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What It Takes

What It Takes

Ranger Up Leads the Way

By Callie Oettinger | Published: May 22, 2015

[This post ran last November. This week, Ranger Up helped share a special giveaway of The Return, a Black Irish Books title by David Danelo.  We just wanted to thank the Ranger Up team for sharing The Return — and Nick Palmisciano for sharing Ranger Up's backstory. Working with Ranger Up is always a reminder of what can be accomplished when someone fights for his passion.]

Nick Palmisciano was earning a quarter million a year when he learned he was being promoted — a promotion that would add another hundred thousand or so to his income.

The promotion announcement landed on a Friday. The following Monday he gave his notice.

“I knew that if I took that promotion, the golden handcuffs were being slapped on and Ranger Up was going to die—and I was going to spend my life working for other people doing something I really didn’t care about that much,” said Nick.

What is Ranger Up?

In Nick’s words, “Ranger Up is a content machine.”

Don’t let the t-shirts and jeans on the home page of its site fool you into thinking it’s an apparel company. Yes, there’s the clothing, but if you dig, you’ll find a full-fledged media company, leveraging its free content to move pay-walled content.

Unlike many other content providers, who are struggling to monetize their content, offering a free article here and there and then banking on the hope that readers will buy a subscription instead of site jumping to another URL where more free content is available, Ranger Up offers a seemingly endless supply of videos and images—including the original series “The Damn Few” and the “Rhino Den” blog. The content being created by Ranger Up is distinct. It isn’t available in bulk online, which means its audience is digging in its heels and sticking around for more. In turn, this content has helped them engage, retain and grow a community that pays for content, too, in the form of t-shirts and jeans and signs and other gear, rather than site jumping for its next dose of free content.

How’s that working for Ranger Up?

According to Internet Retailer, Ranger Up’s “high level of engagement is what drove $750,000 in social commerce sales for the e-retailer in 2013—as 28% of its total online sales came from shoppers who clicked to the site from social networks. The role of social networks in driving traffic is even greater: Nearly 39% of Ranger Up’s 2013 traffic stemmed from Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube . . . . That earn[ed] the merchant the No. 2 spot in this year’s Social Media 500, which ranks online retailers by the percentage of traffic they receive from social networks, a measure of how effectively they are reaching their audience via social media.”

Let’s Backtrack a Bit . . .

Posted in What It Takes

What It Takes

What It Takes

A Black Irish Satsanga

By Shawn Coyne | Published: May 15, 2015

[Join to read more of Shawn’s Stuff]

A brief post today to follow up on Steve and my Hamlet-esque Seminar contemplations…

Richard Burton as Hamlet in 1964

For those of you who took the time to fill out our survey, we are eternally grateful.  It’s no small thing today to actually think through and constructively ask yourself… What exactly is it that I want?

It’s hard enough to concentrate when the kids are fighting in the yard, the sink’s overflowing with dishes and the ledger you promised your boss is due the next morning.

And then to literally and concretely state what you want from those you think can help you get it too?  That takes guts.  A lot of ‘em.  So thank you for taking that time out of your life and giving us your attention. We won’t forget it.

Here’s the upshot: (more…)

Posted in What It Takes

What It Takes

What It Takes

Deep Sixing Permission

By Callie Oettinger | Published: May 8, 2015

How much time would you spend at the beach?

How much time do you spend at the beach?

a)    Five Minutes
b)   One Hour
c)    One Day

The question above was on a test my first grader took last week. She came home, saying that she would have picked “one hour” because she doesn’t like the beach, but that her teacher had “gone over this one a bunch because it was a hard one” and the correct answer is “one day.”

Let’s just skip over the ridiculousness of this question being on a test framed to gauge a child’s understanding of time (and the fact that the answer was coached).

There is no correct answer. It’s up to the individual answering the question.

Of all the e-mails that Steve and Black Irish Books receive each week, the most common e-mail includes life-changing questions. The writers want to change directions, to try something new. What should he or she do? Is it a good idea for him to quit his job? Should she go back to school? Will she succeed at some point even though she feels like a failure? Keep going or give it up?

Steve could share what he might do, but it isn’t what will necessarily work for someone else. That person writing to him might not like the beach as much as Steve, hence “five minutes” is a better answer than “one hour” or “one day.”

There’s also the permission piece to this. What these individuals really want is permission to move forward. (more…)

Posted in What It Takes
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