Posterous announced a couple days ago that as part of their “switch to Posterous” program, they’ll be offering quick and easy ways to switch your (or anyone else’s blog) from what they titled “dying platforms.” While the full list of “dying platforms” is still not clear, it seems that Ning and Tumblr are on it, and it is predicted that Typepad, Blogger and WordPress.com are coming up next.
While there is a pretty healthy discussion thread on Hacker News about this latest not-so-classy move by Posterous to deem all of their competitors as dying platforms, I’m not here to talk about that. I’m here to talk about an alternative strategy for Posterous that they should consider for their larger vision.
What I perceive Posterous to be doing now
Now, based on what I have seen, it looks like their goal is to become the next WordPress.com. They’re incorporating the same features (e.g. pages and themes) and they’re trying to (seemingly) convince users of WordPress.com-like sites to import their blog onto Posterous.
This seems kind of a waste to me. I mean…why bother? Why bother creating a company, and raising funds, and working as hard as you do (based on their twitter streams, they look like they’re really working their ass off) when all you’re doing is by and large going down an already paved path?
An alternative for Sachin to consider
If I were CEO, I would stop this chasing game that Posterous has going with WordPress.com. I think there is a better strategy to attack the blogging and CMS market. I’d go after the millions of businesses, startups, and individuals that do three things today:
1. Pick WordPress (Free)
2. Hire a consultant to do the “design” and “coding” ($$ Spent)
3. Research, analyze and implement the elements that helps the person achieve their specific goals ($$ and Time Spent)
This means that instead of creating a generic blogging system that just copies WordPress features, I’d focus Posterous on creating the “starter” blog for a set of verticals. A starter blog that has already been optimized to achieve my desired business/personal goals.
For example, take my blog. I’ve analyzed countless blogs and tried out hundreds of templates until I settled on this design. This design is optimized to the brim to explain who I am, re-share my content, and most importantly drive traffic to my products. It took hours to get to here, and its probably not even perfect.
If you were an entrepreneur that didn’t know much about coding, wouldn’t you PAY for a blog that has already been optimized to help build your personal brand? If you were a startup, wouldn’t you PAY for a blog that has already been optimized to spread your story?
So the idea is simple. If I were the CEO of Posterous, I’d create a set of ready-to-go, tested, and optimzed ‘starter’ blogs that has the right bells and whistles for each of these individual targets:
A startup looking to promote their story (have it pre-set with a “About Us” page, a sidebar section to explain their product(s) and what they do, and Twitter/Like buttons to promote the posts
An author looking to promote his/her (e)book. Have an “About the Author” section, have excerpts/reviews on the sidebar, and a way to profile sample chapters as blog entries along with a super easy big call to action for buying the book from amazon.
A small business trying to attract locals. Have a clear display on the sidebar for location, maps, hours, and phone number. Have a section showing off pictures of the business. Have custom post types for Sales, Events, and special SEO sauce optimized for the given zip code.
And we all know, there are a good 10 more solid verticals like this. Think schools, community groups, and even non-profits. There are probably niches within those that they can further optimize for and charge premiums on.
With an offering like this, not only will you solve a real problem (people like these having to create and customize these sites from scratch AND having to figure out what the right things to show are — even though its well known), you ‘ll be solving a problem that people are already paying through time and $$ for.
Sachin and Gary are both talented and are working hard. But maybe they’re just too caught up in the tasks. Step back and take a look at the forest.