There was a time when every business courted the media.
They (the media) were rightfully considered business partners because they could significantly help any company interested in publicizing an event or similar happening as news.
Today, every business (large or small) is now its own media company – and that is a responsibility that should not be taken lightly.
If your business makes the effort to learn the new forms of media it can build a platform that will become an essential digital asset for connecting with current and future customers.
Consumers are Hungry for News
“Consumers will always seek relevant news and information to make better buying decisions. Before social media, their primary sources for doing so were traditional media outlets such as radio, television, newspapers, and of course, word-of-mouth. According to a study by Pew Research Center, the Internet is now the leading source of information for consumers making buying decisions – ranking even higher than the recommendations of their friends.
The idea that consumers trust the Internet more than their friends may initially seem surprising. However, it’s quite likely that they’re simply using the Internet to validate those recommendations. Of course, this spells opportunity for small businesses that are ready to take the initiative with the considerable resources available to them, to publish solutions online that will attract the attention of consumer searching for them – especially those in their local communities.”
The preceding was excerpted from Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business, by author Jeff Korhan (that’s me).
Read further for some key points about being a media company that came from a recent podcast interview with Mike Stelzner, CEO of Social Media Examiner, and host of the Social Marketing Podcast.
Better yet, listen to the podcast too, because Mike is an exceptional interviewer. It is sure to inspire you with the possibilities that small businesses now have with respect to their media marketing.
Your Business is the News
Your business IS the news – think about that.
Traditional media such as newspapers cannot publish the news without the help of people and businesses that are “making the news.” You make it and they publish it. Got that?
So, if your business is the news, then whom better than you to tell that story, especially now that you have abundant resources for doing so, with most of them being completely free?
Broadcasting the news was a practice for which one formally had to be trained. You also required access to the necessary equipment, studios, and supporting personnel.
Today media is easy to use, and the investment is negligible. Plus, the format is very forgiving – now mistakes are even welcome because they humanize the news, making it even more interesting.
The Best News is Specific and Relevant
Nobody knows your business and its customers better than you do. Therefore, you can personalize your news to make it highly relevant and relatable.
This is the magic behind the success of most blogs:
The top blogs today are simply more relatable than traditional media, which makes them cool – and that gets their content shared. (opening quote from Chapter 6 of Built-In Social).
When you use media to amplify and extend your expertise, then you become a true media company.
How to Build Your Platform
Mike Stelzner started Social Media Examiner using his expertise in the white paper business, which is a form of educational content commonly used by larger enterprises. He translated that expertise to helping small businesses with their social media marketing, and developed a digital platform is arguably priceless.
Yes, priceless. How can a price on a digital asset whose value is potentially limitless.
You can do the same in your niche.
Read more about how Mike accomplished his achievement by picking up a copy of Launch: How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition.
Last week while doing a book signing at Book Expo America I had the opportunity to take some time to learn more about what small businesses and their social media challenges The most common topic of conversation was how can you build a platform to reach customers.
The answer is simple: Take the risk of focusing on your customers and provide answers to their top problems or desires.
What are the concerns or opportunities on the minds of your customers? That should be the focus of your media programming.
Where businesses fail with media is focusing on what they do. Instead, concentrate on what your business can do to help those that it can best serve.
In other words, use this new media to build your tribe.
That tribe is your audience. Use your media to care for them, and together you’ll make some great news with mutual benefits!
Jeff is also the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business – Just Released April 2013 (Wiley)