I chose the first three because they were part of a pre-festival "sample" night, where about 10 comedians came together for one night and each did a short spot from their show. As a result, we were able to get some experience of them beforehand, and I'm sure that helped many people - including me - buy tickets for their full show.
A similar thing applies to your business.
It struck me that my process of choosing these five shows is exactly how you should look at your Internet marketing strategy - to reach three groups of people:
- Strangers: If you're not yet known in your industry - like those first three comedians - you need to reach out to strangers - people who've never heard of you before. To prove you're good, you need to give them lots of opportunities to experience you - with your blog, newsletter, podcast, video, slide shows, interviews, infographics, whatever. You need to provide a lot of samples of your work. That's exactly what you're doing with "content marketing".
- Neighbours: As more people see your content, they share it and recommend it to others (who I call "neighbours", because they don't know you personally but have heard about you from somebody else), and you build a reputation (like Felicity Ward). That's where social media comes in. It's not where you publish your original content, but it's how you distribute it.
- Friends: Finally, when you are well-known (like Anh Do), your clients and customers (I call these people "friends") keep coming back because they know how much value you provide. Of course, you'll still keep doing content marketing and social media because not everybody knows you yet, and you want to stay current even with those who do know you. But it's easier now, because your existing clients and customers keep giving you a lot of business.
Where does YOUR business fit?
Ideally, you should be doing all three things all the time. If you are already at the third level (friends), you might not need to do as much of the first two (I reckon that's why you sometimes hear older, more experienced people saying they "don't need to do social media" because they're getting enough business already. To some extent, they are right!).
But be careful not to ignore the other two - especially if you don't already have premium positioning in your clients' minds.