There are quite a few uncertainties about the year to come in Stock Photography and the debate on where the industry is going is in full swing. We like to look forward and outward at the opportunities ahead.
2010 will be a year full of new media technology and innovations. New devices will allow for ever deeper exporation of content and this in turn creates opportunities for those creating the content.There will be great opportunities for businesses to adapt and find new markets. Once combined with a solid review of businesses and the application of solid best practice there are many opportunities to be successful. But developments are going fast, blink and you’ll miss them. It is vital to keep track of everything that is happenning around us. These 10 points are a startingpoint for that exploration:
- Choose. Forget the past. Let’s think about where the business is going. There is very little question that a large part of the industry is moving to low price high volume sales. Where do you fit? Are you creating volume content that will be sold at low prices or are you building a specialist collection of personal, difficult to replicate content that can sell at high prices. If you do neither, what’s plan B?
- Cut. Make cost an integral part of your strategy and keep it as low as possible. The recession may be coming to an end but the industry is still changing, prepare for the worst. There are companies out there shooting at very low cost and those companies are the ones you are competing with
- Compare. Look at everything on offer, from free to microstock and the traditional models. There is no point fo businesses in different models working against each other. If microstock content is of the same, or better quality as your Rights Managed pictures seriously consider moving to microstock (see 2) or change your offer completely. Successful companies produce for areas that are growing
- Review. Step out of the daily production and/or distribution rat-race and consider what your core expertise is. What unique skills and experience do you have that make you successful for the coming 5 years. If it’s not what you’re doing now then stop doing it and change your business…quickly
- Read. There are many sources of information out there that can help you find your way and make decisions. You can find many of those sources here at Fast Media Magazine and there are many more that specialise in areas that may be important for you, from photography to social media, technology and copyright
- Innovate. What worked in the past may no longer be viable. If your technology doesn’t work anymore replace it, regardless of your initial investment. You can also choose from a vast number of free applications. There are probably cheaper solutions out there that help you focus on running your business
- Ask. Use forums, networks and communities to ask questions, this is what they’re for. No-one has all the answers and you’ll be surprised how many people are willing to help. In the current web-environment asking others is the norm, trying to come up with all the solutions yourself will waste a lot of valuable time while change goes on
- Apply. Check out all the latest technology and services at your disposal and start using today. Most technologies at your disposal are open source and require little or no IT expertise
- Reconsider. Get informed about new businessmodels. Look at the music industry, the big changes in print publishing and changes in stock media. Change will happen and the sooner you adapt the stronger you will emerge
- Promote. Use all the new media at your disposal. Most of the new ways to promote businesses are free or cheap. Consider SEO, Adwords, Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook and a huge range of other networks to spread your message. Integrate them and build communities of followers.
I hope you find this small list useful. This is pretty much top of mind so please add and comment. Keeping a forward looking view will be key. Change is here and it’s not going away and driven by markets and clients, not the industry itself. Prices may be down but the volume of photography usedi n advertising and publishing is up. Businesses that take lessons from other industries and experiences have a greater chance to be successful.
Marco Oonk (firstname.lastname@example.org)