Authors Note: This article was originally written in 2011, and a lot has changed about the internet since then. While the main premise of the article holds true, the individual details and sources may be outdated. Some effort has been made to amend parts that stand out but it is not intended to be comprehensive.

There are countless articles and pages of advice about New Media scattered throughout the interweb. It’s everywhere and it continues to grow, transform and transcend itself. And it’s vital to your business.

New Media is what happens when you take the traditional elements of media; print, TV & film/video, images, music, words – spoken and written; and then you mix in some magic interactivity through modern computer and communications technology. A poster is old media. But stick a URL/web link or QR code on it and suddenly it’s new media.

Now add the marketing. How does your business leverage all that is new? Why should it bother? Because there are in the region of 500 million people on facebook [edit: 1.1 Billion active users as of 6.23.2013 – link] alone for a start. How many print ads would it take to reach that kind of audience? How many TV spots? And it’s free. Largely. [Not any more – see Facebook advertising] You have to sell your soul like I did, but that’s not such a loss when you can fill it with the pandemonium that is the Internet.

As with all kinds of marketing such as orthodontic marketing, you need to build a network, but rather than a distribution network utilising other businesses and ad space providers (they’re still important!), you need ordinary Joe and Mary (and the less ordinary ones too I guess). You’ll start with all those friends and near acquaintances you’ve met throughout the years, and build from there. Incidentally it’s all these friends and acquaintances who chatter on about everything they like and don’t like that will get your product or service noticed and promoted. And if it’s worth talking about, they’ll do it for free.

That word again; Free. Free advertising? Well, as I say, it’s largely free. Yes the facebook/twitter/myspace accounts are free to sign up. But you get out what you put in. You need to invest time gathering your community, gathering promotional marketing materials, and building a platform. You need to give people a reason to take time out to join your social network, which has to be easily found, engaging and accessible.

Then you have to give your ever expanding social network a reason to talk to their friends and colleagues about you; an innovative product or service; an eye catching or witty viral; a special offer. Once you’ve caught their interest, you need to give them an attractive and unique landing page to flock to. You need to stand out in that 6 million strong crowd, and competition is tougher than ever.

The main thing that separates old media from New Media is choice. No longer do people have to sit through that run of the mill: ‘here’s our product and here’s why you need it speil’. That just won’t cut it anymore. They won’t sit back and digest the same boring auld drivel; not when there are literally thousands if not millions of more exciting things to see on the Internet, and precious little time to spend on it. Your offering needs personality.

There is a debate as to whether the influence of the Internet is shortening people’s attention span, but one thing’s for sure; If you don’t grab their attention, someone else certainly will. TV commercials are old media, but Internet video is new media. And when that video is lucky enough to break out and entertain a large audience, then it goes viral, and the whole world pays attention.

Wikipedia recons “New Media Marketing is most effectively marketed by Internet-driven technology such as blogs, RSS, Web video productions, and podcasts.” Yup. And we can help with all of that. Especially the video productions. Lets get that vast online community talking about your business.