What Are You Working On?

A dangerous question, right? Especially if you’re working “IN” your business, instead of “ON” it.

Greetings.¬†Area 224 is back here in the blogosphere. So that answers the question, right? You ask us “What are you working on?” and we say “We’re working ON our blog.” If only it were that simple.

It’s not. In fact, I’d offer that most people who are working on a blog end up spending most of their time either (1) navel-gazing, (2) trying to link to popular friends or (3) offering advice that will fall upon deaf ears.

We have done all three. None of it works.

Well, it can sorta work – you can admire others in business and talk about what they’re doing right. You can link to those with high Google Page Rank on their blog – that can help you a little bit. And you can share advice – advice that will likely be ignored (even if everyone piles on and says how great it is).

Plumbers Have Clients

Photo by plumberluton, used with Creative Commons license

To Celebrate Our Return, Here’s What We’re Working On. Really.

Dave from Area 224 just finished an embedded contract role. (What does that mean? I was on the team at a Fortune 100 organization, helping them solve communications challenges, and adding value by actually rolling up my sleeves and doing stuff.)

I don’t mean to dis those of you who are actively blogging about what people should be doing online, but it was very refreshing to avoid advice from the blogosphere, talk to business leaders inside and outside of the organization, and tie their strategy to their objectives. Plus, I couldn’t really access Facebook during the day, so that was a major plus as well.

During this hiatus from the Awesomeness Generation and the Internet Cliques, I heard quite a few things that have impacted my world view. And given me a chance to answer the question…

What Are You Working On? Well, three areas, really, along with some links to show you where it’s all headed.

1. Category Disruption

I’ll tell you this much, folks: there’s room out here for everyone. Categories are being disrupted overnight – partly because there are so many inefficiencies.

Case in point: Health care. (Or: “Healthcare.” Depends on whether you follow the AP Stylebook or the Chicago Manual. Or neither.)

The Affordable Care Act – “Obamacare” – taught us a few things about disruption. Whether or not you agree with the law, you can say this much: the actual signing of the ACA was disruptive. And the follow-on hue and cry from everywhere is disruptive. And the tons of tools, sites, platforms, portals, apps and whatnots being built to help everyone and anyone figure out What The Heck Is Going On…That’s Disruption.

Heck, I should start a business just categorizing the business niches that need disruption, or are in the middle of being disrupted, or could use something disruptive to come along.

And how will Area 224 practice Category Disruption?

Thanks for asking. I’ll give you a hint:¬†Metasip.

One Metasip LogoWe launched the site a year ago and worked on the background to review a bunch of alcohol. While it’s still in Beta, and we know there are other sites out there that are involved in the beverage marketing category, we think the twist we offer – “It’s like Yelp, but for Alcohol” – gives us a unique selling proposition. It doesn’t hurt that there’s no shortage of people who are willing to share their views on their favorite wine, beer, or spirit. And that there are brands large and small that need to get their stuff out in front of new markets.

[SHAMELESS PLUG #1: Go see us over on the site, spin through, even sign up for the emails. We think you'll like it all.]

2. Content Monetization

If I hear “Content Marketing” one more time, I will scream. It’s the new “Thought Leadership,” and that was old ten years ago.

So Area 224′s approach is Content Marketing Monetization.

We’ve been there with “Content Marketing” – talk about things, get businesses to notice you, sell them your services. It’s a new wrapper on an old thing, and it’s one of those buzzwords you can say when you want to sound important in a meeting. Just don’t do it around me, because I’ll throw up on my shoes.

And how will Area 224 practice Content Monetization?

Thanks for asking. I’ll give you a hint: 10KaYear.

We told you here awhile back that we wrote a book. It’s still doing okay over on Amazon, but it got us thinking that there’s more to it than just writing a book. A content marketing plan has been replaced by a Content Monetization Plan. So yeah, we want you to visit the site as we try to make it a little Dave Ramsey, a little Suze Orman – and a lot REAL WORLD.

Don’t get me wrong – we’re fans of both of them and we find a lot of truth in what they talk about. But we’ve also witnessed many MANY more real-world examples of what is really going on.

Darnell's Credit Score

Someone shared their credit score with us.

Yes, we’re talking warts and all – living paycheck to paycheck, avoiding bankruptcy, scrimping, saving, looking for side gigs to make ends meet. Dave and Suze are both smart – but how realistic are they? That’s what we plan on talking about on the site – and the Content Monetization Plan involves more ebooks, toolkits, workbooks, and links to trusted partners that can provide affordable solutions to pesky financial challenges.

[SHAMELESS PLUG #2: Visit 10KaYear.com and look at what's there. And sign up for the emails so you can see what's coming next.]

3. Quality and Transparency

Here’s what bothers us about the modern marketing world: there’s too much content, a lot of it is crap, and there’s very little transparency.

Some of this is unavoidable; everyone has an unlimited supply of virtual ink, content can be whipped up for pennies offshore, and native advertising and content marketing have both blurred the lines between journalism and blather.

Plus, blather sells.

So we’re not going to do a shameless plug here, instead, a promise:

We’re only going to share quality stuff here on Area 224, on Metasip, and on 10KaYear. And we’re going to be as transparent as we possibly can.

The quality thing? We haven’t blogged here since last September, partly because we didn’t have anything that we thought was worth saying.

Transparency: well, we’ve been really up front on this post as to what we’re doing. On the front of the site, you can sign up to get a sneak peek of one of our upcoming books. We’re NOT planning on running affiliate links on the front of Area 224 right now. BUT WE ARE planning on borrowing from the playbook of the Smart Passive Income guy. Here’s what we mean.

Follow our process on 10KaYear.com. While we may not share all of the revenue nuts and bolts, we do plan on showing you as much of the behind-the-curtains stuff as we can.

Hey, thanks for listening. We know it’s a longer post than what we’re used to sharing. And we know your time is valuable.

And, in the comments, feel free to answer the question…

What Are You Working On?

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