How to Create a Media Pyramid for your Business Plan

Start your Internet business model with a media pyramid that shows the hierarchy of your products and revenue

Are you in the process of writing a business plan for a new online venture, or an extension of an existing online business?

As you know, having an online portal for your information is essential for growth. Using the web as a new medium and not just an extension of your brand is critical. But this is a new beast, and to be prepared, you must plan. This holds true whether your online business unit launched six months ago, or hasn’t launched yet.

If your company relies on investors, like most large publishing companies do, this doesn’t make you exempt, it actually makes having a killer business plan even more critical. Now, remember that investors tend to read a fraction of your business plan before deciding to get more involved, but the plan is not just for your investors, it’s for you. It’s a roadmap.

The first step in this roadmap, is deciding what your website will offer and how it will make money. This is why, in every business plan we’ve created for our clients, we include a Mequoda Media Pyramid.

The Mequoda Media Pyramid supports the notion that media products have a natural hierarchy.

Building a Mequoda Media Pyramid is an exercise through which you dig down and determine exactly how you’re going to run your company. The pyramid provides a method for organizing content to maximize profit.

Download a FREE copy of 7 Ways to Monetize your Portal Audience, and discover how today's top publishers are generating revenue through memberships, events, clubs, sponsorships, and more.

The foundation of the pyramid shows how you’ll draw prospects into your customer base, or online hub and build relationships. Then, level-by-level, you monetize those individuals by pushing them up the pyramid to product levels that are increasingly more valuable to them and certainly more profitable for you.

For Flora Daily, a hypothetical gardening website, we created this pyramid for its business plan:

It’s a fairly simple business plan and model. At the bottom of the pyramid, there are all of the marketing and partnership opportunities we can utilize to build this brand and drive traffic.

Second in the pyramid is the website. It’s the online hub and it’s free, as signified by being gold. Second is the next free product, which are free reports. Free reports are used to build email circulation and drive business to the next layer in the pyramid, which are paid books.

Books are Flora Daily’s own branded products. This is original content that is then repurposed back down the pyramid, into free reports and blog posts.

The next level of the pyramid represents the plan to have Flora Daily promote and sell other people’s gardening magazines for an affiliate commission. Flora Daily would partner with as many magazines as they have editorial topics on their site.

Download a FREE copy of 7 Ways to Monetize your Portal Audience, and discover how today's top publishers are generating revenue through memberships, events, clubs, sponsorships, and more.

Designing your enterprise in a Mequoda Media Pyramid is a dramatic departure for most media companies, which have historically been horizontally integrated as magazine, newsletter or book publishers. Over the past 30 years, we’ve seen special interest media evolve toward vertical integration in which the goal is to produce media in and for a variety of content platforms.

Media companies implementing this vertically integrated strategy use outside media to acquire new customers, leveraging “free media” first. They use content to build a permission database. They create many products in many formats and recycle, reuse and republish content. Finally, they are able to pull customers up the pyramid to maximize profit.

Mequoda Media Pyramid Key Concepts

Here are some tips for building (and implementing) your own media pyramid for use in your online business plan.

  • Media products have a natural hierarchy
    • This follows the time, money and trust media continuum
  • Use outside media to acquire new customers
    • Leverage “free media” first
  • Use content to build a permission database
    • Components of a niche media super-brand
  • Create many products in many formats
    • Recycle, reuse and republish content
  • Pull customers up the pyramid to maximize profit!

Want help building or restructuring your online business plan?

A complete Mequoda business plan strategy includes creating a publishing model, using the formal Mequoda publishing business plan creation technique, including key statistics and a five-year financial forecast for your market.

One of the many benefits of attending our Mequoda Summit is not only the chance to discuss your own business plan and model with us, but also the interactive spreadsheet you’ll receive, which contemplates all the factors you need to consider, whether you are launching or retooling an existing publication.

Register for the Mequoda Summit today at our earliest early-bird rate of only $897 and walk away twelve sessions later, with twelve actionable tools and techniques for building your online publishing business to last.


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