Undoubtedly you’ve heard the phrase, “strike while the iron’s hot.” It means we should take advantage of an opportunity while the opportunity before us. It makes sense for sure but I wonder if we can get stuck waiting for hot irons when there are things we could (and should) be doing while the iron is cold. After all, the iron is cold a lot more often than it’s hot.
Striking while the iron is hot is about being ready when opportunity knocks. That’s necessary for sure but we can’t sit around waiting on it. We need to be striking while the iron is cold. It’s what we’re doing most of the time.
The Cold Iron of Social Media
In the world of social media there are some people who emphasize “hot iron” kinds of things like creating viral videos or diving headfirst into the latest social network. It’s great to aspire to be on the cutting edge or wish for your latest video to get a million views but most of us don’t need to be on the cutting edge and don’t know what we’d really do if that video got a million views.
Rather than pursing the next big web video, we would be a whole lot more successful using the things around us a little bit better than we are today. That takes work and commitment and patience and consitency, but it’s worth it. It’s the stuff we probably already know how to do. It’s the stuff we know we should be doing. Striking while the iron is cold doesn’t mean it’s ineffective. It just means you’re being proactive when there’s not an obvious opportunity.
Some examples of striking while the iron is cold are:
- Responding to a question on Twitter that was meant for anyone to answer.
- Creating yet another blog post that your audience will find valuable.
- Monitoring what’s being said about your industry on Facebook.
- Checking discussion boards (use BoardReader) to see what’s being said about your competitors.
- Adding something to a discussion happening in a LinkedIn group.
- Sharing a link for your Facebook fans to a news story they’ll find interesting.
- Commenting on a blog and adding value to that conversation.
The fact of the matter is most days the iron isn’t hot. It’s usually cold but that doesn’t mean you’re not doing the things you should be doing. The only people who don’t need to strike while the iron is cold are blacksmiths. The rest of us should be doing it every day. You’ll probably find that some cold irons turn hot pretty quick. It’s funny how it works out that way.