When I was a publisher, I attended a ton of industry meetings – each with great ideas and insights to feed back into my publishing operation. And unfortunately, there’s a pernicious and paralyzing post-conference phenomenon that I’ve observed in myself and others throughout the years.
And since we are on the heels of the 2017 Super Niche conference, it is no coincidence that I’ve been thinking about how easy it is let the momentum, energy, and ideas you get from being at a great event slip away.
The short and painful lifecycle of the newly-attained, great new idea
Here’s my working theory about how great ideas die on the vine, post-conference:
- Unbounded excitement: There are so many great ideas being shared in session and by the keynote speakers! Plus being surrounded by smart and talented publishers is hugely energizing! You have 14 new ideas about ways to build your media business! You can’t wait to get started!
- Back in the office overwhelm: You’ve been away, thinking big picture about your media business. But daily demands weren’t put on hold. You’re facing a big backlog and tell yourself that just as soon as you get caught up, you’ll focus on those 14 great take-aways.
- Hazy on the details: Yes, there were these 14 great ideas. But as the weeks go by, your recall of the details fades, as does your mental map of how to tackle these new projects.
- Inertia: It’s too much. You need to focus on the immediate demands of your media business. Launching new projects will have to wait until you have more time. Maybe next quarter? Or in the Fall? Maybe after the next Super Niche?
Does any of this sound familiar to you? Yup. It’s painful because it’s true. So what’s a niche publisher to do? How do you ensure that great conference ideas don’t wither up and blow away?
5 tips for execution success
How do you move from idea to execution? The hardest part is to begin.
1. My Rule of 3: Ok, this is real. Yes, you may have come away with 14 incredible ideas that are going to transform your media business (and your life.) Most importantly, it will accelerate revenues. But the hard reality is that you can’t execute 14 great ideas – certainly not all at once. PICK 3 (and only 3) to work on in the 6 months following the conference.
2. Write it down. Last week, Dick Ryan’s post talked about how writing down your goals greatly increases the chance of achieving those goals. Do it. Write them down. Share them with your team. Make your commitment concrete.
3. Get your team together. (This is a two-for-one recommendation.)
- Get your internal team on board with your new plans and projects. You need your staff to fully engage and work in lockstep with you to execute your vision.
- Establish regular contact, connection and conversation with publisher peers. Reach out to those with whom you can discuss projects, who can serve as a resource, and who can hold you accountable as your plans evolve.
4. Focus on the important, not the urgent. The hardest part of running a media enterprise is distractions from the pressing daily demands of your work. The reality is that if you allow the urgent to ride roughshod over your time, your new initiatives will never get off the ground. Instead, focus on the new projects as the priority, even in the face of other burning issues of the day that can suck up your time.
5. Quick wins and baby steps: Maybe you came away from the conference fired up to launch a multi-year, multi-platform publishing initiative that will completely transform your niche. Great! Break that up into small steps and celebrate your successes along the way!
Put your brave, new, bold ideas to work.
Great conferences can play a critical role in building your media business.You interact with other publishers and make solid connections. Your publishing brain fills to bursting with new ideas to implement immediately when you get back to the office. And with focus and commitment you can use the experience and new knowledge to jump start your creative energies, feeding new life and new revenues into your publishing operation. Avoid post-conference, daily distractions and focus on these execution tips to transform your new ideas into successful reality (and revenues!)
More about Bekah: Bekah Darksmith is President / Fearless Leader of Niche Media HQ, leading a strategic expansion of Niche Media in order to more broadly serve the niche publishing community. Her 20-year career in publishing spans consumer; B-to-B, scholarly and academic publishing. Most recently, Rebekah was the Deputy Director of University Press. She developed strategy and oversaw operations for all revenue-generating functions within the organization – marketing, sales, rights and licensing as well as fundraising.
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