When Horn Matters was starting out in 2009, our articles, posted to Facebook, went out to a large number of people on their news feeds, at no cost to us. This helped launch the site and led to a wide variety of content. Bruce and I posted nearly daily for quite a while, and we certainly have impacted the horn world. However, there have been some recent changes on Facebook. The below is just one of many articles you can find online addressing this big topic of early 2018:
Facebook has changed the news feed over time, and reality is that with the new setup we will have to pay (“promote”) for a large percentage of our fans to see links to new Horn Matters articles. By design, of course — Facebook wants us (and anyone else that is a publisher, manufacturer, arts organization, etc.) to pay to reach people on their platform. There is no free lunch, although Facebook spins it differently. According to them, “the most common feedback we’ve heard is that friends and family are what you care about most in your News Feed. We’re making some updates so you see more from them.” [That is, if you are not muting those same friends, for the over the top numbers of political posts.]
In short, blog posts (like this one!) simply have less free reach on Facebook today than they did a few years ago.
Twitter posts it would seem presently have better impact, in that they are seen more readily by your followers, so that will be another thing to watch.
One prediction I saw made out there is that advertisers will turn to direct E-mail marketing again, now that they are paying for Facebook. But, maybe the tide will turn, and advertisers will again compete to buy space on website such as Horn Matters.**
Of course you still have print advertising, but when the IHS has less than 4,000 members, advertisers will eventually realize that there are more cost-effective ways to reach a larger horn audience. And if you sell eBooks that cost $9.99 or less on specialty topics, as I do with Horn Notes Edition, it is hard to justify the cost of any paid advertising really, it eats into profits. But, of course, you can’t afford not to advertise, so the little guys will have to keep being creative.
What about posting “advertising” to Horn People directly? The admins there have wisely set policies so that it is not full of commercial appeals. For example,
A member who is or represents a dealer, re-seller, maker, or publisher may post once per calendar year announcing that business, including a link. Dealers and re-sellers may not post individual products, but may use the announcement to inform the group of services and types of products offered. Makers and publishers may post one and only one announcement per product or publication detailing a new product or published work. In the case of blog posts, which may occur frequently, members may announce new blog posts once per month.
In any case, traffic to the Horn Matters site itself is still strong, clearly some great content is just a Google search away and people keep reading it.
This will all be a good topic to look back on when someone, I bet sooner than most readers might predict, writes their dissertation on the era of the great horn websites that are then all but a memory. That my older Horn Articles Online site is still online at all after almost 20 years is not the norm; I could name off a list of sites that have come and gone. Changes will slowly play out in real time over the next few years. Thank you for your support!
**We would rather support Horn Matters via paid advertising. At one point, we had more people wanting to advertise than we had slots for advertising, which is not the situation now. There are at least three other ways we could support the site besides advertising. One is we could solicit donations, some sites do this, but we are not comfortable with that. Another is we could do paid reviews, something else we have never done for reasons of integrity (and readers may not realize it, but there are sites out there that do have paid reviews, but not Horn Matters). A final way that comes to mind would be some sort of sponsorship deal, but that probably does not make sense for us either.