First Steps to Being a Brand Media Company


The media landscape has changed quite a bit over the last few years. Newsrooms are shrinking, traditional newspapers and magazines are getting smaller, and reporters must keep up with more demands and more channels of communicating the news than ever before. It is this changing environment that has led many brands, large and small, to become their own media company, transforming from strictly marketing their product to building a platform to create content that’s in line with their brand and integrating these efforts with traditional media.

There’s been much chatter lately about “content creation” and “content marketing”, but building a brand into a media company is much more than that. It’s more than a blog calendar or spreadsheet of social media posts. It’s the development of an overall strategy to change the mindset within your organization, as well as the creation of a vision for the purpose of the efforts, where it’s going to take you, and how you’re going to do it. If you’re thinking about taking the plunge, here’s where to begin.

Determine the purpose. Why are you creating content? The days of writing content for SEO that is not engaging, thought provoking, sharable or engaging are over. You need content that is unique and valuable to your core audience. What do you want your audience to feel and experience when they’re interacting with your brand?
Clearly define your audience. Think micro, not macro, for the audience. Who are the loyal followers of your brand today? What do they do, and what has made them loyal thus far? What do they love and enjoy about your brand? Identify the thoughts and emotions they’re already feeling and build upon that to determine the thoughts and emotions you want to instill.
Identify your goals. What effect are your trying to have with your audience? Dig deep, and well beyond a goal like “to get the word out there and gain more customers.” What is the word, and what are you hoping that word will cause people to do. Is there a monetary goal? What are the branding goals? What would you like to see happen short term and long term as a result of the efforts.
Determine what the content is, how it should be broadcast, and how often. Carefully thinking through and documenting Steps 1 through 3 above will help drive this. The purpose and audience will help define what content should be created. Determining who your audience is will help you identify where your audience is most likely to be receptive to receiving your message and direct where you broadcast that message. Will it be a social media platform, and if so, which one(s)? Will there be video content or a blog, and if so, how can you distribute the content so it will reach your audience? Maybe the best direction for your brand and its fans is to publish a printed magazine or newspaper for them. The reality is that most brands use a combination of some or all of the above. The key is to embrace platforms where you can do well, and phase in others as your bandwidth allows.
Create a media plan and editorial calendar. Begin sketching out topics and areas of interest. During that process, try to group the topics into 3 or 4 common groups or themes. This will help you begin wrapping your mind around what you’ll be talking about and why, and will help create flow and logic to the timing of information you’re releasing to your audience.
Be consistent. Creating your brand into a media company does take time, energy and resources. But unless you are a billion dollar corporation, you’ll be doing this on a budget – and that’s OK! Don’t get discouraged that you can’t do everything at once, or that you can’t do some things at all. If your message is good and your intent/purpose is clear and coming through to the audience, they will embrace it over time. Don’t hold yourself to the expectation that if your videos or blogs or photos aren’t going viral that it’s not worth the effort. Being true to your audience and delivering valuable content is more important.

These six steps are a good starting point for building your brand into your own media company. In future posts, we will share what you do with all of these topics, how to add timely fresh content, and how to incorporate traditional media into the mix.