This is a subject I have been thinking about for a long time. It’s the reason I’ve been such a success. And the truth is, there is no reason to do anything other than act like a media company in today’s digital age.
It just access. Never before have brands and consumers had the ability to create and consume content at scale. Because of the iPhone, the internet and social media, anyone can produce and distribute. Just 15 years ago, if you wanted to create a commercial to promote your brand, you would need to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on media and marketing. Today, you can literally use your smartphone, record a two minute clip and run ads on Facebook. The cost of entry has dropped 100 fold.
To me, it’s all about participation. Users are agnostic to where they consume your story. But if you focus on content, and attempt to build a brand, you will win.
That’s why I think this post is so strategic.
Thinking like a media company implies two things:
Content and Distribution
There is zero excuse not to be creating content around your brand, product, service or business. If you don’t have something to say, document it. It’s the advice I give to my entire community. Create a podcast, start a blog or do a Q&A show. All of it works.
Show me your day-to-day process, interview your employees and even 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.
If you are thinking like a media company or a publisher, then you are going to start prioritizing brand. And don’t get me wrong, no amount of marketing is going to sell a s**t product. But brand is everything if you are trying to create a business of value.
The sad thing is that we’ve been growing up in a world, where for the last 70 years, every business has been selling to us with every single word out of their mouth. The reason for that is because they only had one right hook. It used to cost a lot to produce a commercial. It used to cost a lot to do a billboard. It used to cost a lot to do a radio ad.
However, now in the modern digital landscape, you can produce so much more content. You have access to volume while still maintaining quality.
This opportunity alone, has created an entirely new way of marketing to consumers. Instead of trying to sell, now you have the luxury of creating entertaining or utilitarian content as the gateway to the long term sale. This is the difference between building a brand versus being in sales.
This is the key. No sale required.
The content you produce doesn’t even need to be related to your product. You can post your favorite articles saying “these are the articles you need to read” You can post about the weather, the news, your users and even yourself! As long as you are focused on bringing value to the end consumer, you are going to build reputation and relationship.
For example, a plumbing service speaking about the Yankees game in a Facebook post isn’t going to confuse their customers into thinking they sell baseballs. But it can potentially connect a fanatic Yankees fan to use their service.
It also creates a culturally relevant piece of content that humanizes the brand and builds relationships. So not every word out of “Pat the Plumber’s” mouth is about 50 percent off sink repairs.
Lastly, it provides a real and simple way for anyone, anywhere to begin creating content organically and easily for their product, service, business or brand.
However, this is also where people sometimes underestimate distribution. Content is not always enough. Everyone can create something interesting, but if no one ever sees it, it becomes irrelevant.
There are really only two ways. Hacking culture and buying ads.
The latter is simple. Deploy $100 against your content on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or Google and you will attain reach. Now there’s no guarantee that people will follow you or buy your product but it’s 100 percent guaranteed that someone will see it.
You can target a specific audience by age, geography, likes and more. The possibilities are basically endless.
Facebook targeting. That’s really it. You can literally put your business address, run a radius around it, and everybody in the 07081 zip code or the 08802 — Asbury, New Jersey 😉 will see it in their feed. It’s a piece of cake.
The second and much more difficult way is hacking culture. A lot of you don’t know what this means so let me explain.
Dissecting the zeitgeist and understanding what is truly relevant in culture is a unique talent that creates a tremendous opportunity. I am going to do a much longer post on this topic soon but here is the essence.
How can you attain consumer attention? Who in your space is relevant and potentially interested in promoting your brand? How can you foster that relationship to help your business grow?
The biggest piece of advice I can give is to explore influencers.
Message every single individual with more than 500 followers in your area and attempt to provide value.
If you are a restaurant offer food. If you are a clothing startup offer a t-shirt. If you are plumbing service offer a free check-up.
Send 5000 DM’s, and learn how to network on social media.
Reach out, collaborate, connect and provide value. In return they might promote your brand, bringing awareness to your product, service or business.
One shout out from one influencer could be just as valuable as all of the money you spend on ads. It’s just distribution.
The problem is, it’s much harder to do. No influencer is going to shout out your product for free unless it’s really good. It’s about reframing consumer attention. It’s all about providing value. These are the tools and tactics that can help. It’s the number one opportunity of this generation. I just think you should all be doing it.
If you don’t start thinking like a media company and prioritizing brand along with content, you are going to lose. This is the way the world works. This is where the attention currently is. Content is the cost of entry. If you want it, and you are building something you hope others will use, then this is the article for you.