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I’ve been at this awhile and have seen lots of next things.  The thing about next things is you have to have a few important fundamental things handled to have a shot at that next thing working for you.

Those things: message; and story.  Story is the thing that stops them.  Message lets people quickly categorize you accurately and in a way you helped shape.

Both are tough duty finding and telling.

But if you even get one right chances are better that next thing will work for you.  What next thing?  Well, how about sending a catalog to people in the mail?  Way back when catalogs were the next thing.  Sending to people you didn’t know.  Brave stuff, that.  Think about it.  To test something you had kill lots of trees, check the proofs, do a press check and gurd your loins as 1.5 tons of paper launched into the world. . .through the post office.  Brave stuff, that.

How about infomercials?  Cable TV “back then” cost you $1,500 for 150,000 people on the Lifetime, BET and USA channels.  The first one: How to Get Rich in Real Estate.  Remnants of that pipe dream are alive and well and still on TV.  They give something that started out with a really bad name a really bad name.  I was part of the sixth or seventh infomercial on television:  60 Minutes to Success.  We tested it and it failed.  We argued with the guy who produced it.  He was done and wanted to try something else and we argued the close and commercial both didn’t work.  Let us fix them.  The great thing was he had written the close and the commercial.  Along with the title.  And he was the new millionaire who had done the first infomercial.  To his credit he didn’t throw us out and let us change things.  Big hit.  Big sighs of relief.

How about the internet, when you capitalized the “I”?  How about search?  How about social?

Finding your story and communicating your message really, really, really help that next thing work.