying positioning or differentiation. A successful contrast, according to the authors, offers both similarity and a noticeable difference.

The “R” stands for Reach, that is, how many people you connect with in as many channels as possible. At the heart of reach is your platform, which is basically, the authors write, “a combination of all the tools you use to reach others.”

The “E” stands for Exposure. This is a tricky area: Too much exposure and you just become more spam. The authors offer several strategies for building your exposure, including: start with like-minded people before trying to raise awareness; tell stories that make the buyer a hero; and help others first.

The “A” stands for Articulation. For the authors, the key with this attribute is to use small words and connect the dots.

The “T” stands for Trust. A prerequisite to successful impact is understanding why we trust others. Credibility, reliability and self-interest are the key elements that generate trust.

Finally, the “E” stands for Echo, which, the authors write, is the “feeling of connection you give your reader, visitor, or participant.” The best way to create this feeling of connection is to find common experiences and use these experiences to show people that you understand them.

Guiding Principles

The Impact Equation is divided into four sections that give a guiding set of principles for moving forward with your high-impact initiatives. First, begin with your goals, exactly what you are trying to accomplish. The next set of principles is built around the concept of ideas, and covers the Contrast and Articulation attributes. As mentioned above, platform, the next category of principles, is a key component of successful social media Reach and Exposure, while the attributes of Trust and Echo are grouped under network.

Every hour of every day around the world, people are striving to connect with each other. Most of them are no more than grains of sand on the beach, unnoticed by others. The Impact Equation offers solid advice from two veterans of the social media arena on how to break through.

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