Cartoonist Hugh Macleod Gets To CwF+RtB In His Own Way
from the gaping-void dept
Hugh Macleod has done a good job of building “cartoons drawn on the back of business cards” into a nice business for himself. He explains the secrets of his success in his post, “the three keys to social marketing” in which he states:
1. Figure out what your gift is, and give it to them on a regular basis.
2. Make sure it’s received as a real gift, not as an advertising message
3. Then figure out exactly what it is that your trail of breadcrumbs leads back to.
#1 and #2 are his version of “CwF” and the essence of “RtB” is captured by #3. Macleod considers his style of business a gift economy:
They put stuff out there, as gifts. Great content, great ideas, great insights, great personal connection. By giving so much of themselves, for free, every day, they build up huge surpluses of goodwill, so when you’re finally in the market for something they’re selling (and they’re ALL selling something, trust me), they’re first on your list.
However, what Macleod describes is not really a true gift economy, since, as an explicit part of his so-called gift economy, there is an expectation that some selling will occur. There is a key difference between a “gift” and giving something away for free. Since, in a true gift economy, there is no expectation that the gifter will ever be reciprocated for their gift. Instead, there is just the hope that “what goes around comes around” and someone else will eventually give them something that they need. “Give it away and pray” is not really a good business model.
That said, he’s doing many things right. Macleod uses his blog and social media to connect with his fans and distribute them his brand of daily cartoons (although in my experience, his site could stand to make his cartoons a little more accessible — he would be well served to make them more searchable, and easier to embed). Then, he gives them good reasons to buy by selling limited edition prints, books, custom commissions and even his own brand of wine, Stormhoek. Added all up, this allows Macleod to make a seemingly nice living, which is great. So, what Macleod is describing, in his own words, is really Mike’s CwF+RtB concept, which brings up another great point. While we do a lot of discussion here on how CwF+RtB works well for musicians, it’s important to note that it’s not just for the music industry — it works for anyone that is doing a good job connecting with fans.