What Does It Mean To Be A Media Company?
Being committed to building and sharing your message continually, encourages others to join you and helps you grow.
The term, thinking or being ‘like a media company’ is often heard but what does it actually mean in practice?
For a small business, being ‘like a media company’ is where you communicate your message to your subscribers who, over time, become familiar and comfortable with you via a medium on which you are consistently present.
If you want to build relationships whilst acknowledging that you are competing with others in your marketplace then thinking and behaving like a media company is what can set you apart.
This article is going to look at what you need to do today to commit to this ‘media company’ approach and the elements you need to be thinking about to make it work.
Why Does This Matter Today?
It is becoming ever more pertinent to get people to your side and the ‘being a media company’ mantra has relevance for us all because:
🕐 Since Spring 2020 everyone has been ramping up their messaging efforts in order to stay afloat
🕐 Our lives have become so unpredictable that it can be tricky for company messages to hit home
🕐 If people feel some attachment to you beyond the transactional, they are more likely to stay (and help spread the word by telling others)
A Media Company Explanation
At September’s YATM Online Lunch our main guest, Joe Pulizzi, was asked to explain what being a media company means.
Watch Joe’s answer in which he explains how it’s all about the revenue that comes in direct from the content that’s produced, i.e your content efforts become an income generator and profit centre in their own right.
A media company mentality is where you have a space you can bring people back to time and time again. People may also be learning something new, so there is also familiarity with the overall purpose that you serve for them For you, you have control and the ability to show up regularly with your point of view. Imagine you are the publisher of your own magazine as well as being the paperboy!
When you look at your efforts as a media company, you have a central space (I like the idea of giving your work an alias, read about that here) from which you then distribute your work.
Many people use social media as a means by which to promote their business, not thinking of it as a channel through which to augment their messages.
Instead of taking this social media-focused, indiscriminate, scattergun approach, when you behave like a media company you craft messages that draw the attention of the right people back to you. For instance, subscriber growth, drawing people to subscribe to the weekly YATM email is one of my main objectives.
Why Is This Relevant For You?
Taking a media company approach means you can attract market share away from those who are deliberating, fine-tuning and spending far too long attempting to craft the perfect piece of content.
Sticking by your commitment to the approach though can be one of your biggest challenges.
It won’t help you if you decide to commit to a series of blog articles or release a handful of podcasts, call it a series and then walk away. You have to persist, showing up consistently if your objective is focused on building an audience. Whilst you can repurpose i.e. breaking down an overall message into lots of different strands for sharing, you still need to be present and convince people that you are going to be a good fit for them.
You let everyone, including yourself, down when you’re not constantly cultivating your patch and when your last piece of work was produced four months ago.
Why Is It Important To You?
Over time your content efforts can become a means of attracting others and generating revenue. For instance, You Are The Media started as a weekly email and now it encompasses a host of different strands, i.e. the podcast, the workshops, the conference and online events, with some of these having a cost attached to them which is paid by attendees and participants.
It is entirely possible to monetise your content, but what do you need to consider to make it work?
The following are elements which are essential if you’re to take a ‘media company’ approach on board successfully:
1 — Message
It goes without saying that your message connects everything from the role you play to the rapport you form with others. It becomes your introduction to the new people you meet and the ongoing dialogue you deliver.
Think and recognise what approach is going to define you and your business? Can you be genuinely useful, can you take a stand, can you put your own slant on your industry, can you enliven the debate and entertain?
People don’t want generic, recycled wisdom. Going forward, loyalty and trust are earned by the people and businesses that are prepared to tell stories their own way, scars and all.
Your message is a way to empower others, practice humility and have your audience recognise and acknowledge that you’re there for them.
THE MEDIA COMPANY STAMP – You build an engaged, loyal audience around yourself and your company (or alias) when you develop an approach / message that is genuinely your own – it can be done.
2 — Place
Far too often, businesses create good content and then don’t do anything with it. It just sits there when it’s published with a handful of social posts that disappear after 48 hours. When your content doesn’t connect or align with something that’s going on continually and consistently, and so isn’t used to drive revenue, it’s a lost opportunity, not to mention, exhausting to produce.
You need to find a place that you control that you can bring people to and where you can engage with them. From my side, everything springs from my blog and the ecosystem it spearheads. The effort is then extended into other mediums and social media becomes a distribution channel.
One thing to remember is that your message has to live within a space that your audience is willing to spend time on. If the majority of your audience is moving away from Facebook, then creating a Facebook Group perhaps isn’t the answer.
If your audience doesn’t warm to deep and meaningful hour-long podcasts or videos, then it can become a waste of time and money.
THE MEDIA COMPANY STAMP – Build your audience around your medium. You do not need to be everywhere. My staple has been my blog and the weekly YATM email.
3 — Relevance
Taking on board a media company attitude means you deliver to the right people, not to everybody.
When you start to tune into your audience, you deliver what they want and your message becomes of relevance to them. For instance, this particular topic on being a ‘media company’ is already much documented but what you’re reading here is focused on a specific ‘how-to’ related to You Are The Media.
When you find your minimal viable audience (a term from Seth Godin) you have to continue to deliver value within it. You build your authority by being relevant not just chasing ephemeral likes and views. What starts as a gradual process ends up generating its own momentum.
THE MEDIA COMPANY STAMP – Create work that means something, work that represents your thinking and is of value to your audience – this is what encourages loyalty.
4 — Speed
You can’t sit on your work, you have to create and distribute/share. The ability to find this sort of tempo is what will distinguish the winners as we dig our way out of the pandemic meteor crater.
Spending an overly long time creating an introspective business video with high production values poses risks, particularly in the fast-changing situation we all find ourselves in these days.
Finding your rhythm with, say, short videos on industry-related topics where you engage with others rather than simply trying to sell them something. You can answer the questions clients ask and even bring in clients to help answer those questions in a live space. This is more likely to score a home run. The future is going to reward those who show up continuously and are inclusive.
This ability to be nimble, create and distribute can also support your repurposing efforts. For instance, one short video can become an article, social posts and quoted images. You will be five steps ahead of the company that is about to press publish on their grand piece of work, but with zero audience in front of them, apart from a bunfight for attention on the LinkedIn timeline.
THE MEDIA COMPANY STAMP – Show up consistently, coming up with new ways of looking at and answering industry/sector-wide issues that has momentum behind it.
Taking a media company approach means that the message you create and share becomes the focus of attention.
It’s this that brings your audience over to your side in the first instance and then builds your relationship with them. The product or service you sell benefits from this but isn’t your overt, primary focus. In the same way, your search stats may also improve but chasing Google rankings for their own sake should never be your sole objective
When your audience trusts you and you become a valuable part of their day or week or month, it becomes easier for them to buy from you. Taking a customer-first approach and thinking like a media company brings about this shift – you fully understand how you help them ahead of how they can help you make a sale.