At its core, merchandising is about getting people’s attention and enticing them to consume a product, time and time again. Coming from an ecommerce background, merchandising was KING. Where will the product look best? How do you attract the greatest number of eyeballs to that product? What keeps people coming back for more? These were key issues we grappled with every day in our pursuit of building a strong sustainable brand, customer loyalty and consistent cash flow.
Since my transition to new media publishing at Demand Media Studios, I can’t help but notice the striking similarities between the two industries. Where we once merchandised ski boots and laptop bags, we now merchandise information, entertainment and news. The products are different, but the methods are very much the same. Are you effectively merchandising your “product” and maximizing its chances of being discovered, shared and enjoyed? Here are a few points to consider:
Offer Enticing Products:
Whether you’re a blogger, author, filmmaker or industry expert, it’s important to realize that you’re selling a product, and building a valuable brand around that product is entirely in your hands. If you want to stand out and succeed, come to market with the best product you’re capable of delivering and work diligently to build its brand recognition and value. This might mean refreshing your blog with a cleaner more intuitive design, upgrading your camera to finally shoot in HD or attending conferences like Blogworld to build your brand and make your products more recognizable and appealing. Tom Peters’ Fast Company article “The Brand Called You” offers additional insights into the importance of standing out in an increasingly crowded marketplace of information, entertainment and news and is definitely worth a read.
Sell What You Know Best:
Imagine visiting your local baby-goods boutique and upon rounding the aisle, being presented with hanging pork loins, briskets and top rounds. My guess is you’d leave your shopping cart, turn around and never come back. Your audience does the same with your products. Pick a niche in which you’re comfortable, knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and film it or write on it well. Straying too far from what you know best will just deteriorate the credibility and appeal of your core offering. Consider what Darren Rowse, Seth Godin, Perez Hilton and Michael Arrington have in common. Besides occupying spots on Forbes Web Celeb lists, they sell what they know best – and they do it very well. Where does your passion and expertise lay? Is that what you’re talking, writing or filming about?
Keep Your Shelves Stocked:
You may be the most brilliant source of information the world has ever seen, but if your knowledge cannot be found, it cannot be enjoyed. In new media publishing, content is marketing so make sure to deliver a steady stream of goods your audience expects from you. Give them a reason to come back for more. To ensure your shelves are stocked with the products your customers actually want, take the time to listen. All the comments, questions, compliments, complaints, requests and suggestions provide invaluable insights into what direction your content should go. Also, consider reaching beyond your site to attract new audiences to your site. Here are just some of the ways you can distribute your products so people can sample them before becoming loyal repeat customers: Youtube Rentals, Demand Media Talent & Experts Network, Etsy Crafts and Topspin.
To learn more about building your brand, expanding the distribution of your work and increasing your paycheck, make sure to attend the “How to Turn Your Blogging Hobby into a Full-Time Job” panel at Blogworld 2010 featuring Chris Garrett (chrisg.com), Stewart Marlborough (Demand Media Studios), Zem Joaquin (Eco-Fabulous) and Michael Sippey (Six Apart).
And pay us a visit at booth No. 115 to learn how Demand Media Studios can help you and your content get discovered.
Marketing Acquisitions Manager
Demand Media Studios