May not apply to law firms and professional service businesses looking for information on using blogs to market their business, but maybe it should. Does provide some key principals the employees of LexBlog and I should be guided by.
Here's a bulleted summary, borrowing liberally from Evan's copy.
- Be Narrow. Focus on the smallest possible problem you could solve. There's a resistance to focusing from a fear of being trivial. If you get to be #1 in your category, but your category is too small, then you can broaden your scope. Focusing on a small niche has many advantages.
- With much less work, you can be the best.
- Small things, like a microscopic world, almost always turn out to be bigger than you think when you zoom in.
- You can much more easily position and market yourself.
- When it comes to partnering, or being acquired, there's less chance for conflict.
- Competition to legitimize new markets is good.
- See #1—the specialist will almost always kick the generalist's ass.
- Do something not so cutting edge. Many successful companies, including Google, have thrived by taking on areas that everyone thought were done and redoing them right.
- Get a good, non-generic name. The most common mistake in naming is trying to be too descriptive, which leads to lots of hard-to-distinguish names.
- Charging money can actually accelerate growth, not impede it, because then you have something to fuel marketing costs with.
- Puts you in a much more powerful position when it comes to your next round of funding or acquisition talks.
- Consider whether you need to have a free version at all. The TypePad approach—taking the high-end position in the market—makes for a great business model in the right market. Less support. Less scalability concerns. Less abuse. And much higher margins.
Good stuff. But remember #11.