The conversation swirling around this week’s earlier post, “Whose Blog Would You Pay to Read?” blew me away.
Buried deep in the comment stream, professional blog consultant, Michael Martine of Remarkablogger.com fame asked a powerful question that got a bit lost in the shuffle. Thing is, it needs to be given more attention. In his comment, he asked,”
I’m really intrigued by the question of would you pay to read your own blog?
Because if not, what the hell are you doing?
I danced around that question at the end of the original post, but Michael made me think about it more seriously. And, confession time, I didn’t love the answer I was getting. I kept asking, if I came to my blog as a newbie to the community, would I find enough value to pay for it? For some posts, the answer was yes…but for many others, the answer was no.
One that sent me screaming into Michael’s second question…
Then what the hell am I doing?
I ruminated (read “stewed”) on this for hours. Then, slowly, answer began to come.
It’s not about the post, it’s about the conversation.
While some blogs are built largely around tip and resource lists or how-to content, this community is built largely around conversations about the big questions in life. I share resources, ideas and strategies where I can. But, I can’t tell you how many times the value of a given post has been magnified or even substantially trumped by the value of the conversation that unfolds in the comments.
Indeed, my earlier “Whose Blog Would You Pay to Read?” post was a perfect example. When last I looked, there were some 85 comments, some as long as the post. And the data, ideas and insights into the process of monetizing blogs via paid subscriptions, premium content, paywalling and voluntary contributions is a veritable treasure trove for anyone exploring the issue.
The post alone was not the resource, the full conversation was.
And, what I realized was that access to that fuller conversation, to the collective brainstorming power of the innovative, respectful, giving community that’s evolved here does have immense value. Value I’d consider paying for. So, one of my questions now is to explore how to build on this revelation to increase the overall value to you guys by building even stronger, more vibrant, more directed conversations that can serve as a powerful source of ideas and solutions for all of us (FYI – I’m all ears, lol).
Another thing I realized was that while collective online brainstorming has tremendous value, it’s not nearly as easy to place a dollar value on that benefit as it is to place a dollar value on say a weekly in-depth resource/strategy/tip post on a specific problem. We’re not bred to value conversation in the same way we’re taught to value authoritative advice. And, that’s a damn shame. Because there is tremendous value in creating a place for consistent, directed, solution-driven interaction.
So, opening to the power of great conversation was a big awakening for me. But, there’s more…
I also realized, I hold back some of my best stuff.
For a variety of reasons. Sometimes I’m thinking, “I need to save this for my next book.” Other times I’ll hold it back for a seminar, info-product or some other potential vehicle. I realized the reason I do it is because those VEHICLES are far more easily associated with dollar values. And, though I’ve been blogging and sharing for a number of years now, I guess I still have trouble with the notion of releasing my best stuff for free. Because it’s valuable enough to be worth something more. So, I hold it back in with the intention of someday bundling into a distribution format that would be far easier to monetize than a blog.
I don’t do this all the time. In fact, I try to put out as much genuine, free signal as possible. But, still you guys rarely get all the good stuff. Not because I don’t think you’re worthy. But, because, in the end, I need to pay my bills. And, that means somehow getting paid for what I bring to the world.
But, now I’m wondering…what if I let it all hang out?
What if every idea, strategy, tactic, innovation and solution that was birthed in the warped chamber known loosely as my brain ended up on the pages of this blog?
Would I then be able to look back and feel the value had been enhanced to a level that I’d pay to read it?
Would the increase in value then lead to so many more opportunities to generate revenue that weren’t based on commoditizing knowledge, like speaking, teaching, consulting that it would be worth going 100% value naked on the blog?
I don’t have an answer to these questions quite yet, but I do know what direction I’m leaning.
So, now, this is where you chime in…
How would you answer Michael’s question?
Would you pay to read YOUR OWN blog? And, if not…
What the hell are YOU doing?
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