OpenSky and Influencer

“I receive thousands of emails each month, many from strangers asking what kind of knives they should buy or where can they get this or that product I’ve mentioned in a post.  Now there is a way for me to connect with those people on a broader scale and to recommend all kinds of products that I personally love.  Just last week, a reader of my books and blog wrote to me saying she had had enough worrying over E coli and wanted to start grinding her own meat.  She doesn’t have a standing mixer so I sent her to the grinder I recommend on Open Sky.”       

–bestselling author Michael Ruhlman, The Making of a Chef and Ratio, among many others

What is OpenSky? OpenSky is a new commerce platform that enables authors, bloggers, media personalities, and media brands and publishers to establish direct customer relationships with their audience networks.  These influencers are able to hand-select products and services related to their area of influence and expertise that they love and recommend and offer them to their audiences via their blogs, websites, newsletters, Twitter stream, Facebook pages, or public visibility. 

For authors, OpenSky can be the ultimate independent business and brand-building platform and a major opportunity in building their career, especially in the changing marketplace for their work.  As the world moves to digital distribution, it’s even more important than ever for authors to consolidate their own brand hub and power base to gather their own fans.  These fans are what will give them independence and power in bringing their work to the world.  OpenSky gives authors, bloggers and brands the ability to create their own brand enterprises in a way that has never before been available to them.

I’m an Author/Blogger–What Do I Have to Do? Authors and Blogger do not “have” to do anything.  For those who choose to make the commitment, OpenSky is an empowering platform available to thos who see its potential in building their brands and consolidating their fan base, but is not for everyone.  Adding OpenSky to your brand hub means choosing to set up and curate your list of products, thinking hard about what your audience looks to you for and figuring out how to add value to what you are bringing them through exclusive experiences, determining how you will communicate to your audience about your products, and committing to do so on a regular basis.  At its best, these commitments result in even more devoted fans and more value created for your work. 

OpenSky is for authors and bloggers who see the value of this opportunity and seize it to build their own enterprise with and for their audience base. 

There are many ways authors and bloggers can sell products through OpenSky, and the opportunities are wide open for additional kinds of products and services.  Any of the services mentioned for publishers in the next paragraph are also possibilities for individual authors.

I’m a Publisher–What are the Opportunities? OpenSky represents a major opportunity for publishers as the marketplace shifts.  Although the company is still very young, its aggressive growth plans call for it to be a major player in the distribution of unique goods via trusted influencers.  Trusted influencers, of course, are authors, bloggers and publishers. 

One of OpenSky’s distinctive characteristics is that the influencers–the authors, bloggers, and publishers, can add unique value to a purchase via an “exclusive experience.”  Exclusive experiences are anything that brings an even more personal connection, between the seller and the buyer, to the purchase.  Some examples of the way goods can be sold are as follows:

*   A Book and Its Products:  Publishers can merchandise direct sales of books (via OpenSky) with the products mentioned in the book.  For cookbooks, it can be equipment or exotic ingredients mentioned.  For a health book, it can be supplements and a piece of exercise equipment.  If you purchase the bundle, you could also receive an exclusive additional video from the author.

*  Book Club Special or Monthly Book Club subscription:  Publishers can create special bundles for book clubs that come with exclusive content from the author or access to the author.

*  Signed Books

*  Gift Baskets:  A selection of themed books and products

*  Author/Blogger Experiences:  Publishers can sell events plus books and products, online webinars, etc.

*  The possibilities for what can be sold are limited only by our imaginations–bring a new idea to OpenSky and let’s create something great that no one has seen before.

How Do I Make Money?

OpenSky splits the net profit from each sale with authors, bloggers and/or publishers 50/50.  OpenSky only makes money when the autho, blogger or publisher makes money.

How Do I Get Products? With OpenSky, sellers don’t need to hold inventory, source products, or handle customer service.  OpenSky is building an enormous product directory of sourced suppliers that sellers can choose from in any category.  Sellers can also request special products, and OpenSky will source them for you (and if you have a relationship with a particular supplier–just let us know and we will set them up in our system).  We also have a buyer program for certain sellers to work with in specific categories.

The key for a product to work with OpenSky is the ability of the supplier to drop-ship it (meaning send it directly from their warehouse to the customer).  OpenSky has already sourced thousands and thousands of goods in hundreds of categories.

What Does OpenSky Do to Promote Me? As OpenSky grows, we are creating more and more ways to drive audience to your brand and your products.  Right now, we have Twitter promotion support and are building direct marketing tools.  We will work with publishers on events and promotion, and will focus the attention of the press on our sellers and their content and products. 

Written by Mary Ann Naples VP Development, OpenSky…

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