Issue #264

They’re Dying. Why Copy Them?

They’re Dying. Why Copy Them?

Newspapers aren’t doing so well these days. Revenue is way down and they’re trying to find new ways to survive in the age of “new media”.

A lot of non-print media organizations are also having a tough time. There are layoffs happening. A recent story in Business Insider says that the media industry has laid off 2,300 people so far just this year.

So, newspapers were first to field the fire. Then, the digital media industry sprang up and now they’re having a tough time, too.

Let’s look at 2 primary traits of this industry:

  • Their “information” is increasingly a commodity.
  • They depend highly on advertising.

So, this begs the question…

If it is very clearly not working very well for these corporations, why are so many bloggers trying to do the same thing?

Some estimates say that by next year, there will be over 31 million bloggers in the U.S. alone. Mind you, a very small chunk of those people will manage to make decent money doing it. But, every one of them has grand plans.

Why is it that banner ads are still considered the de facto way to make money with a blog?

When I tell the uninformed that I make my living as a blogger, their first response is usually something like, “So, how do you make money doing that? Ads?”

My long-time readers know that I’m all about the direct monetization via direct product sales. If you’re in a market where you’re helping people accomplish things with your blog, then you can monetize it via product creation.

The money is in being an enabler, not a reporter.

Don’t be a newspaper. That model is dead. Even some of those organizations have realized the problem and you’re seeing many of them attempt to transition to a paywall with monthly fees.

But, if the info you’re providing is a commodity, why would anybody pay for it?

It is a terrible catch-22 for those organizations. So, you see many of them publishing emotionally charged, intentionally controversial bullcrap in order to try to garner page views…. coupled with stuffing more and more ads and more and more distraction onto their pages.

I don’t envy their position. The model is dying. And they know it.

So, again, why try to copy them with a blog?

Are you going to stuff ads all over your site in an attempt to do what those companies already did… and are now suffering for it?

They’re running for direct monetization with a paywall. We’ll see how many of them can manage to make it work. For now, they’re just going to have to lay people off, reduce costs, and play ball with the biggest middlemen of them all: Google and Facebook.

Again, I don’t envy their position.

The lesson here for all bloggers should be…

Be an enabler, not a reporter.

Help people accomplish things.

Give people solutions.

Create a community people want to be part of.

Charge for it.

Become an authority on your topic.

Value yourself.


– David

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