Sunday, January 17, 2010

Declaration of Indies: Just Sell It Yourself!

Reprint from the New York Times:

Declaration of Indies: Just Sell It Yourself!

Published: January 17, 2010

Looking at a new way of film distribution where filmmakers maintain full control over their work from beginning to end.

Here's the link to the full article:

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Top 10 Monetization Tips or Why It’s Ok To Charge For Your Digital Content

This is reprinted from an online newsletter I receive, but it's good info to share.... - J.

Top 10 Monetization Tips or Why It’s Ok To Charge For Your Digital Content

Written By Marcelo Lewin

You know you want to charge for your content! Go ahead. Do it! What? Are you afraid you will lose half your audience? Don’t worry about that! You won’t lose half your audience; you’ll lose at least two thirds of them. But that’s ok, because you only want to keep the people that will pay for your content, not the ones that want everything for free.

Is this a hobby for you or do you want to run a real business producing real content and getting paid for it? If you do, then you need to start taking content creation seriously and stop giving it all away for free.

Having said that, there are ways to keep those “freebie only” people and monetize content at the same time. Read below to learn my top 10 tips for monetizing your digital content.

Tip #10 – Think And Act Like A Media Company
Create your content professionally. Think about your audience. What do they want? What do they like? Where do they hang out? How can you reach them? Think of possible sponsors when creating your content. Who’s the right company to sponsor this content? Think of partnerships. Think about syndication. Think about diversification of content (build a portfolio of web videos, podcasts, blogs, social network content, etc.) Don’t think of yourself as a video shooter or blog writer or podcaster. You are a media mogul creating content distributed through various means (web videos, podcasts, blog articles, etc.) Are you well known in your industry? Celebratize yourself through your content!

Tip #9 – Build Your Audience
Without an audience, you don’t have a company. The most important thing you can do is engage your audience. How do you engage your audience? You need to know where they hang out. Once you know that, you can participate in the same networks they do. Don’t just post a Facebook status update or a Tweet and think that you are reaching your audience. Make sure you engage them in the right place using the right tools. Slowly build an audience that will find value in your content and are willing to pay for it.

Tip #8 – Produce Content That People Will Like
When creating a video, don’t just shoot it. Shoot it right. Use good lighting techniques. Use good audio. Make sure the story (whether it’s a how-to, a narrative or a customer testimonial) is engaging. When doing a podcast, think about the format and keep it consistent. When writing, make sure it makes sense and it’s value added. In other words, produce content that is both professional, entertaining, informative and will attract both audiences and sponsors.

Tip #7 – Identify All Your Media
Are you already producing web videos? How about podcasts? Have you written any blog articles lately? You can monetize all of those by figuring out who’s your potential target market for each of them and identifying sponsors that are willing to reach that audience.

Tip #6 – Identify Your Audience
Do you really know who’s visiting your website? Can you describe who’s listening to your podcasts or watching your web videos? You need to start gathering real data about your audience members including demo data, geo data and social data. You need to identify their “pains” and see if your content is addressing a fix for their pains.

Tip #5 – Try Out All Revenue Models
Don’t be afraid to try everything. Get sponsors for your podcasts. Go ahead and create a “freemium” version of your podcast (extra episodes you charge for on top of the free ones you offer). What about charging for ad space in your newsletter? Go for it. There is money in that. Have you thought about “sponsored Tweets”? They are controversial, but everything is open now. The key is to not be afraid to experiment and try out everything.

Tip #4 – Price Your Content Accordingly
If you price your content too low, people won’t pay for it because they think there is not enough value in it. If you price it too high, they just won’t want to pay for it because they can’t afford it. How do you know the exact price? Experiment. There are no standards currently for pricing digital content (although many people are hard at work trying to come up with them).

Tip #3 – Track Everything!
If you are serious about your media, then you need to track everything about it. From video views, to the number of unique listeners, to how they engage with your media (do they watch the video half way and drop out? Do they skip your ads, etc.) The more you track, the better it is for you and for your sponsors. A great website to use for tracking is Google’s Feedburner.

Tip #2 – Approach Sponsors
You don’t have to wait until you have 10,000 visitors or listeners before you approach sponsors. You can approach them with as little as 500 to 1000 audience members. The key to getting sponsors is really knowing your audience inside and out. Also, sponsors love when you have a very focused (niche) group of people watching your videos or listening to your podcasts because they know who they are targeting exactly.

Tip #1 – Don’t Be Afraid To Charge
If you act like a media company, you will be able to charge for your content (directly to your audience members or indirectly through sponsorships, advertising, etc.). It’s ok to charge. Your content is worth it.

Well, that’s it. These are my top 10 tips for monetizing your digital content. I hope this article has inspired you to take the leap to charge for your digital content.

If you are interested in learning more about how to monetize digital content, feel free to take our free (yes free…but we monetize it by getting sponsors) Monetizing Digital Content webinar. We also have a Monetizing Digital Content group in LinkedIn and of course, you can always follow me on for new media related tips.