I found a great article this morning on Liako.Biz, Elias Bizannes‘s blog entitled The Makings of a Medial Mogul: Michael Arrington of TechCrunch. I don’t impress easily, but Elias has done quite a bit of research producing this entry and I am impressed. This is a solid attempt at explaining how TechCrunch went from an idea to a website that is actually able to charge $10K for coverage in a single article. Who wouldn’t want that kind of success?
Like Elias, I don’t know Michael Arrington, but I do know plenty of people who worked and work with him. He’s gone from the brink of obscurity to one of the 100 most influential people in the world in about 2 years.
Mr. Bizanne does a great job tracking the stats behind TechCrunch’s success and then dives in to give some reasons for that success. He makes several great points.
1. TechCrunch built on a successful physical social networking campaign. It wasn’t just an online presence. Before Web 2.0 people actually left their houses and talked to each other. Can you believe that?
2. TechCrunch rode the wave of Web 2.0. They hit at just the right time to grab everyone’s attention and build on everyone else’s success.
3. TechCrunch has “great content”. I personally dispute this because I think TechCrunch is about as useless as a site claiming to cover technology can be, but I have heard that for non-techies the tech coverage is great. At any rate, I’ve been saying for years that content is the most important part of a media presence, and that only makes sense. If you don’t write something that people want to read, then why would they visit your site?
4. TechCrunch plays the game. They don’t try to provide better coverage than other tech sites by providing real insight or depth. They do provide better coverage because they are sensational journalists. It’s not about why Facebook is so great. It’s about “don’t miss the next Facebook.” Any site that can leverage peoples’ insecurities that they’re missing something is going to be a success.
Here’s a mundane example. You run a plumbing supply store. Who the heck is going to read your blog if it’s about the benefits of copper vs. plastic pipes? But if you ran an article called, “10 Things You Need To Know Before Home Depot Puts You Out of Business”, that’s going to get the page views. It’s not necessarily about having the best coverage. It’s more about grabbing attention.