I’ve been hearing a lot about companies being media companies today from Gary Vaynerchuk.
In fact, when I search his name plus the topic there are three blog posts:
- Every Single One Of You Is A Media Company
- Having A Media Company Mentality
- Every Company Is A Media Company
While listening to Gary talk about it recently it stuck in my head that I had heard the concept before. And it was nothing against Gary or anything like that. He’s not taking credit for the concept.
I did some thinking and realized that it was Adam Singer that talked about the concept at least in terms of when I first heard it:
The basic idea from both of these two experts is that marketing is about attention. It’s about creating content to earn the attention of your target customer.
Sales vs. Non-Sales Content
I think a major key factor here is the concept of sales content vs. non-sales content. I’m a big believer in how Chet Holmes views the sales world. He believes that people are only in buying mode about 3% of the time.
But look at most content that businesses produce and you’ll find that it focuses on that 3%. This leaves the other 97% of people’s attention to other content creators.
That’s why the shift of being a business first to being media company first is important. As a media company you can earn attention. As a business second you can then leverage that attention to sell.
The question you might have now is how does a business become a media company?
I’m glad you asked…
Step 1. Mental Shift
This is the big one. If you’re not on board with the concept then the rest of the steps won’t really matter.
And I totally understand the struggle. When you’re used to selling, selling and selling it’s difficult to focus on creating, creating and creating.
Creating content is about attention. It’s about gaining attention for the content, but also for your brand. Then using that attention around your brand to sell whatever it is you sell to your audience.
As Gary and Adam have said, this is not new. Content marketing is not new. Branding and brand awareness are not new.
What has changed is that the barriers to entry to creating content have dropped to basically nothing. That means that anybody can fight for attention. But because of that it’s getting more difficult to buy the attention of people. People don’t like advertising. They don’t like paying a lot for content.
They’ll put up with both, but only to a certain point. If there is too much advertising it makes sense to consume content that is nearly as good, but with little advertising.
That’s what you’re fighting for and that comes from creating content and acting like a media company.
Step 2. Medium
Now we’ll get into determining what kind of media company you’re going to be. I like to start with the medium. There are basically three:
Gary V. from above is a big believer in the future of audio. But he obviously also invests in both video and text.
What I find with medium is that it depends on what you prefer as the creator. If you’re a small business you’re probably going to be the one creating the content. It’s up to you to determine what content you’re more likely to create.
A simple test is to consider what type of content you create for free. Do you post text on Facebook or do you publish videos? Do you use Twitter or do you use Snapchat?
Identify the medium you’re most likely to use and go all in. From there you can determine if it makes sense to also invest in the other mediums likely by bringing in additional resources.
Step 3. Type Of Content
Next is the type of content you’re going to create. And by this I mean basically content that accomplishes of one of two things:
That’s really what content breaks down to. You’re either entertaining people or educating them. In a few rare cases content creators are able to do both. It’s not that it’s not possible to do both at the same time, but I think it’s difficult.
Both are ok. You can do both.
Let’s say you want to invest in audio. You can have one podcast that is about entertainment. Stories, funny gags or even fiction. And then on the other side you could have a how-to podcast or a podcast where you answer questions.
Step 4. Voice & Style
The key here I believe is to do what makes you feel comfortable and what makes you feel good. You don’t need to be the next Gary Vaynerchuk with your personality. You don’t need to a YouTube vlogger with an outlandish style.
The key is to be yourself. There are plenty of successful media personalities that didn’t have the classic mold of a media personality. But they were just themselves and people bought into those styles.
Ira Glass is one of the most famous voices in the radio and audio world. You could argue that his style is pretty bland…at last on the surface. But people love it and I see why. He embraces his style.
Step 5. Quantity Over Quality
This one might throw you off, but it’s a big hangup I see with companies that switch to the media company mentality.
When it comes to creating content it’s very important to publish and to publish often.
You’ll hear just about everyone else talk about quality over quantity. And I totally believe that, but the trap is believing that you can skip right to quality.
Quality is a byproduct of quantity. The more you create. The more you publish. The more you’ll learn. The better you’ll get. The more you’ll see what works and what doesn’t.
I’m not saying just create bad content for the sake of creating content. I’m saying that your initial content will probably be bad. But you have to work through that to get to a place of quality.
Are you ready to make the switch to becoming a media company? It’s not easy. I get it. You’re basically switching to focusing on the attention of people. The 97% of the time that they’re not looking to buy. You’re building a relationship with them so that when they are in buying mode that they think of you.