I was asked today about how blogs should be built and leveraged from a commercial perspective. It seems to be a regular question I’m asked. The giving element that is required in the blogosphere seems counter intuitive to the way our minds have been trained via the industrial complex. They often struggle with the fact that we just have to give, and the law of natural economics just kicks in. So I came up with this analogy which I think makes sense and explains how it should be approached philosophically.
Blogs are like a football stadium.
The game is played in the middle of the ground.
In blogs the middle of the ground happens to be where our posts are geographically placed.
This is why people come to our blog. To see the action. To learn from and be entertained by the actual game (posts)
But like all good stadiums we have related infrastructure around the edges. Our details, company, tweetstream, contacts.
If they like the game we play (our posts) they return. The crowd gets bigger, and they tell their friends to come.
Like the stadium the revenue comes from all the related elements like the concession stands, the parking and the sponsorship. The stuff that generally lives around the edges… both in stadiums and our blogs.
But we must never forget why they are here. To enjoy the game. They only ever return because the enjoy the game (the blog posts). So what we need to do is build our industry around the game, rather than charging for tickets at the gate. Charging entry just doesn’t work beause there is far too many games they can attend. (more than 200 million in fact)
So when someone asks you about how to make a blog work. Remind them of ‘stadium economics’ and that it’s the quality of the information and entertainment which earns us the right to sell them the occasional hot dog.
In world of media proliferation it’s becoming harder to get someone, anyone, let alone our target audience to listen. A better way than blasting our own foghorn is to espouse others. Something I’ve seen a lot of smart startups do lately is become brand advocates. That is, take a lead role in communicating, promoting and essentially spreading the love for other companies whose values we feel aligned to. It’s even better if we all move in the same entrepreneurial circles. Though it doesn’t have to be this way.
When we share great stuff other people are doing it rubs off on us. Just like proper referencing does in academia. We need to find stuff other companies are doing that we think is worth sharing. Ideas we think rock and companies with cultures we admire.
This is my current love list of other Startups & SME’s
- Deck of Secrets
- Sydney Writers Centre
- I vote for art
- The Podcast Network
Some of which even loosely compete with each other. This is fine in my view as often the biggest challenge we have in startup land is market development. Helping our competitors, though counter intuitive, can also benefit us. It get’s more people interested in the space, generates mainstream media coverage and can increase market size. This type of thinking would have been a sackable offense in my old consumer goods marketing days. The world has changed.
We’ve always been told it’s better to give than receive and the on-line world is the greatest exemplar of this theorem. It’s also a super way build significant brand credentials and trust. When people trust what we have to say by introducing them to other cool stuff it gives us a chance at gaining our own momentum.