Thursday, March 24, 2011

Monetize, Monetize . . . Morne Plaine

The older I get, the less I know.

Fortunately, there are people out there who know a lot and are willing to babble.

Take, for example, Nathan Thornburgh, writing in TIME magazine on March 24. He’s a blogger – a “Creator,” apparently, an appellation given anyone who creates stuff on the Internet – who, like many others, is searching for a way to turn the eyeballs he’s got coming to his website into money in the bank. He attended this year’s SXSW and found many similar soul-searchers, who, apparently, can’t agree on a thing:
Monetizing is the core obsession of South by Southwest Interactive (SxSWi), as much as eyeing celebrities and eating breakfast tacos. There are a lot of us Creators who brought our iPhone chargers and ironic t-shirts to Austin in hopes of finding someone — a venture capitalist, a corporate marketer, perhaps a lonely widow with a vast oil inheritance — who can lead us to greener pastures. But there was little consensus among the bloggers, content-farmers, Tumblr vixens and other minor badgeholders at SxSWi about the right way to sell out. Wealthy patrons? Banner ads? Donations? Product sales? Paid links? Content that marketers pay you to write? A book based on your blog?
The advice he got is pretty similar to the advice we’re getting:
  • “What you need is a grand who’s not afraid of what you have to say,” per Jason Avant, owner of the DadCentric blog forum thingy.
  • “Ads won’t get you anywhere,” also per Avant.
  • “The bottom line is no one is going to sponsor you ahead of traffic,” per Guy Kawasaki, a “famed entrepreneur-guru.” And he’s telling this to a guy who gets millions of web hits.
  • Open a forum, get readers to contribute, provide information on products and services, from Jimmy Treybig, spouting obviousalities despite being a venture capital star.
  • And Thornburg’s conclusion: “You’re not going to make money until you learn how to get in touch with your readers as well. And that would require us to stop being wallflowers and dive into the broader community of fathers, [he also runs a dad-centric blog] perhaps with a product we’re selling: something that would require real outreach and effort.
Exposure, exposure, exposure. Talking yourself up to everybody. Gladhanding. All the crap I’m no good at. But it’s stuff we gotta do.

How to do it? The tiniest booth at SXSW runs $2,000, but includes one platinum pass. Having Uncharted represented at the booth would be a significant exposure for us, perhaps well worth the money if we had people at the booth who were gladhanders, not wallflowers like me. But that’s something I’ll bring up as we discuss what we might do to attract investors, interest, eyeballs, whatever we need to get Uncharted off the ground. Two thousand bucks sounds like a lot until you consider the exposure we might get. Might get. Because SXSW is a big place full of big players and a little two-bit operation like ours could easily be looked over for $2,000. Alan’s presenting at the Columbia Scholastic Press Association and though he reports good news each time he comes back, I’m not sure it translates into traffic bumps for us at all.

But it’s exposure. Perhaps, in a way, exposure like Napoleon got at Waterloo.

It’s got to be better than what we’re getting now, right?

Used under the fair use doctrine for commentary purposes.

No comments: