Chris Brogan graciously agreed to speak with Disruptive Dialogue about his advice to “media makers” who want to make a living off of creating media. This is a topic he has written about on a number of occasions, but perhaps most comprehensively in a blog post over the summer.
In the interview, he stressed that his advice applies primarily to those who want to make money directly from their media content, as opposed to people who create media for their friends and family or even professionals who simply aim to raise their profile and build their reputation. This is, in his words, for “someone looking to pay their way.”
At first, many successful podcasters or video bloggers “lived by their show name.” Chris wanted to make sure that people understood that what they ought to be creating instead is a production company brand rather than simply a show brand. In so doing, it becomes easier to create spin-off enterprises, to sell a particular effort to another company, or fold a failure without taking the brand down with it.
In addition, Chris talked about how he has a less than 2 minute segment in each Marketing Over Coffee podcast to help build his own brand (“Social Business Class”). This represents an example of what he describes as designing content that can be “slotted in” to a larger content production. He notes that sometimes larger media enterprises may be looking for chunks of content to incorporate into their efforts, and if a media maker creates his material in such a way that it can be easily adopted, it may be able to expand its reach through partnerships.
The comments on Chris’ original post were echoed in this interview in which he discussed the fact that a successful media enterprise will often create a community which will enable revenue opportunities beyond advertising. But fundamentally, media creators must be sure to understand the needs of advertisers and ensure that they are collecting the appropriate traffic and demographic data that potential sponsors will want to know. He laments that many content builders don’t have the “business sense” that they need to make a living at what they do and urges them to gain that knowledge.
The interview then turned to a discussion of the merits of audio versus video as a business model, including a brief look at Shel Holtz’s post on that very topic today. Chris noted that his original post has frequently been misconstrued to be making a case against audio in favor of video. In fact, he notes that he loves audio-based media and that a lot of video actually works better as audio because the video doesn’t add value. In particular, we talked about the Scoble Show which we both often listen to rather than watch, although we agreed that Robert does some of his shows where the visible content adds significantly to the understanding and impact.
“I don’t think people who are investing money are right now very interested in audio overall,” Chris warns. He senses more innovation in the video space which excites investors, and he recalled a recent conversation where he noted how hard it is for consumers to record and post audio online as opposed to video which has a lot of consumer-friendly solutions available.
Chris notes that the Student Loan Network not only has the Financial Aid Podcast, but they also have begun to dip into video in order to do things like show how to make a perfect cup of coffee (to save money by not going to Starbucks). It underscores his point that the future will be made up of “media makers,” not single silo audio, video, or text creators. Blended, or multimedia, offerings will be the ones that succeed.