When Avengers: Infinity War hit theaters in April 2018, it enjoyed the largest opening weekend of all-time with an estimated $630 million at the box office. This movie, which really just sets up the next Avengers movie, represents the culmination of a decade of world-building with the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
The world has seen countless superhero movies before, surely, and it’s no stranger to sequels, prequels and side stories either. But nothing has ever been attempted at quite this kind of scale and it doesn’t look like the MCU is going to slow down any time soon. They’re already planning out the next several years of movies and we have no reason to believe the success won’t continue to build upon even more success.
You may not have a media juggernaut with mouse ears bankrolling your venture, but you can take home several key lessons from the Marvel Cinematic Universe in terms of how best to approach your online business.
Building Toward Something Bigger
Leading up to Avengers: Infinity War, there were a total of 18 movies (not including the television shows) in the Marvel Cinematic Universe spanning 2008 to 2018. That’s a lot of content. What we may not have realized in the early days of the MCU is just how ambitious of a project this really was and how big it was really going to become.
But what we’ve come to learn is just how each of these films contributed in some way to the overall world building of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. They were all working toward something that was bigger than themselves, all fitting into a much grander scheme. The big picture, as it were.
In your blogging business, you’ll find that you’ll also need to juggle a great number of moving parts and each of these parts must also contribute to a bigger picture. Each component has its own identity, just like the characters and movies in the MCU, but they’re all working toward a single over-arching vision. You may have multiple categories on your blog. You may have a YouTube channel, an email newsletter, an online course, an ebook, a membership site, a Facebook page, an Instagram profile and so much more going on.
Each element must be optimized for its specific purpose, but they must also all align toward a common vision and overall objective.
Each Piece Must Be Able to Stand Alone
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is rather audacious in that it assumes and expects that all fans of the movies will have already enjoyed all the other movies that came before the current one. They’re not going to explain to you why Groot is the way that he is in Infinity War, because they’ll assume you’ve already watched both Guardians of the Galaxy movies. They don’t have to explain why Captain America and Iron Man aren’t on speaking terms, because they assume you’ve already watched Civil War.
Even so, these films must all achieve a rather delicate balance. They want to leverage these intricate interconnections so that die hard fans can extract the greatest enjoyment from the current offering. At the same time, the new movie must be enjoyable in and of itself, even if someone who is watching it isn’t 100 percent up to speed. There needs to be enough there that everyone can have a good time and, if they’re not all caught up, watching the movie will motivate them to catch up.
The content that you produce for your blog and on your other channels needs to operate in much the same way. Each piece of content needs to be able to stand alone, offering great value (education, entertainment, or otherwise) to the reader or viewer. At the same time, it should build upon and expand upon what you’ve already produced in the past. When someone new stumbles across your content, they should feel welcome, not totally lost, and then they should be encouraged to dive into your archives for more.
And when they do, they’ll get pulled deeper and deeper into your universe.
Assemble Your Dream Team
Perhaps the biggest lesson bloggers can take home from the MCU is that you cannot do it alone. In an effort to take down Thanos in Infinity War, heroes from all across the galaxy (and beyond) assembled and united under that single purpose. They don’t always see eye to eye and they don’t always agree on everything (and some of them don’t even know one another), but they’re all working together.
You may think that you want to go it alone in your blogging journey, because you value the sense of ownership and self-direction of being your own boss. I get that. I really do. But you can’t do it alone. You have to recognize that your fellow bloggers, for instance, are your colleagues and not your competitors. You have to leverage the skills and expertise of professionals whose talents complement your own.
There is no “i” in team, but there is in “victory” and “profit.” Let’s go kick some Mad Titan butt.