If you’re ready to think of your blog as a business (one of the hot topics over on Third Tribe Marketing), one way to do that is to start thinking of your blog content as the core of a distribution flow. In the little drawing to the left, I’ve put your subject matter at the heart of your system, and then have recommended you look at your blog, other products, education, and partnerships as the four areas you might consider. Note how I’ve moved your blog off to a branch and not to the heart of the drawing. Let’s talk through it.
Your Blog as PART of a System
In the drawing above, I list your blog as part of your content ecosystem. Here’s why I recommend you start thinking this way: because your blog is only one destination and it’s only reaching one channel of a much larger opportunity and demographic. The minute you see your blog as only “a” channel, that’s when you start thinking of other outreach opportunities.
This, by the way, is the logic behind Steve Jobs’s iPad. He didn’t make it for us. He made it for your mom, for the photographers, for people who want a big shiny viewing device for downloaded movies. It’s another way to build a channel for people to buy stuff off the iTunes store.
Now, with that in mind, the easy first step is to strongly highlight the opportunity to get your blog sent to people via email (more people use email than read blogs). That’s the easy opportunity. From there, start asking yourself how else you can build out your content delivery, both offline (print, perhaps, or publish a book) and into new channels online. Then, think about products.
Your Content as Products
Think about the various ways your content can fit into different shapes as a product. For instance, is your content suitable for audio? Have you considered recording and giving away (or selling) an audio version? I’m working up some audio projects for the commuters in our lives, not to mention the fact that Trust Agents and Social Media 101 are both available via audio download.
Can you take some of your projects and turn them into slide decks and make them available to the public? Or look at Brian Solis’s Conversation Prism. That’s a project that’s gotten Brian tens of thousands of placements in presentations over the last few years. Every time I see that wheel come up, it’s a chance for us to go back and check out Brian’s blog.
What other projects can you think up based on your products?
Education: The Power of Events
Online or off, some of what you’ve created would be good for educational opportunities. What could you turn from a few blog posts into a helpful class? You might have to give more thought than what went into the original posts. There’s a gap between “informative” and “educational” sometimes (unless you’re Whitney Hoffman, who writes very thorough posts), and you have to tighten that up.
This might be turned into a live event, like a teaching opportunity. It might turn into online courses. It might turn into a private membership site like Third Tribe. But education is a really good opportunity to spread your content into a new ecosystem. And, if you get really clever, you start wondering if your content might make a good part to someone else’s parts and that it might together form a larger opportunity.
My friend, Matthew Ebel is a professional musician. He creates music, tours, and does all that, but he also offers his services to conference and event producers. Imagine the difference between attending an event, versus attending an event with engaging live music. Matthew can add this to a conference experience. However, as a guy who runs conferences for a living, I’m very unlikely to call up a musician to perform. I would, however, call my event planner and see if she knew someone for the event.
Thus, it benefits Matthew to partner with event planners, so that he can book more gigs at conferences. Make sense?
Partnerships with your content work the same way. There may be part of the story you’re great at and parts that others are better at explaining/providing. For instance, if you’re yet another social media blogger, how much more powerful would your site and content become if you partnered with an SEO professional, a digital marketing professional, and a graphic/interface design specialist. You’d have a killer teaching/educating/selling opportunity for people looking for the larger picture.
See how killer this one step could become?
This, to me, is where things get powerful. Once you see your platform as an ecosystem and not the parts, your possibilities to grow and develop more business value. Can you see it? Look beyond your blog as being the core of things. Think of it as an outlet. From there, things get exciting.
What say you?