Going back to your homebase – Freelance Planning

Last time I used the analogy to Halo to describe how you need to adjust your tactics based on the map (environment).

Today I’m going one step further to talk about your homebase.

But let’s break away from that analogy.

What I call your homebase, some people call your platform. Others call it your hub.

They all mean the same thing:

The one place where all of your youness ends up

Your website. Your blog.

Sure you might use Twitter everyday, post to Instagram every few hours, or upload videos to Youtube every Wednesday.

But all of those should tie back into your homebase.

You see, any third party service can shutdown or change their terms of service at any time. If you rely heavily on them, then you’ve lost a huge asset in your business.

People who had built up large followings on MySpace or Posterous are now starting over.

Even Facebook is trying to squeeze out some extra revenue from its top users. I know of a few people, one with six-figures of fans, who are rushing to migrate their fans off of Facebook as quickly as possible before the hammer falls.

Instead, by building up your homebase and using that as your central point, you get to control everything. You get to keep in contact with your fans and clients. You get to have the interactions that they want. And you can move all of your data someplace else if you want to.

You’re not trapped or locked into someone else’s system.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t use Facebook or Twitter or anything else. Those services can be beneficial to you and your growth.

Rather, I’m saying that you should be careful what you create exclusively on those sites.

If something is going to have a lot of value, it’s better to create it at your homebase and then distribute it to the other sites. That way, worst case you have your version that you’ll point people to.

I started doing this myself. Twitter started screwing around with its terms of service and made it harder to send data out of Twitter. I used to have mine set up so my Tweets were sent to Facebook and also backed up to Dropbox. I felt fine writing content on Twitter because I knew that the content would still be accessible.

But with the TOS changes, I couldn’t send my writing out from Twitter anymore (they’ve since re-opened a little but I’m hesitant to rely on them anymore). So I changed my process.

Instead of writing directly in Twitter, I write to a WordPress powered thumblog. All of the posts are under the 140 character limit for Twitter. Then each post is sent to Twitter and Facebook directly.

The net effect is the same. My short writing shows up on Twitter, Facebook, and I have a copy for myself. But now I have a homebase that has a complete archive of my original tweets.

If Twitter decides to close down, my homebase is still there and I can switch to using whatever new service pops up.

As you dig into different marketing tactics, especially if you’re using other platforms or services, make sure to ask yourself these questions:

  1. Does it make sense to give this content exclusively to one platform?
  2. If so, am I taking advantage of the unique features of this platform?
  3. Could I put this on my homebase and point people back to that version as the permanent archive?

Soon I’ll write about how you can better take advantage of other sites and services to grow your homebase

Eric Davis

P.S. I still will write directly on Twitter for Twitter-exclusive things (point 3 above). The best example is replying to comments. You can’t really do that off of Twitter so I’m okay with that. But if a reply gives me a new insight or thought, I’ll put that on my homebase too.