Highlights from New-Media Webinar

Photo: Martha SpizziriBy Martha Spizziri
ASBPE Web Editor

“Anyone can launch a media brand. The time is right now, especially because buying behavior has changed.” That’s the judgment of Joe Pulizzi, who copresented the ASBPE webinar “A B2B Journalist’s Guide to Creating the Next New-Media Resource” on Monday.

Pulizzi is founder and chief content officer of the content-marketing community Junta42. He also launched Junta42Match, a service for matching up buyers and sellers of custom publishing services. Presenting with Pulizzi was Harry McCracken, the former editor-in-chief of PC World, who left that publication to start the personal technology blog Technologizer. The site launched this year with zero traffic, but was getting 950,000 monthly page views and 400,000 unique visitors per month by its second full month of operation.

Although both presenters offered advice for editors who want to start their own ventures, most of their suggestions would be just as helpful to existing media companies planning to introduce a new-media property. Pulizzi explained how buying behavior has changed, and what that means for those who want to provide B2B information online. “More than 90% of business purchases begin online. So you have to find out how they’re using that information and become part of that process.” Here are some of the other tips he and McCracken shared during the webcast:

Know where the money will be coming from before you start. Joe Pulizzi says a three-tier revenue model works in any market – that is, a new enterprise should be able to get revenue from at least three groups of people. Usually there are a main group or audience and a few ancillary groups.

Copy a model from another industry. Pulizzi used Digg as a model in starting Junta42. eHarmony and AgencyFinder were the models for Junta42Match.

Leave your job with a job. If you’re striking out on your own, Pulizzi advised, continue to write or consult for their old companies while getting a new project started. Harry McCracken seconded this advice, noting that he’s still a contributor to PC World. The writing he’s done for that publishing franchise not only helped keep money coming in as the site ramped up, but it’s great publicity for Technologizer.

Get more advice from the presenters

See all the posts by and about McCracken and Pulizzi on our blog.

Partner with other companies. You can’t do it all yourself, Pulizzi stressed. In getting Junta42 started, Pulizzi partnered with American Business Media, BtoB Magazine, and the Custom Publishing Council. Working with established companies adds credibility to a new venture, and many of those companies will be willing to work with you because they need help figuring out how to build online products.

Treat your audience like editorial staff. Your audience contributes to your site in the form of blog comments and discussion forum posts, McCracken notes, and many of those participants may know more than you do about certain topics. What’s more, based on their input to your site, you might even get to know users you’ll want to hire to write for you. “Don’t think of your community as a database that you can sell to people. Do lots of polls and surveys. Find the best people and highlight their work – and even pay them,” McCracken said.

Use free tools, even if you’re a big media company. Big companies often bog themselves down in processes or tools. McCracken noted that there are many free tools now that are easy to use and comparable to products companies used to pay tens of thousands of dollars for. (For how to avoid getting burned when dealing with free web services, see this post from Technologizer.)

Don’t bother with traditional search engine optimization. That’s Harry McCracken’s advice, and he admits it’s unorthodox. But in his opinion, if you write good content and promote it via the social web, you’ll rank high on Google. (For more, see this post from the blog McCracken on Media.)

McCracken and Pulizzi also discussed specific tools and marketing strategies they used, how to find writers when you’re on a tight budget, and revenue streams beyond advertising. An archived version of this webcast will be available to attendees. Watch ASBPE’s webinar page for updates on availability of the archived version, as well as updates on upcoming webinars.

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