By Rex Hammock

Last week, Mathew Ingram, Columbia Journalism Review‘s chief digital writer, wrote an essay titled, “Is the Podcast Bubble Bursting?” A couple of years ago, I wrote an Idea Email essay with an opposite title, “Why Podcasting Is, Once Again, The Next Big Thing.

Podcasting, which has been declared dead or revived more than any category of web content I can think of, has managed to stay alive for 14 years. However, web-based content tools and strategies are known for their extreme love-hate cycles.

Digital content experts often miss content trends because “commercial content”—content that exists in a marketplace of buyers and seller—comes in two varieties: (1) Content that has a content business model, or (2) Content that supports another kind of business model.

The content business model: This business model is what you participate in when you buy a magazine at the newsstand, attend a concert or subscribe to Netflix. The content business model is like every marketplace throughout history: A creator takes risks in developing and marketing the content, and if the creator is successful, customers decide the content has enough value to be purchased.

Content that supports another business model: This model—which is far more prevalent than the content business model—is the magazine you receive as a member of an association, a video that celebrates employee accomplishments, or killer presentations that land you a contract.

The secret to successful marketing with content is knowing what works for the specific business model you have—or the one you are supporting. A content media strategy that supports a group or company’s business model may fail if it was mistakenly built using the wrong business model. In other words, podcasting will always be in season if it works best for the customers you serve. And even the best podcast won’t work if it’s not right for the same group.


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