How To Think Like A Media Company (For anyone... for real)
Updated: Dec 17, 2021
The top digital marketers in the world say to “think like a media company”.
I started creating media and content distribution channels in 2015. I bought, grew, and sold social media accounts on Twitter. In 2016, I had a reach of over 100M organic impressions on a single Twitter account.
At my early age of 16, I quickly saw the power of owning distribution on the internet and how the internet changed content forever (more on that later).
Looking Back To The Early Broadcasting Days
In the 1960s, there were three different TV channels you could broadcast - ABC, CBS, and NBC (PBS didn’t come around till the 70s). Consumers were so limited in content channels that they could enjoy.
Now fast forward from the 60s some 25 years to the early 90s. Cable and satellite television were in their youth, large stations WGN, WTBS and WOR were available almost everywhere, and ESPN, HBO, TNT, and CNN were racking-up their growing viewer totals. With advancing technology at their disposal, consumers were able to access dozens of channels at the click of a button.
Now let’s flash forward another 25 years.
The race to 500 Billion Channels.
With the explosive growth of technology over the past 25+ years (especially the creation of the Internet and the so-called Mobile Internet), has made today’s world a very different place.
The way consumers are entertained and educated has completely changed.
For example, there are over 4.75 billion mobile phones in use today, including over 2 billion smartphones, most of which possess supercomputer-like capabilities that can be used to create (and transmit) professional-quality recordings and content in moments.
And yes, each of these devices is, in fact, a broadcasting device (or channel) used to share audiovisual content on a one-to-one or one-to-many basis.
In other words, that’s over 4.75 billion Broadcast Channels alone just from mobile phones.
Then comes along the transformative emergence and explosive growth of the Social Media networks, platforms, services and apps of the last decade.
Facebook: Over 1.9 billion accounts (channels)
WhatsApp: Over 1.0 billion accounts (channels)
Facebook Messenger: Over 1.0 billion accounts (channels)
WeChat (China-based messaging platform): Over 885 million accounts (channels)
Instagram: Over 600 million accounts (channels)
LinkedIn: Over 465 million accounts (channels)
There’s thousands of other social services in use today with new ones being launched daily. And that’s without including YouTube with its over 1 billion Broadcast Channels.
Not only has technology made it easier for people to consume content, it has also made it easier to create, share, and distribute content.
How Much Content is Being Shared: By The Numbers
On average, Google now processes more than 40,000 searches EVERY second (3.5 billion searches per day)!
Our current love affair with social media certainly fuels data creation. According to Domo’s Data Never Sleeps 5.0 report, these are numbers generated every minute of the day:
Snapchat users share 527,760 photos
More than 120 professionals join LinkedIn
Users watch 4,146,600 YouTube videos
456,000 tweets are sent on Twitter
Instagram users post 46,740 photos
We send 16 million text messages
There are 990,000 Tinder swipes
156 million emails are sent; worldwide it is expected that there will be 9 billion email users by 2022
15,000 GIFs are sent via Facebook messenger
The data is clear. The internet has dominated where our attention goes. So instead of asking people to come to us, we should meet them where they are. On their phones.
So meet people where they are and give them what they want. Brands fail doing this by meeting people where they are (on the internet) but they interrupt them with annoying ads and irrelevant content.
Brands need to stop interrupting what people are interested in and be what people are interested in.
Don’t Let Your Message Get Lost In The Noise - Think Like A Media Company
Media companies traditionally own their distribution via their TV stations and channels. This allowed them constant contact and interaction with their audiences. They owned their ability to share stories to their audience. They could choose when people watched their content (tv shows, news, and movies) by telling TV watchers when their show or movie was “on” tv. TV watchers would come back to the TV at that time to watch the content.
With the mainstream adoption of the internet, internet users have the ability to share a story or a message at a rate faster than ever before, at a cost cheaper than ever before, and at a volume where before the internet, you would have to be a leader of a country to hit similar numbers.
And simultaneously, consumers who previously spent all their time watching TV are now scrolling on social media.
There are ZERO excuses not to be creating content around your brand, your product, your service or your business. If you don’t have something to say, document. At the end of the day, branding is about documenting who you are, what you do, and why you do it. Create a podcast, start a blog, do a Q&A show. Try one of these and see what sticks.
Thinking like a media company implies two things. Content and Distribution.
You might enjoy: How To Start a Podcast (For Under $100)
Show me your day-to-day process, interview your employees, interview your mom. Create a selfie on Instagram. Write three sentences about the news in your industry. Share and re-share other’s posts. All you have to do is start.
The content you produce doesn’t have to be directly related to your product or business.You can post your favorite articles saying “these are the articles you need to read”. You can post about the weather, trends, the news, your users, yourself! As long as you are focused on bringing value to the end consumer, you are going to build reputation and relationship.
For example, an HVAC company speaking about the Yankees game in a Facebook post isn’t going to confuse their customers into thinking they sell baseballs. But what it does, is it potentially connects a fanatic Yankees fan to use their service.
A local small pizza shop can create a 60-second weekly video show where they interview random people in their town about their favorite pizza and why. They won’t lose customers if the video subjects talk about other pizza shops. The pizza shop creating this content is dominating the conversation around local pizza with their social media show.
If you are thinking like a media company and or a publisher, then you are going to start prioritizing brand.
But you can’t just think about interacting with your audience on social media. Social media profiles are like TV channels. Each with their own personality, unique content, and characters. Instead of just a few hundred TV channels, there are 4.48 billion people actively using social media in the world. So you have to think deeper on how to break through the noise and not let your message be lost.
Create distribution off social media. Build an audience on YouTube where your SEO value will grow continuously over time (YouTube is technically now a social media network). Launch a podcast with RSS feed syndication. Create an email newsletter where you can escape chasing algorithm hacks and share content directly to your raving fans. Create an audience first property with a community like Discord, Twitch, Slack, or Telegram.
Many media companies are struggling to generate sustainable revenue and brand relevance. This is because they have remained comfortable with their distribution via TV channel and TV stations. Times have changed. Use social media and drive your raving fans to a platform where you control your ability to share a message.
“There is no reason to do anything other than act like a media company in today’s digital age.” - Gary Vaynerchuck
You don't think you should build your brand? I agree. Here's my thoughts on why you shouldn't build your personal brand.
Make sure especially that you aren’t only building an audience on one social media platform. You become too dependent on what that social media platform can do for you.
Read my blog on diversifying your channels for more on channel dependency.
This is the first edition of my Rocket Fuel newsletter. My goal is to help business professionals and creators scale their brand by adding rocket fuel to their content strategy.
Own your corner of the web.
I'll be writing about the future of the internet, brands, digital marketing, and the creator economy. Stay tuned for more.
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