Rocketbooming New Monetization Strategies

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The most important takeaways from Rocketboom’s Andrew Baron’s keynote address at the Podcast and Portable Media Expo are that content providers should not only focus on a niche, but should also be audience-centric in their approach to content delivery and monetization.

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Podcasting, vlogging, and other incarnations of the new e-business world cannot focus on the way things have been done since mass communication began – which is focus on general content for the lowest common denominator, controlled by advertisers.

Baron referred to LetsKnit2gether.com, a vlog focused on knitting, as a model for this type of niche production. True, there will be a smaller audience, but the audience is so targeted that advertisers should recognize the value of reaching it.

The point podcasters and others have missed, in his estimation is the value of niche content that we’ve learned from blogs like Engadget, the most popular blog: highly focused content serves the audience best, because it is findable by the audience that desires that content most.

Podcasting, then, should follow that model, targeting “very, very, very, very specific” groups, and find a way to engage the audience at a high level.

He said the biggest disadvantage most podcasters have is that the audience is so far away from the access point. Once they’ve downloaded the program to a portable device, which is kind of the point, they are away from their computers while consuming the content. Podcasters and vloggers need to find a way to bring them back to their computer seats.

One way he suggests to this is through the use of wikis. A wiki can be made to match the format of the site, and can have some pages where the public cannot edit them. But, if there are topics created that the audience may have sufficient knowledge about, like video cameras, for instance, then the audience becomes a key stakeholder in the content.

Plus, search engine spiders can find that content, and site operators can spend less time creating text.

“Think about it from the audience perspective,” he said.

For promotional reasons, Baron said not to be afraid to let users use your content and distribute it for you. “As long as people aren’t making money off it, allow it to go wherever it can.” Chasing it down and trying to control is, in his opinion, a waste of resources, as it is free promotion, and more could be done with money spent trying to leverage that control.

Baron said that Rocketboom’s approach to advertising was different than many might expect. When other video sites are including their advertising in a pre-roll situation, Rocketboom ads are post-roll. Andrew is sensitive to his viewers, and imagines them waiting to download and waiting through a 30-second spot just to get to the content they want. And in today’s hectic Internet world, that just won’t do. You don’t want your audience saying “I hate this commercial…I hate Mop and Glo.”

Though a post-roll advertisement may get fewer views, at least he can tell advertisers (though it is a harder sell) that this many people were definitely interested in the commercial.

Other ways to monetize:


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