There’ve been quite a few folks who’ve come up to me after my various forays onto the the stage here at WordCamp Dallas this weekend with specific questions as to when they should try to monetize, and how.

imageThe most common class of questions has come from folks who have emerging voices, that fall into the category of less than 50,000 or less than 100,000 monthly pageviews each month. To sort of collate those answers into one spot, I’ll delve into that here in a series of posts profile the folks who’ve come to ask me questions.

For those of you still here, it’s not too late to ask me questions and get featured here – just flag me down before we all get out of here for the day and we can chat about your specific use case.

Mandrake Society Radio – Growing LGBT New Media
JW Richard, who runs the Mandrake Society radio blog and podcast, came by after one of the sessions to pick my brain.  He’s got a moderately popular site that’s teetering on the edge between a small and mid-sized audience / community for his blog, and a small-sized audience for his podcast.  He’s growing at a pretty good clip, but he wanted ideas on where he could go to monetize his audience at this size.

For him – he’s catering directly to the LGBT community with relevant news and clips – there are a number of options open to him, but it’s best to continue to focus on growing his audience at this stage.

In particular to his podcast, it’s important the he sells his audience at this stage of its growth as a package of loyal subscribers, fans and community to sponsors.  We didn’t get into it in our conversation directly, but if JW isn’t particularly into sales as being his profession, it would do him very well to partner up with a New Media savvy salesperson who can really go to town finding folks in his niche who are willing to underwrite both the show and the site.

Having a dedicated person who believes in both your work and can sell is invaluable.  Finding that person to partner with is the best business move you can make for your blog.  This may mean joining a team of other content producers trying to aggregate their views, or it may mean finding this person directly and profit sharing, but it’s important, particularly for someone like him who’d like to focus more on content that business.


Moonlighting as a Day Job
Something that I’ve done a few times in my career as a content producer has been to take a news obsession for me and farm it out to a new audience.  I did this during 9/11, during the Atlanta Olympic bombings, and most recently during the Iran crisis.

I start out by doing what I call “penetration coverage” on a topic, just extracting every aspect and angle of a major watershed event that I can find, and after a couple of days, I’ll point to that coverage and shop it around to other larger organizations.

In JW’s case, he can probably think of at least three or four larger publications than him up the food chain that he could shop such a series out to.  The process is merely a matter of establishing yourself as “informed” about an event through extreme coverage, finding the one who will take your coverage, and then haggle over price.

It works in a number of ways – it’ll increase your profile and potential readership, and it’ll hopefully net you a few dollars, too.

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