The Money Plan

Just got a copy of Mark Briggs’ Journalism Next from Amazon. Don’t think I’ll actually have time to read it until this summer, but it may prove most helpful. He includes a lot of current trends in journalism. He discusses specific sites. One site I checked out is TechCrunch. On TechCrunch, I found an interesting article on the hottest new social media tool: Pinterest. It’s not the most cleanly written article, but the author reports an overwhelming number of Pinterest’s users are female. Of course, this is only Pinterest users who have liked the site through Facebook. As to the actual numbers according to gender, probably only the company knows for sure. The author does point out that even the basic concept of the site is geared to more feminine ideals as based on the site’s About page.

Getting back to Briggs’ book Entrepreneurial Journalism, I closely followed chapter three on “Making Your Money Plan.” Here are two of the bigger points I got from it:

Basically, Briggs talks about how journalists need to become increasingly aware of business aspects. Yes, good reporting skills are still important, but journalists simply can no longer ignore the business side in today’s hyper-competitive internet era. He offers many marketing terms I was unfamiliar with. For instance, the content of a website is often referred to as “creative.”  In a way, content is the creative aspect of a website. A business person would struggle more with this aspect of a site.

Revenue for a site is often generated through advertising, but there are other avenues to explore and creative ways to find different ad sources. One creative example is through Google. If a person partners their site with Google, the company will cut the person a check for the number of hits Google gets on that person’s site. Briggs notes the downside with this is it’s hard to gauge how much Google is making off your site or how popular your site is in general with this arrangement.

Be sure to check me out on Twitter: @ehilkert/twitter.com/ehilkert

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5 thoughts on “The Money Plan

  1. Erich,
    I thought your discussion of Briggs’ view on Pinterest was very interesting. As someone who has recently become obsessed with this new media phenomena myself, I can absolutely see Briggs’ point. To be honest, I completely agree that the site is geared toward more (traditionally) feminine ideals. Women seem to have this incessant urge to decorate their future home (guilty) or post photos of outfits they wish they had (guilty) or even plan their future wedding (embarrassingly guilty again, and I will deny this in all other public forums). Men on the other hand, would often rather just do than plan and typically don’t care much about what the flower girl at a wedding eight years from now will wear. I wish I could see the numbers of actual male users because, during my own usage of the site, I very rarely see them. Although Bob Sims mentioned during his class visit that Pinterest is the next big social media thing, I think it may be hard for that to really happen if the audience is almost completely female– it seems Pinterest has yet to tap into the other half of the population.

  2. Oh Pinterest. Or as I like to call it, “the online wedding planner.” It makes me chuckle that according to some reports, the majority of users are female. I’d believe it. There’s lots of “pretty” stuff on there. Not to say that men don’t/can’t like “pretty” stuff…after all, who am I to make gender classifications, right? 😉 But from my own experience with the site and from conversations with my friends, it’s a site girls love. Nothing wrong with that. I personally don’t use it, but the buzz about it struck my interest enough that I ended up checking it out. Like I said, pretty stuff.

  3. Great Post Erich! I wanted to comment on two things you mentioned. I joined Pinterest mainly because of the hype, and I assumed that it was mostly females that joined. I had no idea until I read your post that the site was geared towards females, though. I’ve never taken the time to read the About page and that’s probably why. I wonder with the tools we’re using in class if there was some report or tool that would help us to find out the actual gender of users and how many of them are using Pinterest.

    Secondly, I have Google Adsense set up on my YouTube videos. It took me two years before I received a check of $100 (they won’t cut a check until you’ve reached this threshold). However, I have over 130,000 views on my video. So, I think it’s interesting that you pointed out how hard it is to determine what Google makes and how the revenue relates to page views. Again, maybe it is something Google will release or break down for its users in the future. I also agree with you and Briggs that journalists can’t ignore the business side. We even talked about this in class concerning the startups that were not successful because they focused too much on the editorial side and not enough on the business side. Sometimes, they only had one person handling the financial matters. I think that’s negligent. You can have all the best content, but if you can’t sustain your business, then there will be no outlet to continue to provide that great content.

  4. One thing your post reminded me of is the YouTube partner program. Like the creative Google ad partnership, YouTube created a partnership program with users where they place ads on the videos (pre-roll ads and even sidebar ads) and although the user gets mere pennies per view, if you have a significant number of subscribers you can turn YouTube into a viable business venture.

    All of the channels I subscribe to on YouTube make a living based on their number of views. To me that’s incredible. It would be interesting to see if a news site or small businesses were able to do something similar, or maybe even create a YouTube channel that provided an income.

    I think you made some great points here, and I definitely agree that journalist MUST consider the business side of things, and stress the importance of making a money plan.

    Nice post!

  5. Isn’t that scary? How journalists must become more knowledgable in the business aspects of journalism? I remember the good ole days where all we had to do was report the news. Now we have to report, blog, post videos, and tweet all while competing with thousands upon thousands of other writers and bloggers and startups. The list is never-ending. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love change. It’s just a part of life, but we’re entering a time where technology is everything, and the only way to survive is if you find something and run with it. We have to be creative. We have to innovate (as Briggs likes to point out). Without some sort of business strategy, journalists won’t make it in this new era. Double masters in journalism and business anyone? At least I’ll be able to avoid the real world for a little while longer…

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