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What's Off-Topic?

Are homeowners in a gardening group interested in posts about landscaping?  Is a homebrewing group interested in an interview with a brewery that goes into detail about their brewing process?  Is a beer group interested in a show about filmmaking where we interview the director of a documentary on craft breweries?

I'm a one-man marketing team with no marketing experience, so I'm trying to figure all this out as I go along.  So far things are going pretty well.

Yesterday I tried an experiment.  See, I had a new episode of the Yardcast I was trying to spread the word about.  I find the Yardcast is the hardest to promote because the target audience is spread out everywhere in other groups (for the purpose of this post the groups I'm referring to are all on Facebook).  There are groups for beer enthusiests and groups for independent filmmakers and groups for foodies, but you don't see groups called "I have a house" or "I own a lawnmower."  Those people are members of the other groups.

So I had this new episode about decorating your home for the holidays and was trying to decide who to share it with.  And I decided since there are people in all those other groups to whom this episode might apply that I'd take a chance and share it in all of them.  In most cases it was off topic and common sense would suggest it would probably result in nasty comments and possibly getting banned from a few groups, but I figured you never learn something new if you don't think outside the box.  Hell, a lot of Louis Pasteur's work seemed counter-intuitive at the time.  I guess you'll never know if you don't try.

Surprisingly, the results were fairly mixed.  The posts received a few likes in groups where they were way off topic and both the episode and the website saw a small bump in traffic.  No one left any negative comments, though I think one group kicked me out.

I think it's important to note that, though off topic, I was sharing an episode that I did think might apply to a percentage of the members in the various groups.  I wouldn't have done this with something I knew no one would care about.  For example, I wouldn't share an episode of our show on local restaurants because I'm pretty sure 99% of the group will never get a chance to go there.  On the other hand, we're working on a monthly show about local bands, and while most people could never see the band live, they might like the music and be able to get the songs online.  And if the group is cool with it I don't think a once-a-month off-topic post is too spammy.

So draw your own conclusions.  I'll have to do more research and get more feedback before choosing a course of action, but I think this was an interesting first step.  If you have any expertise in this field or just have thoughts or questions regarding my little experiment please share them in the comments.  I think it's always good to share knowledge and experience and help others avoid your mistakes.

Bob.