You Have Every Right To Be A Media Company
You have every opportunity to be a media company.
The secret is to stop treating every piece of communication you share with the big wide world as part of a shopping list that is crossed off when it’s done.
Here is my definition of what becoming a media company means for your business:
A media company represents the ability to deliver a consistent message to a targeted audience through a preferred channel, in order to inform, enlighten and entertain.
Anyone can create anything today. What makes you different is how you communicate and utilise your media. The barriers of entry are a fraction of what they were a few years ago. The biggest investment today is time.
Today represents providing more information than you think you need to in order for someone to make that next step, such as press that subscribe button. If people read, watch, listen, consume, associate, share then they are more open to a sales discussion.
This is something that I truly believe in and gives the opportunity to provide some clarity on a topic that resonates even more today.
You can become a media outlet and not just occasionally produce something where the whole focus is what you do. This is not about pulling out the ‘stroytelling’ buzzword but standing by something that you truly believe in and have the opportunity to transmit.
This is all about building a rhythm for what you and your business stands for. In the words of Michael Brito in ‘Your Brand The Next Media Company’, “we either influence others or are being influenced by others.”
A Media First History
I mention in The Content Revolution, that media channels have been with us since the advent of print (around 1440); the ability to record and broadcast during the late 19th century; the introduction of cinema and radio during the early 20th century; the beginning of television in the 1950; the evolution of the internet during the 1990s to the mobile era that we are all part of.
Every single one of these milestones from the media evolution represents the ability to capture the attention of an audience. Isn’t that what we are all looking for as businesses?
What represents a media channel today is to focus on a particular audience for the best results, rather than thinking you have to be the equivalent of the Radio Times and appeal to everyone who has a TV.
If you want to reach out to people, you have to find where they are to reach them.
The Latest Infinite Dial Report
The landscape is changing. Last week (March 10th) Edison Research produced their annual Infinite Dial report. This report highlights media consumption trends within the US.
What this years report validates in the strength of podcasting as a medium and the devices where they are consumed. 64% of listening is from smartphones and tablets. This is nearly 10% more than 12 months ago.
Putting things into content, by 2020 there will be 6.1 billion smartphones in circulation (and will overtake fixed line subscriptions) according to the Ericsson Mobility Report.
Whilst in the UK, the adoption and continuum of podcasts is no way near the level of the US, at least from what Ian Rhodes and myself are seeing with our Marketing Homebrew podcast. We still have a medium within its infancy within the UK. That in itself is a meteoric opportunity to grab hold of.
When I mention you have to know where your audience is to reach them, according to the Infinite Dial report, amongst 12-24 year olds, the dominance of Snapchat and Instagram highlights that it is going to become even harder to reach on social media.
Come One, Come All
You are competing with not just other businesses, but everyone. Your mum, your ex-girlfriend/boyfriend, that company that thought they could blitz it on Twitter for three months and take their foot off the peddle, everyone.
It’s ok, you don’t need to break under a cold sweat and let the saturation buzzword drown you.
Being a media company means having a central space for your key message (such as your website or blog) and then the ability to communicate a central theme through different channels. Even better, you are in control of the editorial content.
In order to build an audience the blog is a key piece of armoury. It represents what you believe in and proof that you are committed to sharing a point of view (have a read of my article that looks at the word for what you stand for).
Your blog should be seen as more than just a place for Google to find you with keywords that are related to your industry. What you create should be for people, not robots. Isn’t that what media was intended for?
Five Questions To Ask Yourself
To start building your media company, it is time to reflect and ask yourself:
- what value can you provide that people do not get elsewhere
- what will make someone open, click, listen, watch, share
- what can you focus on that can stamp your authority
- can you create a central place that stores everything you believe in?
- can you build a momentum of productivity (that you enjoy doing)
The reason I ask these five questions is that you cannot continuously smash everyone round the back of the head with the product bat and walk away.
Showing You The Proof – Jenkins & Sons
What value can you provide to your audience that appeals to them that they can share with others too?
Here is what a local bar/restaurant in my town has done by being a bit more than promoting opening bottles of wine and broccoli on a plate (see your audience’s time not yours is more important article).
Jenkins & Sons was a local butchers from the 1920s in the area of Penn Hill in Poole. Keeping with the tradition of what the space represented 100 years ago, is a video that explains everything about a steak.
See…it is more than a product message that is fired into everyone’s in-box promoting the Easter offers, it educates everything you need to know about steak.
These are the challenges for Jenkins & Sons…
- how can they now keep the momentum
- are there other angles to focus on such the history of the local area
- is video going to be the primary channel of communication
As the rhythm builds, where can the Jenkins & Sons message be seen:
- forms part of a consistent email newsletter sent to their audience that can follow the theme of heritage or even interaction (definitely not ‘we provide a fantastic dining experience’, remember it’s 2016)
- the transcript from the film can help shape an article on ‘what does a good steak mean?’ and sent to other media outlets that have a focus on ‘entertainment’ (particularly for the local area)
- the video has a key role to play on the website homepage
- the theme of heritage can be used to explain to an event audience that goes beyond a local business story
- a series of articles can be created on the heritage of the local area that can form an ebook, films or even audio
What I am trying to highlight here is not just a create once and walk away mentality. A media first company represents a responsibility to others to educate and inform and use the technology that we have to allow an accumulation of business assets that become continually relevant to an audience who want to connect.
To think like a media company you have to step out from simply creating more content because there is the belief that more means you have a greater opportunity to be found. You need to engage with your audience in a deeper way, on their terms and in the places they prefer.
We Are All The Change Is As Good As A Rest Generation
We are all part of a generation that has comfortably acknowledged that a change is as good as a rest… so lets have a rest.
The past 10 years have seen new channels become part of our everyday life. We have sat back and let it wash all over us. However, we were all-inquisitive and had to find things out for ourselves at some point in our lives (remember when long division was introduced as part of your maths lesson!).
That is what business is like today, we have to educate and nurture ourselves to move from product centric messages built on a generational belief of selling, to one where we can become more interesting to someone else. To do this, we have to figure things out for ourselves within media channels we may not necessarily have considered. As an example, just over a year ago, I had no idea how to present a podcast and talk into a microphone.
According to figures from ZenithOptimedia people spend more than 490 minutes of their day consuming some sort of media. That is more than eight hours every day you are locked into something else. That is probably more than half of your waking life.
Be A Media Company – Embrace It
Coming back to the statement at the beginning of this article, “we either influence others or are being influenced by others,” this represents a new acknowledgement. This also sits well with a new responsibility to take hold of. You can become a media company (that consistently communicates a message over a preferred channel) as well as representing a business within its marketplace. Marriott, for example, proudly state that they are a media company.
Any business that sells something can become a media company. Selling is about providing education and independent value. That is why a content marketing approach works.
Lets Round Up
The power structure has flipped. Technology and digital has switched power from corporates to consumers. The places that bonds with an audience on an emotional aspect (yes…even in B2B), can be far greater than purely product based messages.
Being a media company is about accepting a role that sits beside what a company does.
The reason you listen, read or watch something is that it compels you and you find it entertaining. Why can’t you still do that in a business context?
If you can build an audience and deliver information on a regular basis, whilst your competition is still working on the revamped version of the new company logo (or whether to use a 350gsm material for the cover of the new brochure), you are in a place of strength. Your goal is to provide continual value to someone else not self-admiration.