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4 steps on how to start a media company

Ok, I get it. The thought of your brand becoming a media company scares you. Here's a great explanation that answers the question, "what is a media company". but let’s look at from a different perspective then. One thing that ALL brands struggle with is content. The ability to create content that tells a good story and integrate it across the digital ecosystem isn’t easy. So in order to feed the content machine day in and day out with a compelling brand narrative requires that you become a content organization.

A media company tells good stories. It believes that content (not just marketing content but value add content) is what drives behavior change with customers, partners and employees. A content organization has the people; processes and technology in place that helps facilitate organizational change that will allow you to:

  • Feed the content machine everyday – not once, not twice and not even 3 times a week. Everyday single day.

  • Provide content that matters to their stakeholders; that comes from their stakeholders (employees and customers).

  • Create content in real-time when the opportunity arises.

  • Build converged media models (paid, earned, owned media integration) that translate into brand ubiquity.

  • Be agile and pump out content with little to no pushback.

  • For them, it's all about social media storytelling.

So if any of this sounds good to you, please read on. Here are four considerations to consider that will help you become a media company.

Start With Your Content Narrative

This is one piece that you cannot skip. Don’t be like other brands that post random content in Facebook and Twitter ether because their competitors are doing so or it’s the “in” thing to do. You will have to decide what story you want to tell and how you want to tell it. Your content narrative will consist of several inputs:

  • Brand Pillars/Positioning – the brand narrative.

  • Non-Business Issues – What are the non-business issues that are important to the brand? (Sustainability, energy efficiency, ending poverty)

  • Media perceptions of the brand – what does the media say when they write about the brand? The context, not the sentiment.

  • Community perceptions of the brand – how does the community react to your current content? Again, the context not the sentiment.

  • Fan Interests – what are your fans interested in when they aren’t talking with you or about you?

  • Historical content performance – performance data on what type of content works and what types that don’t work, day parting, content types, etc.

  • Search Behavior – what do consumers search for when looking for you’re your products.

  • Customer Support Pain Points – what are the support issues that are most concerning to your customers?

The output will help you mold a content narrative that can scale and give birth to content that changes customer behavior – whether it’s selling more products, repositioning a company or helping customers change the way they perceive your brand.

Additionally, a stellar content strategy will also consider content themes and prioritize the types of content to be shared, its frequency and identify which distribution channels are most effective. For example, the below illustration shows 5 content themes all with different distribution frequency percentages; as well as the core channels of content strategy execution. It’s important to note that every brand is different so each of these content themes will be unique.

Once you have your story, you will then have to decide how you want to tell it and who in your organization can help.

Think Internally First

Media companies have people – a lot of people (and I promise that this is my only reference to a media company). They have editors, managing editors, writers, staff writers, freelance writers, paid writers, un-paid writers, contributors and designers. The good news is that most brands have a lot of people too. They’re called employees and they are most likely wicked smart too.

What’s stopping you from enabling them to create content that delivers value? I’m not saying that you just open the floodgates and have a content free for all. You’ll have to create a plan, establish processes & workflows, and maybe start small with just 10 or 15 employees. Once you demonstrate a few wins and best practices, you can grow from there and build a more scalable employee storytelling model. And don’t forget that employees are viewed as trusted and credible sources when people are seeking out information about a product or service. It makes sense. It’s a win-win for everyone involved. A few platforms that enable employee advocacy are Expion’s product Social Advocator, Addvocate and GaggleAMP.

Expand Beyond the Firewall

If you have a good product then most likely there are groups of people who already love you. They have a deep level of emotional equity associated with your brand – the way it makes them feel (Dodge Ram = tough), the value they extract when using your products (Toyota Prius = inexpensive, great mileage and good for the environment) or that fact that they can save the planet and be pretty cool at the same time (Tesla Motors Model S). They are called advocates. Enabling advocates to help tell your brand story is a huge opportunity and, in fact, there are several platforms available today that can facilitate this – Social Chorus, Influitive, Crowd Tap and the list goes on.

Build The Content Supply Chain

Once you have your narrative down and have your internal teams and customers ready to

feed the content engine, you will have to build a supply chain that can facilitate content ideation, asset management, approval workflows and content distribution to the channels you manage – blogs, Twitter, Facebook, etc. This could also include .com publishing and paid media opportunities as well considering the importance of the creative newsroom and converged media modeling. This is also considered content operations.

The point is that you have to change they way you think as it relates to content strategy, engagement and the way your teams are staffed. If you don’t think that your brand needs to change then you are still living in the 90s when consumers were less distracted with technology and the Internet. The social newsroom really is the future of marketing.

Note: This post was originally written on Jan 21, 2013.


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