How I built my own small media empire
I used to be an event photographer. No, not the wedding photographer, I hate wedding photography. I worked for a tech company specializing in market intelligence and organizing tech events. I covered (and still do) endless conferences, trade shows and tech gatherings and I liked (and still do) every moment of it. Watching at close range all latest gadgets, listening to technology visionaries and mixing up with entrepreneurial crowds is exciting, exhilarating and inspiring. So I started a personal blog as a way to share my impressions, keep track of events and notes, a personal bookmark service and assignment log. I did not kept my new hobby in secret from my employer, my work agreement had no clause preventing my writing and I had a plenty of materials within my rights to publish and share. From time to time my employer asked me to post event announcement on my blog and its associated social media channels. It proved that my listings generated more buzz and attendance than many of the company’s official marketing channels. My employer started paying me for event promotion on my blog and social media and soon enough my publishing earnings exceeded rather modest photographer’s wage. That was the point when I realized that the time has come to make some radical changes.
Other event organizers began making offers to put their event announcements on my blog. To avoid any possible conflict of interests I quitted my job and signed a freelance agreement with my former employer to continue promoting their events on non-binding non-exclusive basis. I bought a few brandable premium domain names and launched new sites, each covering more focused niche and targeting specific keywords and audiences. I established media partnerships with more information purveyors, not only event organizers but also market research companies, tech associations, NGOs, scientific communities.
No, I did not make millions. My sites never hit mainstream, they are still niche publications. Occasionally I get a lucrative contract on an event reportage event which includes some technical writing. Occasionally I sell a domain or website for a respectable $XX,XXX amount. Occasionally I’m engaged in some interesting virtual multimedia exhibition project or asked to share my opinion on future of digital photography, or make a cover design for photography tutorial. I have my ups and downs, with 2015 and 2016 being rather drought years for tech. Yet I’m content with what I become and have – I travel to foreign places, meet interesting people and I don’t kill myself with boring work assignments (my take on famous adage: “Join The Marines. Travel To Foreign Places, Meet Exotic People, And Kill Them”).
Excerpt from interview taken at the NAB Show.