Scaling business owners face a race for attention in this increasingly ‘noisy’ world. And standing out to the people who matter is only getting harder.
Even with the democratisation of the internet, an overwhelming proliferation of mediums, channels, technologies and advice has led many to confusion or even paralysis in the wake of unfulfilled promises; it’s all about email, it’s all about SEO, oh, they’re dead.
So it’s all about content marketing, right? Content saturation!
But it’s never about just one thing or another; it’s always been ‘in the mix’ — the right mix for your audience.A business has to turn up for the right person, with the right experience, at the right time to be seen and heard today.
We have to focus on the interests, fears and aspirations of the people who matter most. If we are not seen, heard or even noticed at the point where key people are searching for answers or insights to their challenges, problems or opportunities, then we are not in the conversation at all and risk being ignored.
Stop marketing and start publishing
Here is the opportunity - to become the media at the heart of your market - the media your customers find when they want to inform and educate themselves. The media they follow when they want to stay ahead of the curve. The media that they grow to trust and respect because it ‘talks their language’, it understands their perspective and it focuses on important issues.
We need to stop marketing and start publishing.
Consider your marketing from your prospect’s perspective; nobody likes being marketed at or sold to - not unless it’s on their terms. Everyone (well, most people) on the other hand, consumes media.
The difference is the perception of value, of permission, of choice.
We choose to spend time with our chosen media because it doesn’t feel like we are being sold to and because we have come to trust the content, because we relate to the medium.
Think inch-wide mile-deep
Think ‘inch wide mile deep’ and discover an opportunity that doesn’t exist in traditional media (publishers need large audiences to realise value from subscriptions and advertisers). Create and repurpose content that is more focused, relevant and vital for your ideal customer. Not such a large broad audience! Think ‘inch wide mile deep’, become the media and own your route to market.
Why listen to me?
I’ve been creating content and building audiences for more than 35 years. I once sold over a quarter of a million records (a while ago now) and learnt the hard way what it meant to lose that audience.
Then I spent 20 years in B2B publishing and learnt how to keep and grow an audience. I came to believe that making clients the publisher in a digital age, building proprietary routes to market rather than hiring third-party media channels, was the foundation for a new business.
So, I launched Equinet Media in 2009. We’ve been building audiences, creating media assets, and delivering measurable returns for more than 50 clients over the past ten years.
Aren’t media brands just for big brands and publishing companies?
Media used to be the domain of moguls, publishing companies and broadcasters.
However, today B2C brands like Red Bull, Lego and Coca-Cola and B2B brands like IBM, Deloitte and HubSpot are seen as media brands too. HubSpot, for example, runs an event (INBOUND) attended by ver 20,000 delegates each year and has over 200,000 active blog subscribers.
But, all of these companies have big, broad audiences they serve and significant resources to pull that off.
Traditional B2B magazine publishers build a brand and sweat the asset. It starts with a magazine that is marketed to convert subscribers and grow an audience large and influential enough to attract advertisers.
They spin out new ways of impacting and monitoring that audience, at the same time as building more authority and profile in the market. Usually, this starts with conferences and events, like industry Awards and Symposiums. With both, they attract ticket sales and sponsors as well as striking strategic partnerships with industry associations and leading business schools.
So what’s in it for smaller businesses without 7-figure budgets or huge resources?
If you think like a publisher and act as a media brand it changes the dynamic of where you sit in your market and how you are perceived.
By taking ‘an inch-wide mile-deep’ approach to create and repurpose content across multiple media assets you can come to mean a lot and matter significantly to an audience that will continue to grow – but only in your specific area of expertise, value or impact. And that is what a smaller fast-growth scaling business needs to do – to matter most to an ideal customer.
Rather than monetising subscriptions, advertising revenue, ticket sales and sponsorship income, when a fast-growth brand behaves like a publisher, they monetise their increased authority, their extended reach, and leverage the opportunity to ‘own the conversation’ with their market.
What is that worth to you? Put another way, what would it cost to buy that level of traction through third party media?
Then imagine you own the print magazine, the email newsletter, the industry blog, the social influence, the podcast, the webinar series, the workshops, the website, the video channel and the annual conference and Awards at the heart of your market.
But you need to monetise it too
It could all be for vanity and the empty promise of thought-leadership without a solid plan for monetising your media asset; value beyond the increased authority, brand reach and trust you will earn, value that translates to the sales and growth that meets your goals and timelines.
That is where we need to think about underpinning our media brand with an inbound methodology.