Bloggers and Podcasters and Videobloggers and Media Makers who are interested in using their media as part of their business: Lend Me Your Ears. If you are rambling around and wondering what you’re doing all this stuff for, and if you’re wondering why someone hasn’t dropped off a bag of money at your door, please give the following concepts some thought: if you want to do something more than contribute to the overall blogosphere (and that’s not a bad goal at all), you might consider your media strategy. (NOTE: go no further, except for curiosity sake, if you’re just blogging for love and passion).
Here’s something to think about:
The first thing is, what IS your product. Because if you’re thinking your blog is the product, that’s one way to start planning your strategy. If you’re planning to derive secondary value, by pointing people towards something of value by WAY of your blog (or podcast or whatever), that’s another whole strategy. So first, which is the product: the contents of your blog (can we just use this word and you’ll know I mean whatever you’re making?), or something of secondary value.
For whatever reason, we don’t usually think about goals with regards to our blogging. We just do it as a means of expression, or because we’ve heard it’s important. But why not set goals in place. Some of the sample goals in the illustration above involve building reputation or generating leads. Remember, some products are there for entertainment value (like Something to be Desired). They are quality products that seek to entertain us. But even then, the media might not be the product. What if Justin sold enough tee shirts and product placement to make a living making his show? Then the merchandising is the product, and the show is the vehicle. Make sense?
So, determine your goals before thinking up plans.
The strategy that’s right for you is the one that aligns your goals with your desired results. So if your goal is to have a blog that tons of people visit, and you plan NOT to make money, but to just build reputation to a vast audience, you’ve decided that the size of your audience matters. If you’ve determined that you want to reach a specific, targeted audience, and that your goal is to make money servicing that target audience (like the Financial Aid Podcast), then you might want to work harder at finding the RIGHT audience.
And again, this isn’t “how to make money.” It’s “how to consider a strategy that helps you achieve your goals.” My goals for [chrisbrogan.com] right now is to build reputation and awareness for the things that interest me. If some day I choose to make money directly off the media I create, I’ll put different plans into action. I don’t need my blog to make me money, in other words. I just need it to speak to the people that I’m trying to reach and communicate with.
It’s incredibly powerful to write down your goals. It’s even MORE powerful to share these goals with others, and have some kind of accountability for what you’ve set into place. If you’ve never heard of the SMART goal method, consider making your goals, Simple, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. (google “Smart Goals” for more).
From there, consider how to measure your efforts. Produce what you’re making. And then implement more of your plans based on the other items in the graphic, including marketing strategy, setting up check-ins to determine milestones, and then times to re-adjust your plan (because we’re rarely right the first time).
If This is Your Business (Or You HOPE It Will Be)
For those of you blogging and making media for love, entertainment, community, or whatever other reasons you have, great. But for those of you who are thinking of making a business out of your media, you have to start treating it like a business. That means learning the value chain of your product. It means truly, deeply knowing your audience. It means understanding how to message that audience, how to motivate that audience to interact with you and your product, and how to make your goals align with your business needs.
You can’t NOT DO the parts of strategy that aren’t attractive to you. Well, you can, but you might consider paying someone to do those parts for you, because they still probably have to get done to complete your goals. To that end, start thinking that way. Start looking at this set of community tools as something you’re using for a purpose.
Business isn’t evil. BAD business is evil.
What do you think? What does this make you think about with regards to your own media?
(And are you subscribed for free to this site?)