“All businesses are media businesses.”
That axiom sure sounds believable in 2017. Being a media company means you have the ability to create and distribute your message directly to any audience, without having to pay a toll to intermediaries.
Over the past two decades, the barriers to becoming a media company have tumbled down, one by one. You can now be on a level playing field with any other media company—you can now afford to own the same equipment, create the same kind of content, and distribute your message anywhere and anytime without having to pay for government licenses, printing presses, delivery trucks or broadcast towers.
But as one barrier breaks down, companies seem intent on erecting others. For example, as gatekeepers like TV networks or daily newspapers become less essential to your ability to reach your customers, you become convinced that Google and Facebook have taken their places.
Mysterious advertising currencies such as “reach” and “frequency” have been replaced with equally mysterious currencies called “engagement” and “page views” and “SEO.”
So we find ourselves in an era where you can reach anyone, anywhere, without having to go through barriers. And what do businesses do? They choose to focus on earning Facebook likes rather than selling products or serving clients.
Why aren’t all business media businesses?
One-word answer: Talent. When people talk about engagement, strategy or content, or automation or data, the magic that makes them work is not a platform or channel—it’s talent.
Media companies create and distribute great programming that informs, entertains and educates us. This great programming compels us into becoming loyal to a brand and product. But creating such media requires a specialized skill set from a talented team.
Talent is what separates mere content into “content I can’t do without” or “content I can’t find anywhere else” or “content that makes me smarter.” Talent means thinking beyond a tweet, post, like or follow. Talent means knowing that developing relationships with customers requires more than filling in some blanks and hitting a “publish” or “submit” button.
Talent is what enables any business to become a media business.
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