What’s Right And Wrong With Your Blog Network
When I called it a day Friday I was a little pissed. The week that was wasn’t all that great.
Duncan’s sale of the Blog Herald for an undisclosed (but not enough) sum.
The whole thing just didn’t taste right.
Then I had a conversation with the smartest guy in the room and he asked me a question. (I’ll paraphrase) “What’s so important about blog networks?”
So sit down, grab a cup of java and let me fill you in. Here’s why Blog Networks could be/ and should be the most important part of the new media future.
In order to understand the importance of blog networks you have to look at the whole board. You have to see all the players and where they stand.
We’re all connected. In more ways than you know.
Here are the players:
Broadcast and Cable Television
Yahoo, Google, AOL,and MSN
Tivo and other DVR makers
Apple iTunes (audi and Video)
Cell Phone providers (carriers and manufacturers)
NetFicks and Blockbuster
Video On Demand
Broadcast and Satalite Radio
and most importantly, the audience.
Now all these folks want one thing.
The attention of the audience.
Attention goes for a premium these days because it’s so hard to get it. Audiences are bombarded with choices so everyone is screaming as loud as possible to attract attention.
But what does the audience want?
The answer is not as hard as it seems. Just look at what they gravitate toward.
First the easy stuff.
Personality: Audiences have decided that they really like interesting. They like Katie Coric more than they like Dan Rather. They like Paris Hilton more than they like Shakira. That love Angelina Jolie more than Jennifer Aniston. Why?
Because they like interesting personalities.
Participation: We want to participate, somehow, someway. We don’t care if it’s rooting for our favorite team or voting for the best singer on American Idol. We want to be involved.We want to vote, cheer, bitch, complain and praise. We want to participate because we want to be heard.
Ourselves: We love ourselves. We want to see us or at least think it can be us. Reality TV does not say look at me. Reality TV says look at you. Look at yourself. You can do that. And that’s what we want.
Blogs and Blog Networks already fit where audiences are headed. What’s more personal, participtory or personality driven than a blog?
What’s Up With Blog Network Owners
But most blog network owners have yet to figure out how to leverage these advantages.
They are building private communites for writers (got that Tyme) completely ignoring the fact it’s the ability to participate in all aspects of the process which make blogs interesting.
They are ignoring the fact that audiences are not always in front of a computer. That they don’t always like to read. That they may want to listen to bits from The Man Blog as they jog. They may want to actually watch the Bean Counter Blog guy (or is it a girl?) while on their way to work on their iPod.
If network owners refuse to engage audience where they are, audiences will grab hold of other content available.
Why do you think ESPN is everywhere?
Why can you watch extras of 24 on your cell phone?
Because the people in charge realize that you must engage audiences where they are.
But network owners are failing in other aspects as well.
Technorati isn’t indexing sites fast enough. (According to Technorati I haven’t updated this site in 7 days) Why are blog owwners like Liz, who are part of a network, attempting to find solutions while blog network owners who are affected a lot more by this, not pitching a fit and looking for solutions?
Where are the network owners when it comes to finding other forms of revenue for it’s writers and their network? Where is the creativity? Just like readers have to be engaged so do advertisers. They have to be told why and how the network is valuable.
I sit in utter amazement at the handling of this space sometimes.
CourtTV did a buy with Gawker (ugly ads btw) but no other network seems to be able to convince anyone that they are worth a hill of beans.
Why is that?
It’s because this space is filled with people who think if you build it they will come.
If you build it you got it.
That’s it and that’s all you got.
If you want them to come you gotta tell folks about it.
If you own a network here’s what you gotta do. Today.
Put someone in charge of advertising. Someone with some contacts. Don’t know anyone or can’t afford it? Then look for someone who sells advertising in other industries and ask them to add you on. Pay them a commission for it. The world is filled with people who sell media space. Really.
Send a group email to your writers asking them to consider expanding their platforms. Or maybe you get one of the 17 designers you have on staff to create a weekly audio ‘best of” for your network. Something. Do something. To engage the audience in other arenas.
And then get together with other owners and come up with ways you can combine forces to tackle problems which effect the industry. Technorati issues. Splog issues. Whatever.
o.k., I know it’s not Monday. But yesterday was a holiday so it feels like Monday to me. I’ve done a lot of bitching. I’ve hurt some feelings. And I’m sorry.
I only do it because I love you.
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