How To Build The Ecosystem
The best way to get the most out of your marketing investment is to build a digital ecosystem – a bubble inside which your story or messaging gets reinforced. But, how do you go about building that ecosystem? Where do you begin? What channels do you use?
I cover that question and more here, so, let’s get started.
Earlier, I spoke about the merits of building a digital ecosystem instead of going with marketing campaigns. If you have not seen it already, click here. Now, you know that you gotta build an ecosystem. The first question you’d probably have is – where do I begin?
5 Questions You Need To Answer
Well, before you get on to that question, there are a few other questions that you would need to answer first.
- What do you enjoy doing? You’re going to be doing this day in day out. Do you care about this enough to keep going again and again?
- What pain are you willing to put up with? Anything worth doing is not easy. It usually requires sacrifice, hard work and persistence – not easy stuff to do. Everything has a price – what price are you willing to pay?
- What are your inclinations? Do you lean towards anything? I am good at writing, but I enjoy podcasting and videos. Everybody has inclinations. What are yours?
- What’s the problem you want to solve? There are a lot of problems that you can solve – but what matters to you? I care about marketers not being a douchebag and market stuff the right, ethical way. What’s the problem you want to solve?
- What supporting stuff do you have? Skills? Gear? Resources? I have a DSLR, microphones, soundcards, tripods and now, lights. I have added these over 10 years, but I have this gear. You may have access to other resources – access to academic journals, trade organizations or more. Use what you have.
Now that we’ve answered these questions, it’s time to figure out the channels you’re going to use. There are three main types of channels and they form the POE framework.
- The P in POE refers to “Paid Channels”. These are the ads, portals and networks that carry your content because you paid money to get your message out there.
- “Owned Channels” form the O in the POE framework. These are channels such as your website, email list and podcast. You have complete control. You own this. Technically, you pay for hosting/services, but the ownership of content is still yours. They can’t take it away from you.
- Finally, the E in the POE framework stands for “Earned Media”. These are the channels where you earn coverage and credit when others talk about you. Social Media and online mentions in forums and blogs are examples of “Earned Media”. You can’t control this, but you can influence it.
Farming & Fishing For Your Audience
The POE framework is one way to figure out how you’re going to spread your message. Another thing you have to keep in mind is the difference between fishing and farming for your audience.
When you take the farming approach, you are working like a farmer – working hard to “grow your audience” on your own property. This takes some time to grow your audience and gain traction, but it’s worth it.
On the other hand, the fishing approach relies on you going to the places where your audience hangs out. This is usually on sites you don’t own like Facebook or Twitter.
Setting Up Your Ecosystem
By now, you have answers to some critical questions and have an understanding of how different types of media work. You have also figured out which approach works – farming or fishing. Now, it’s time to set up your digital ecosystem.
First thing you need to do is set up your home base. This acts as the central point – a hub – for all your activities. You have to own this as this is the heart of your ecosystem – you’re going to drive all traffic here. My recommendations are to go with a blog and email list for the home base. Others talk about YouTube or podcasts, but all of these require a blog to encapsulate them.
The other part of your ecosystem would be the outposts. These are properties or assets in other areas. These could be channels like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Pinterest. You use these to distribute your content. I use my blog at ArvindhSundar.com as the home base and distribute stuff via YouTube. I also build my email list there.
Now, you know everything you need to know about setting up your digital ecosystem. You know about the channels and media you have available. The next step for you would be to build your content strategy and figure out your messaging.
So, till next time, this is Gundu saying over and out!