We were busting a gut to find the next story for our weekly show. We call this a black hole – a space in the rundown that needs filling. A black hole can keep you awake at night. As a group we’d throw ideas around; the closer the date for that show got, the crazier the ideas got.
Then they canned our show!
See, while we were running around looking for content, the business that owned the audience decided to do something else. Ratings, costs, changing media landscape, any number of things brought our quest for content to an abrupt end.
It was heartbreaking – as a group we lived and breathed for our show. I felt I had let the team down, the team felt abandoned. But what does this have to with us Generalists? The team and I didn’t own the audience. I say it again: we didn’t own the audience.
Maria Popova writes about books, mostly older books. She writes about how the ideas in those books connect to other writings in other books. She joins the dots between them in a pre-internet hyperlink way. What she also does is show how these books are relevant in today’s media-everywhere world. Maria’s Facebook page has, wait for it, 2,888,225 likes. Her website, brainpickings.org, has 2 gizzilion readers. (Actually, I don’t know how many, but it’s heaps.) This is her audience; the only person that can cancel her show is Maria herself!
Neville Medhora has a newsletter, and sells online courses. He’ll teach you about the secret art of Kopywriting with his ‘Kopy Kourse.’ He’s run his personal blog Nevblog.com since 2004, and guess what? He owns an audience.
Jerry Seinfeld, remember him? He had a reasonably popular TV show that ran for 10 years. The connection he has with his audience has continued, long after he left the clutches of network television. His new project, ‘Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee’ is an internet-only show. His audience loves it, and he owns it – not the network.
One of the purposes of this blog is to build an audience. Stick with me, as I’m not quite sure what I’m putting on offer yet, but I do have some ideas that I hope you might like.