3 Simple Steps: How Any Online Community Can Build a Media Empire
Jul 27, 2022
When I think of traditional print media, I think of those journalist movies with a collaborative, lively, and intense writers’ room.
I think of groups of passionate people gathered around bouncing ideas and working together to create impactful writing.
What is the internet-native version of this environment?
What if it can be better?
What if individual writers could be more empowered in this new model?
I recently wrote about the potential of decentralized media.
Here was the conclusion that I drew:
Decentralized media is the future because experts want to create media out of their own ambition to grow their brand, create opportunities, and learn.
This media can be recentralized with new media brands that will aggregate and publish the content giving wider distribution for these writers.
This post will share the steps an online community can take to support and grow alongside decentralized media (and build a media empire in the process).
Step 1: Bring experts and enthusiasts together with a clear direction
A strong online community stands for something.
This can be simple. For example, “Freelancing is the best way to make money.”
Or, it can be more complex. Here’s the BanklessDAO Mission: “We will help the world go Bankless by creating user-friendly onramps for people to discover decentralized financial technologies through education, media, and culture.”
An online community with a clear direction will attract experts and enthusiasts from that industry that are looking to level up, learn, connect, and build.
For example, a freelancer community would bring freelancers together from all around the world to support each other in their career journey.
Note, this is not new. These online communities with a clear direction exist for just about any topic that people find interesting. (Read more about this idea in Balaji Srinivasan’s One Commandment chapter from The Network State.)
Step 2: Help the community write & publish
Within the walls of the community, create programs that help people to write and publish under their own personal and professional identities.
As I write in my previous post, people want to write because there are tangible benefits that come with publishing content:
Writing helps build a personal (or professional) brand that unlocks new opportunities
Writing helps people connect. By sharing what they know about a topic, they put a flag in the ground to attract other like-minded people (which creates new opportunities)
Writing helps people learn about a topic (clear writing = clear thinking)
Writing can make people money (though this is admittedly very difficult)
But, writing is difficult. This is where the community can help.
Just like the writers’ room from the movies, these communities offer support, feedback, energy, and accountability.
The best way these communities help writers write is through the power of cohort-based writing programs.
A cohort-based writing program is a structured, time-constrained educational program that the community participates in at the same time.
The one-liner of the program could be: “Join our community and write 4, 1,000-word essays about web3 in 4 weeks.”
As a not-so-subtle plug for my company, Taptive helps writers write by running these cohort-based writing programs.
Step 3: Elevate writers from the community
At the end of one of these cohort-based writing programs, the community will have a collection of posts written by members of their community — the authentic voice of the community.
The community can then promote and elevate the voice of its community members.
Incentive Alignment 🤝
The incentives are aligned. Writers gain from the benefits of writing (building a personal brand, meeting new people in their community, & learning) in addition to the opportunity to have their writing elevated by the community they write with.
The community benefits because they build a stronger sense of community within their organization, and they help generate high-quality content written by experts and enthusiasts in their community.
There is more nuance to elevating writers from the community as shown by BanklessDAO’s Editorial and Publishing Arm.
💰 Add Ons
The general model is as follows:
Bring experts and enthusiasts together with a clear direction
Help the community write & publish
Elevate writers from the community
Once this is in place, the community can start to do some creative things to build upon this model.
If the community wants specific topics to be written about, they can create a list of writing prompts
The community can create monetary incentives or bounties for specific topics. This is something we’re working on with the 1729 Writers Cohort and IndiGG Writers Cohort
The community can build an in-community token as BanklessDAO has with $BANK to reward writers
🏗 Work in Progress
This post is a thought exercise on the potential of combining online communities with decentralized media.
I’ve seen early signs of its potential with Steps 1 – 3 working within communities I’ve helped run cohort-based writing programs for.
My hope is to continue to bring this to life with iterations and experiments.
Have any suggestions? Please reach out! (firstname.lastname@example.org).