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Maybe You’re Trying to Monetize the Wrong Thing

“We have to drive more traffic to our site!”

How many times have we heard that – or said it?

Why is this our goal?  Well, maybe it’s because the site is where our display ads are and the more eyeballs we get there the better off we perceive ourselves to be.  Maybe it’s because we’re a program director and part of our incentive structure is based on site uniques.  Maybe it’s just because we equate more site traffic with a more successful brand.

No matter how you cut it, however, I think it’s the wrong question to ask.  And here’s why:

Your website is not a destination, it’s simply part of the conversation between your brand and your audiences.

It’s not important per se to “attract” consumers to your website.  It is important, however, to attract them to your conversation which may take place on or off your site.

And it’s best of all if that conversation can be monetized no matter where it takes place – your site or another.

Don’t think in terms of page views and uniques.  Think in terms of generating and monetizing engagement no matter where it takes place.

An example:  Today I got a taste of a new engagement platform built for broadcasters called Zambig.  The idea is that listeners engage with content elements by posting their own audio contributions which they share throughout their social graph.  The best contributions are rewarded by the station. Meanwhile the viral sharing yields more contributions and more sharing sourced not from the station but from the friends of the station’s fans.  All of this is monetized by a marketing partner through non-spot dollars.  A partner in love with the content and the idea and the “flock” of properly targeted fans this gathers.  Not a partner looking at a ratings ranker.

The key point for this post is that all of the audio is posted everywhere BUT the station’s site.  Why?  Because it doesn’t need to be posted there. And it works best if we don’t limit all our ideas to whatever fits within the confines of our own walled gardens.

What you’re monetizing is the conversation, enabled via the radio station, not the page view on the station site.

By insisting that every content element live on the station, we are trying to build a gas station at a corner convenient for us rather than the one that has all the auto traffic.

Monetize the conversation – the relationship – not the real estate.

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