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Multimedia Empire » Blog Archive » Organizing existing content: Directories and guides

Directories and guides are often nothing more than the product of someone taking the time to organize information. Often all the information is out there waiting for someone to find it. Directories of people and companies that hire special professional services are valuable to people in those professions. Entertainers including comedians, musicians and magicians will pay for up-to-date guides that list information about venues along with contact information. You might think that there would be more of these guides, but often the only people who go through the trouble of putting them together are the entertainers themselves, and they keep them a secret. Anyone can put together a guide like that. All it takes is a computer, a telephone and a list of questions. The venues are usually very happy to provide you with information on what price range they pay and what the working conditions are like.

The best place to start is to ask yourself what you’d like to know about a specific niche. The next step is to start asking questions. Here are some ideas for content that be mined with a little effort:

Specialty directories
The guide for entertainers is one example of a specialty directory. You can get even more specific and specialize in directories for just one kind of entertainment and one kind of venue. A Goth band would probably like to know the names of all the clubs that book goth music. Specialty directories are most useful to people that have to find new clients all the time. They’re also in demand in areas where beginners looking to become professionals are getting involved on a regular basis.

Professional directories
This is a guide of all the different people and companies involved a specific industry. A publishing directory would list everyone from agents to publishers to printers. There a convenient way for people within a niche to talk to other people they don’t know.

Business-to-business
If you produce content, you probably want to know who is out there buying it. I was amazed at how hard it was to find a single updated list of all the magic shops in the United States. I ultimately had to compile a list myself, but I would have been glad to pay for one. Look at what people in a niche might be trying to sell and create a guide of places that buy it.

Insider guides
These are guides filled with various information that relates to a niche. Someone who is a big fan of independent film might like to know where the really cool film festivals are and how to find art house and underground cinemas.

Product guides

People have some very interesting obsessions, from collecting 70’s books on disco moves to collecting Pez dispensers there’s no telling what people will be into next. Guides that list the date of manufacture of items along with photos and information including latest selling prices are of value to people who collect those sorts of things.

Although the first application of many of these guides would be in print or ebook form, they can also be used to create other media. Put in database form, they can be uploaded to a website and used as a sticky feature or something that can only be accessed by paid members. You might want to consider using that information in another form. A guide of cool travel destinations for pastry lovers might actually make an interesting video to sell to that audience if you actually go to some of those places.

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