How to Get Your Ideas Noticed in Today’s Distracted World

Every generation lives out their faith and calling within the context of their particular culture. The apostle Paul lived out his ministry in the context of Roman domination; William Wilberforce campaigned in Parliament under the shadow of the British slave trade; Dietrich Bonhoeffer struggled under Nazi occupation.

Today, we live in a media-dominated culture and must operate our churches, ministries or nonprofit organizations in that technological context. In a previous age, all a preacher needed to be successful was a good Bible, a calling from God and strong lungs. But in today’s digital culture, where a typical American deals with as many as 5,000 media messages a day, how does the voice of your church, ministry, nonprofit organization – or your great idea rise above the racket? Here’s a few thoughts:

1) Understand you’re facing more competition than ever.  Sure your nonprofit or church is fantastic. Sure your movie or book idea is life-changing. But that’s not enough. You also need to cut through the clutter and get it noticed. Words like “marketing” or “branding” matter today, so take them seriously and get good advice on how to tell your story more effectively.

2) Become unique.  Marketing experts call it your “unique selling proposition.” In other words, what makes you different from the competition? Stop trying to be like everyone else and start looking for ways to separate your idea or project from the pack. To be noticed, you first of all have to be different, and you can start here.

3) Think about packaging.  In the old days, a great message or purpose was enough. But today, with so many other choices, how you deliver the message is just as important as the message itself. How your church looks, your book cover, the movie trailer, the quality of your product – all can be the gatekeepers that decide if a potential donor, customer, or audience member takes the next step.

4) Become the best in a smaller niche.  I tell young directors in Hollywood – “Don’t try to be the best director in the industry, start by being the best director of a certain type of film, or a certain budget level, or a certain genre.” The smaller the niche, the less competition, and the easier to get noticed. Once you’ve become the king of your niche, then you can grow to greater levels of recognition. But start by becoming the best in the world in a very narrow area of expertise.

5) Get your ideas out there.  I started writing for really small industry magazines for free, and speaking at tiny media conferences nobody even knew about. But after awhile I started getting noticed. That opened the door to my blog, which opened the door to self-publishing, which opened the door to traditional publishing, which opened the door to major magazines and platforms like Fast Company, Wired, Huffington Post, and more. That opened the door to bigger conferences. All of which is what brings potential clients into the door of our media production and consulting company, Cooke Media Group. But it all started with getting my ideas out there on a small level and then building from there. Are you taking social media seriously? Are you writing a blog? Are you offering to speak at small, even insignificant workshops or conferences? When it comes to media and publicity, people don’t really care about you, they care about your ideas. Get them out there and watch them work for you.

The world is changing, and if you have a message, vision, or calling, you need to get it heard. These five steps are a great place to start.

What’s the most important next step you need to make?

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  1. ~clap~clap~clap~ Good post and good reminders/tips.

    Remember how controversial it was when Ellen DeGeneres “came out” on her show in 97? Now it seems required to have the obligatory homosexual character/couple on your show.

    Make something entertaining and people will accept it in droves. It takes under 10 years to embed.

    If we, as Christians, don’t take back the cameras and microphones (PLEASE guys, remember the “entertaining” part) – we will continue to slip away into obscurity on a national level.

    People like healthy food if it tastes good.

    1. Excellent point Dean. I agree about remembering the “entertaining” part. It’s not just about entertainment, but Jesus was engaging and compelling, plus people immediately recognized that he knew what he was talking about. Good reminder, and thanks for posting.

    2. Cameras and microphones, eh? You know there’s another medium where we have an even greater chance to have a seat at the table and offer our perspective: videogames. The medium is young enough that we have an incredible opportunity to speak truth into a new generation of people. Something worth considering 🙂

  2. Great STUFF!! All if which I am going to implement. Truthfully this gives us practice, practice, practice while homing and developing our skill sets before we get launched out there. Why would we wanna get noticed on a larger skill and not be ready? Again, great stuff!

  3. This is one of your many blog posts i was talking about Phil, written a year ago but still works :)Doors are opening, Thanks

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