Brand as a media company has been discussed among the marketing community for years. I even wrote a book about it in 2013 called Your Brand: The Next Media Company.
Content is the lifeline in today’s social ecosystem, so it makes sense. But content is so much more than being creative or simply marketing. It’s more than what you write on a blog, tweet, update on Facebook, or record on a video. There is a fundamental challenge for brands today to create good content and strategically feed the content engine daily if they genuinely want to change consumer behavior. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough resources within the marketing department to do this well.
What is a media company?
A media company produces content and stories targeted toward different audiences. The content stems from long-form articles, short-form content, videos, and in many cases, live video. If you think about it, a media company operates like a traditional newsroom. They produce relevant content quickly and efficiently and have agile teams.
Brand managers and marketers must start thinking and acting more like media companies. And the question you may have is, “why”? Here are a few reasons:
- We live in a multi-screen economy. Read this report by Google. We are all consuming content using multiple devices, sometimes simultaneously.
- ADD (meaning Attention Deficit Disorder) is common among us. We can blame the multitude of devices, all the marketing messages, coffee, or a combination of all three. How many times have you walked into a restaurant and seen four people sitting at a table, all looking down at their devices and no one talking? It’s the world we live in.
- All we want is relevance. This is one reason consumers create filters – so they only consume content relevant to them at a given time. It reminds me of when I was in the market to refinance my home a few years back. During the process, I remember seeing hundreds of messages and advertisements discussing interest rates on billboards, online searches, and even conversations on Twitter and Facebook. The minute I refinanced my home, all the messages went away. The truth is, they didn’t go away. They just weren’t relevant to me any longer. I put up filters.
- The customer journey is dynamic. We check text messages, Facebook notifications, @replies, @mentions @direct messages, and comments on Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, and WordPress. We see status updates, tweets, photos, and videos and read articles from news aggregators’ RSS feeds; Google is our home page for everything and our gateway for finding relevance. And this is all done dynamically, with no routine, no process, just random acts of content consumption daily.
- We need to interact with a message 3 – 5 times before we believe it. So if your company is launching a new product or service, we need to hear or read about it in multiple touch points such as a tweet, a news article, a friend’s status update, in search and the list goes on.
Can you now see why brands need to evolve their thinking? Relevant, meaningful, timely, and a lot of content is necessary to reach consumers. And, to make matters worse … content is challenging for brands today when you consider the following:
- Content planning
- Content creation, curation, aggregation
- Content integration with paid, earned, and owned media
- Content distribution
- Content Optimization (real-time)
- Content measurement
If you look at what many companies are doing online today, you will notice disjointed content, confusing messages, and very little coordination with paid, earned, and owned media; the frequency of content is minimal, and the content engine is running low on fumes. And these are just the external things that we see. We don’t know the turmoil of what’s happening inside the organization.
This is why brands must become media companies. It’s essential for their PR strategy and the only way to stay competitive.
They are establishing a centralized team, assigning roles & responsibilities (like that of a newsroom), and building processes and protocols that brands (large and small) can take to begin this transformation.
Note: This post was originally written on Jan 21, 2013.
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