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You Say You Want to be a Media Company

Many companies say they are different because they are a true media company on the Internet or that they aspire to be a true media company. But what does that really mean?

Content Suggestions

  • Understand that we are in a 2+ screen world, where people are watching their TV or a Netflix video, while texting with their iPhone (and in some cases, even working with their laptop).
  • Relinquish control, which means join your fans on other social networks and platforms (this sounds obvious, but most people still want to bring their fans home to their site).
  • Identify your relevant fans and tribes: Where they spend their time? How they speak about your products and your competitors’ products? Who are the leaders? How do they help each other out?
  • Know that your work is never done, meaning that once you post something it is part of an ongoing story (you can add more later on).
  • Go beyond text and incorporate video, photos and more.
  • Wear multiple hats: Curator, Editor, Organizer (inviting guests to participate) and Host (invite your users to contribute to your site and find out what they need for their own site).
  • Establish brand, tone, etc. consistency across multiple channels (iPad, Web, etc.)
  • Interact face-to-face, such as in Google Hangout’s NFL Fantasy Football forum!
  • Turn each commenter into editor by encouraging them to contribute to the discussion.
  • Concentrate editorial content on “people” — their stories, their lives, etc.

Questions to Keep in Mind

Paid Content came out with a list of the most successful media companies that included Twitter, Amazon, Gawker, BuzzFeed and the Guardian, but here are some questions I have:

  • Is Amazon creating any of its own content or successfully curating third party content (yet)? I know they are working on this.
  • Is Twitter doing real “content programming” or generating real ad revenue?
  • Is the Guardian turning a profit? (This would be important for a successful company : )

Organizational Requirements

Finally, companies need to have the kind of organization that:

  • Makes quick decisions and does not get bogged down in office politics or in over analyzing the right approach (I always liked it when my former boss said, if you are 65 percent sure something is the right decision, then go for it and implement it).
  • Scores their decisions and determine how well they make them, how fast they make them and what’s entailed (What resources are involved?).
  • Provide clarity on whom they are targeting, what the offer is and why you are offering it (and continue to refine over time).
  • Building a learning environment which is one of the key things people are looking for these days. I always believe in the “Learn, Teach, Learn” approach which requires an individual to teach something they recently learned to others.

What does it mean to you to be a media company? What is entailed? Which businesses qualify?

For me, the definition would have to be a company that produces or curates content and distributes that information on two or more screens. It also entails thinking holistically about your content strategy, knowing that it is not just words on a page, but rather the look and feel, the taxonomy of the site, the tone and voice of the site and how all of this is shared via multiple channels and platforms.

Oh yeah, you are probably asking, “OK, Wilder, who is a successful media company?"

One company that comes to mind is Bloomberg LP (and I am not just saying this because I am a native New Yorker : ).  It meets all the criteria I list above. For a great article on Bloomberg, check out what the New York Magazine recently had to say about them.

Editor's Note: Interested in reading more by Scott? Then check out Don't Learn Social Media on the Fly

About the Author

Scott K. Wilder runs Wildervoices, a media company that focuses on The Future of Work and is a founding partner and digital strategist at Human 1.0, a customer focused business consulting firm. Before Human 1.0, he created the award winning Intuit Small Business Community. Scott has been using interactive media since the early 1980s and on the Internet since 1991.

 
 
 
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