An announcement was made last week saying TOC is no more and that I'm out of a job. The former was disappointing news for the publishing community while the latter was a particularly troubling development for my personal community, also known as my family. I'm sad to be leaving a lot of terrific colleagues, including the amazingly talented and brilliant Kat Meyer, but I'm also looking forward to what's next.
I'm not sure what the future holds so I'm currently exploring both full-time and consulting work. With all the consolidation, downsizing and loss of institutional knowledge publishers are currently facing, I believe these next few years will offer plenty of opportunities for industry consultants. I also believe my publishing and technology background, which features a mix of editorial, business development and sales experience, shows I have plenty to offer.
There's one other aspect of my background that I feel is also a critical element every publisher needs to master: the art of community development. Kat and I (as well as the rest of the TOC team) worked hard to build year-round community engagement and an industry franchise by starting with something that was originally limited to a series of semi-annual in-person events.
Most publishers haven't focused much on community-building and engagement. I believe we were creating a community template publishers could have applied to their own businesses. The TOC plug was pulled prematurely, IMHO, but the community engagement lives on here and elsewhere, of course.
Btw, the goal of community-building isn't just to create a direct channel. That's one valuable outcome but it's clear some publishers simply aren't interested in direct channels just yet. Community-building is about giving your real customers, the people who read your products, a reason to engage with you and your content. It's about establishing a dialog as well as giving them a place to meet and share their experience.
One of my former colleagues liked to say that "community is the new marketing." Some publishers think that means they just need to have a corporate Twitter handle and offer a Facebook page for everyone to like them. Then they wonder why there's no return on that minimal investment. This is one of the areas where I can help.
There are plenty of other areas I can work with you as well, including: business plans, business development, product development, digital-first models, acquisitions, etc.
Am I right for your organization's needs, either in a full-time or consultant position? You'll be in a bettter position to answer to that question by reading through my archives here as well as visiting my LinkedIn profile.
Better yet, send me an email and let's schedule a phone call to talk about your specific needs.