Fish for Dinner

We are having fish for dinner, and it is going to be delicious. While staying in the U.S. for a couple of months, I have been able to have time for one of my favorite activities – wade fishing with lightweight spincast gear in small rivers and streams for smallmouth and largemouth bass. 

When we first got to the States in early Spring, things were busy getting settled in and trying to maintain our work from a distance. For a time I kept letting my days get filled with various tasks until I finally recognized that if I was going to go fishing, I need to intentionally set some days on my calendar for fishing and keep that time protected.

So, for the last couple of months or more I have been going fishing about once a week. It has been a number of years since we have been in the U.S. for the spring or summer, so it has been a long time since I have done this much fishing. I had to re-learn or remember some things and even learn some new things before I started catching some fish.

Initially, I fished several different streams looking for an area that I liked the most and that I felt had the best potential. Once I found the stream I liked however, I have gone back to the same one or two areas to fish each week. We are staying in an incredibly beautiful part of the country with spring-fed streams that have crystal clear water. 

Fishing in streams like this really excites me but carries some pros and cons beyond their beauty. The water is so clear as I wade the stream, I can see fish all around me, sometimes it can get a bit frustrating when I am seeing so many fish but not catching any. But I am always encouraged just by the certainty that the fish are there. The clear water also necessitates I do everything I can to not spook the fish around me, moving slowly and quietly, watching where my shadow falls, even adding a fluorocarbon leader to my line which is practically invisible in the water, so the fish do not see my line.

There have been days when I came home with no fish at all which was disappointing. But I kept on watching the behavior of the fish I could see in the stream and experimenting with different lures (artificial baits). I love being able to watch fish actually following my lure through the water. I also experimented with fishing at different times of the day and began keeping a much closer watch on the weather. Is it cloudy or sunny? Has it rained in the last day or two? Is the river level rising or falling? Through all of this the number of fish I have been catching has gone up and there has been great satisfaction in bringing home a stringer full of fish to have for dinner.

While we often view Media to Movements (M2M) work analogous to fishing with a net – and that is an appropriate comparison – my time wade fishing with a single pole and line caused me to see several points of correlation to my M2M strategy. These are my top 5 reminders which my recent time fishing has prompted.

5 Keys to Your M2M Marketing Approach

  1. You need to be intentional and persistent. Much like my need to put some fishing dates on my calendar, M2M work can easily get crowded out unless you are intentional to set aside time to give it the necessary focus. You also need to be persistent, more than likely working through a season with initially little to no results but you have to consistently be working your strategy, consistently putting out new content or ads.
  2. You need to be strategic in choosing your audience and encouraged by the potential. My “persona” for fishing is smallmouth or largemouth bass and everything from choosing my location to fish to the type of gear and bait I use is built around the goal of catching that type of fish even though other types of fish may be in the same river. You need to have that same level of strategic, persona-based focus for your M2M strategy. And be encouraged by the number of potential contacts there are within your chosen audience even if you are not currently seeing response.
  3. You need to be mindful of your own persona and voice. Just as I needed to be mindful of the potential to scare off fish just from my presence or how visible my fishing line was, you need to be strategic in how you are presenting yourself to your audience. This is not advocating for being deceitful but rather ensuring that the identity of my site or social media channel exudes Christ and is culturally appropriate so as to not scare off those I am trying to reach.
  4. You need to know your context and experiment with your approach. I have learned a lot about bass in clear streams but each time I go, I observe and learn some more about how they are moving, where they are waiting, and what they are eating. I have found some lures that are pretty consistent in catching fish, but I also experiment every time I go out. Some lures drag on the bottom of the stream, some retrieve in a medium depth and some skim the surface. There are also different color combinations. This same measure of social listening and observation is key to your M2M strategy. Experimenting with different types of content or ads is likewise important. A recent survey by Google revealed that advertisers who consistently experiment were yielding between 30-45% better response from those who do not experiment.[i]
  5. You need to pray and trust God with the results. I pray when I go out fishing, often praying while I am fishing. I pray for safety and that God would bless me to bring home some fish. Whether or not I bring home fish is not at a level of extreme importance and certainly not at a level of eternal significance. But that does not mean that God does not care about my fishing trips and hopefully my prayers reflect my dependence on Him. For our M2M work however we are talking something with tremendous eternal significance. With every post, every ad, every response, or comment – we need to be bathing them in prayer and trusting God for the results.

[i] “Experimenting boosts your bottom line: Here’s how to get started”