This is a momentous time in American history for small and independent business owners. That may seem like an overstatement to some, but it's not. We are in the midst of en economic transition that is creating new opportunities for tiny businesses nationwide. There are many reasons for this transition, and one of them is the continuing decline of newspaper circulation in this country. Look at the graph, reprinted with the permission of Choire Sicha of The Awl, then scroll underneath it to learn 3 reasons why this is good for you and your small business.
You may not have time to study the chart in detail, but one glance reveals that circulation trends are decidedly downward. Even the Wall Street Journal, which the graphic shows “gets it” experienced a positive increase followed by a downward trend. Here are 3 reasons why these trends, which are such devastating news for traditional media, are awesome news for you.
- Less Readers For Them Means More Readers For You. As your customers turn their attention away from print newspapers to the Internet, an opportunity opens up for you to gain their attention in ways that were not possible just a few years ago. In years past, huge editorial staffs, big budgets and massive printing equipment were required in order to publish and circulate information. Today, all you need is a blog and the commitment to use it in a focused and consistent manner.
When your business is focused, and your blog complements that focus, you can engage your customers and facilitate interesting conversations about the things that matter to them. That's what newspapers, did and still do. The difference now is a more level playing field, which allows you to compete effectively for the attention of specific types of people.
- More Content At Lower Costs. I don't care how good your products or services are, the content you produce to share them must be even better. So many people have great and wonderful products. What sets you apart from them? Maybe a lot of things, but you have to roll up your sleeves and tell people about it. If you don't, you'll drown in a sea of great products.
The exciting news is that the cost to create content these days is infinitesimally small. Just a few years ago, you needed an expensive download, a fancy video camera and a bunch of headphones and plugs from Radio Shack in order to create your own media. Today, the downloads are free or very low cost and most computers come with so many things built in, that an electrical outlets is just about the only external source you need to get started on publishing your own quality content!
When a person finds a consistent, reliable, transparent and honest source for news and information about things that are important to her, she will return over and over again to benefit from that information.
Not only that, if you make it easy for her to do so, she'll tell her friends. If you are the trusted source, and if you remain present to encourage participation and create benefits for your readers, they will support you as you support them. It's a good thing as Martha (who is a master at all of this) would say!
- Confidence, Growth and Expansion. You may have started your business thinking that you wanted to manufacture a single type of product or offer a single type of service. But as Marc Warnke, my guest on Indie Business Radio said last week, these days, every business must be planned to supply you with not only income, but also a desirable personal life. In most instances, Marc says, that means creating more than one source of income for yourself.
So while you may start out making and selling mineral makeup or handmade jewelry, that platform must be somehow used to create another one that logically flows from it.
In this way, the first phase of your business provides the platform for a logical progression to the second phase. Steady publication of your own branded, unique media builds upon each successive level of your platform. Producing your media builds your platforms, increases your confidence and provides options for you and your family.
These options cannot be fully anticipated in advance. They flow organically from the media you create. And today, there is not shortage of opportunities to create media, and this translates into more opportunities for you.
Indeed, this is an exciting time, but the window of opportunity will not last forever. We've got to roll up our sleeves now and get in on the ground floor creating our own branded media outlets that will form the platform for long-term business growth.
Question: Do you still subscribe to any print newspapers? Why or why not? If you're a small business owner, do you see any interesting opportunities for you and your business as a result of the decline?