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You Are a Media Company

Wednesday, February 06, 2013
Online Marketing

By guest blogger John Miller

Slowly but surely, media companies are solving the digital revenue puzzle. After a decade of exchanging print dollars for digital dimes, brands like Business Insider and Quartz are exploring subscription models that are actually working. And brands need to pay attention.

The insight has been to forget the traditional paywall experience, and offer something completely different: In BI’s case, access to a research-firm-quality content. Trading on their expertise in tech, they’ve developed a “BI Intelligence”, a portfolio of valuable content that looks like Forrester or Gartner. Link:

This evolution means something for brands as well. It means that marketers had better start thinking a lot more like publishers, creating compelling ways to get their messages across, since traditional advertising is on the wane. For instance, instead of display advertising, Quartz features compelling sponsored content from the likes of Cadillac. What makes this so much more effective than “advertorial” is that the content is good! Title: Mysteries of the deep-sea: soon to be endangered; link: Nary a word about Cadillac in the entire piece. But there it was, mixed in with Quartz content, the recipient of lots and lots of interested eyeballs (see 1. and 2. in graphic below)content-publish-quartz-cadillac01a.

Not everyone is General Motors, of course, but all companies need to think of themselves as media companies. The rise of content marketing means marketing departments need to be a lot more like editorial departments. This means thinking beyond campaigns, blogs or social media. It means developing a detailed CONTENT PLAN, tightly targeted to your customers, partners, and prospects. Where are they getting their information and how do we become an integral part of that discussion? What do we have to offer that is of true value to them?

There’s a lot of information out there. Traditional marketing is just more information. To be relevant in today’s dialogue, you have to offer your customers insight and meaningful dialogue. You have to offer them solutions.

John Miller’s background is in media, as an art director and editor for Esquire, Vanity Fair, and MSNBC. He has developed content strategy, native advertising, and mobile apps for a wide variety of companies, among them Target, Oracle, Salesforce, Schwab and Evite. | @miller360