Jim Long opened his session with the members of the Direct Marketing Association at their day long event in Washington DC with the statement that he was just a cameramen. Mind you, the man behind the lens of some pretty well known TV anchors from NBC News. Yet, in the traditional hierarchy of GE’s media conglomerate, well down on the food chain, as he shared with us at the session.
In the blogosphere and on Twitter however, he is a hero. Followed by many, envied by a few, and for all the good reasons –- a new media maven he is. Thanks to his entrepreneurial spirit and formidable skills with a camera, he is now potentially sitting on the future of media –- and people like him, a lot. We tend to buy from people we like, that is extremely good news for Jim.
The other good news is that Jim has talent and a skill that is becoming increasingly a hot commodity online – he can shoot a very good video. He’s found a way to monetize his efforts with The Crafty Nation, one of the many portals he is planning in the future. If you wish to learn more about that venture, come over to my blog after reading this.
Blogging and launching online businesses successfully require the ability to tell a story and a keen eye for what will work for viewers. Jim knows quite a bit about capturing eyeballs from his day job. If you follow him on Twitter, you will see that he understands the value of feet on the ground. That is what social media and self-publishing are all about. There is also another ingredient needed, one we talk about in the close of this post.
The potential for building a successful business is enormous. Especially on the basis of redirected talent and keen observation of the dynamics of this new conversation with the marketplace. It’s a way to go direct with your offering, name, venture, and capture a slice of the business. How did Jim do that?
1. Jim started a blog declaring his intention – Verge New Media, the intersection of old and new media. Then, because he spends a lot of time on the road, he integrated that with a Twitter account, which allows him to post shorter, impromptu messages about what he’s doing. At the writing of this post, he has 1,125 people following him. We follow him because he posts about stuff you don’t see in the news. That’s the intersection and the allure. What skill could you leverage today to set your blog apart while borrowing the credibility built around that skill? What’s your business secret sauce? Find a way to put it out there.
2. Jim’s business cards say – powerful content for the empowered consumer. Slightly more targeted than his blog, which he started in May 2007. Go ahead and Google his name, it comes up second. Want to know why? He’s managed to get attention by stating he was not going to talk about what operational security allows the NBC travel pool to know before a trip. By showing he’s an empowered employee and a judicious one, he is providing excellent examples of how to deliver powerful content. How can you be a living example of what you’d like people to buy?
3. He delivers great personal experiences. Take a look at his video of the sausage factory of old media TV news coverage (second to last, scrolling down). The narrative is pure Jim – he’s soft spoken, lively, and has a great sense of timing and humor. For another example of his skill check out his entry for the Network2 contest on Blip.tv. I bet you’ll never watch the news the same way now that’s you’ve seen it from behind the camera. And that is the third point exactly. Can you find a way to be accessible and professional at the same time — likeable and valued?
Jim’s advice if your plan is to make a business of social media:
– First plan your business; write a business plan.
– Surround yourself with a board of advisers.
– Incorporate yourself and
– Be serious about it; make the commitment.
What other suggestions would you share with fellow social media mavens on launching a successful online business?
With New World attitude and Italian style, Fast Company expert blogger and Conversation Agent Valeria Maltoni demonstrates her unique talent for synthesizing marketing, public relations, and communications. See how customer relationships are always conversations, and why this knowledge is essential to doing business in the Information Age. Valeria also blogs at the Marketing Profs Daily Fix and Marketing 2.0.