Is your company producing more content for more channels than ever before? Mine certainly is.
The amount of content across the internet is expected to increase 500 percent by the year 2020, which means we’re in what I call a “content marketing arms race.”
However, this content marketing arms race isn’t just business versus business, or industry versus industry. As Jay Baer and several other leading marketers have pointed out, we’re competing with every other person who creates and shares content.
The level of competition for people’s time and attention is simply unprecedented.
On the business end of the spectrum, it’s certainly never been easier, more affordable, and more business savvy to produce and distribute content, but many content marketers realize these efforts are difficult to scale. In other words, the more content you want to produce and distribute, the more of an investment you need to make—especially if you want to keep pace with all of the established and new social media networks and their never-ending upgrades and add-ons.
As a result, content marketing is becoming financially unsustainable for the vast majority of companies—or at least those that do not have the world’s deepest pockets. That’s why the future of digital marketing lies in The Business of Media—a scalable, more effective, and less expensive form of content marketing.
How Businesses Can Turn Content Into Profit
The Business of Media is predicated on approaching content as a valuable product in it and of itself, a product that can be monetized using the business model of successful media companies. By treating their content as such, everyday businesses can recuperate a significant amount of their investments in content marketing—the same way that media companies make money on their content.
In the media business, the value of content is directly correlated to the size of a media company’s built-in audience. That’s why the New York Times has the audacity to charge astronomically more for advertising and related products than the Des Moines Register, for example. The Business of Media is also predicated on building a highly engaged, relevant, ever-growing audience by using the principles, framework, strategies, and systems that serve as the basis for how and why successful media companies have been very profitable.
What Most Marketers Get Wrong About Content
Of course, this all sounds fine and dandy, but the glaring reality is that most businesses treat their content as a means to selling more of their actual products and services, with minimal focus on building a highly engaged, relevant, ever-growing audience. Consequently, their content becomes commoditized, carrying little or no value in the marketplace.
“There is a possibility that the value of commodity content will just so collapse such that only really distinctive content will actually have value,” says Michael Oreskes, Senior Vice President of News and Editorial Director at NPR.
In a world where content marketing is becoming financially unsustainable for the vast majority of companies, most of them can’t afford to keep producing commoditized content, or what SAP Innovation Evangelist Timo Elliot calls “marketing mush.”
“The vast majority of today’s marketing materials are professionally-produced, designed for a specific audience, and talk about customer concerns and problems,” Elliot says. “But they typically aren’t very engaging or interesting, and do little to differentiate from other vendors. These materials quickly fall into a vast sea of ‘marketing mush’ without making any impact on the market, while interesting content gets shared … reaching a much larger audience.”
What Elliot calls “interesting content,” I refer to as niche lifestyle content: Red Bull, MEL (Dollar Shave Club), Green Label (Mountain Dew), Babble (Disney), or OPEN Forum (American Express).
“It’s not about B2B or B2C marketing. It’s about H2H: human to human marketing,” Elliot says. “Organizations need to make sure they really understand what people are interested in and dump the marketing speak.”
The numbers don’t lie: Only 37 percent of people say their favorite retailer understands them, while just 22 percent say the average retailer understands them. (And as you know, most businesses are indeed average.)
“Many businesses hit a plateau in their digital reach because they [focus on] … content which proves [their] expertise by educating [their] target audience about [their] specific business services or products,” Te-Erika Patterson writes on Entrepreneur Magazine‘s website. “The missing link between brands who have a few thousand followers and those who’ve become social media legends is a key ingredient called lifestyle content.”
“When you create content that shows a deep understanding of someone’s life experience,” Patterson writes, “they’re more likely to share the content with others because we share content that represents who we are.”
But lifestyle content is not just about prompting more people to share more of your content; it also serves the purpose of developing deeper relationships with your customers.
“Any time a company offers me an opportunity to see a bit of myself reflected in its content,” writes Jodi Harris, Director of Editorial Content & Curation at Content Marketing Institute, “I find myself more drawn to that company, and more willing to explore what else they have to offer.”
Recoup Your Content Marketing Investment
Now, the asterisk to implementing The Business of Media is that your company will inevitably need to dump more money into niche lifestyle content experiences. But, assuming your company already has a substantial, engaged, relevant audience, you can implement at least a few of the nine media-related revenue streams shortly thereafter.
In the age of the internet and social media, the notion that everyday businesses should become their own media companies is certainly nothing new. However, most people who make this assertion have largely failed to detail what “becoming your own media company” actually entails, and more importantly, that there isn’t an easy-to-understand blueprint that makes undeniable business sense for doing so.
That’s why I created a free online course, The Business of Media: Monetize and Profit from Your Digital Marketing.
In addition to achieving traditional marketing objectives such as more exposure and engagement, sales building, and increased customer lifetime value, The Business of Media puts everyday businesses in a position to recuperate a significant amount of their digital marketing investment.
In other words, The Business of Media doesn’t just enable you to sell more of your products and services; it also gives you the opportunity to substantially reduce out-of-pocket expenses attributed to digital marketing by treating, monetizing, and profiting from your content.
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