Wish for the Day: You say you want to be a Media Company

As the Beatles said:

You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
You tell me that it’s evolution

And many companies say the want to be a media company:

Many companies say they are different because they are a media company on the internet or they want to be a media company. But what does that really mean? From a content perspective, here are some suggestions:

  • Understand that we are in a 2+ screen world, where people are watching their TV or a Netflix video, while texting with their iphone (and in some cases, even working with their lap-top)
  • Relinquish control which means join your fans on other social networks and platforms (this sounds obvious, but most people still want to bring their fans home to their site)
  • Identify your relevant fans and tribes — Where they spend their time? How they speak about your products and your competitors’ products? Who are the leaders? How do they help each other out?
  • Know that your work is never done, meaning that once you post something it is part of an ongoing story (you can add more later on)
  • Go beyond text and incorporate video, photos, and more
  • Wear multiple hats: Curator, Editor, Organizer (inviting guests to participate) and Host (invite your users to contribute to your site and find out what they need for their own site)
  • Establish brand, tone, etc. consistency across multiple channels (iPad, Web, etc.)
  • Interact face-to-face, such as in Google Hangout’s NFL Fantasy Football forum!
  • Turn each commenter into editor by encouraging them to contribute to the discussion.
  • Concentrate editorial content on “people” — their stories, their lives, etc.

Paid Content came out with a list of the most successful media companies that included Twitter, Amazon, Gawker, BuzzFeed and the Guardian, but here are some questions I have:

  • Is Amazon creating any of its own content or successfully curating third party content (Yet)? I know they are working on this.
  • Is Twitter doing real “content programming” or generating real ad revenue?
  • Is the Guardian turning a profit? (This would be important for a successful company : )

Finally, companies need to have the kind of organization that:

  • Makes quick decisions and does not get bogged down in office politics or in over analyzing the right approach (I always liked it when my former boss said, if you are 65% sure something is the right decision, then go for it and implement it)
  • Scores their decisions and determine how well they make them, how fast they make them and what’s entailed (What resources are involved?)
  • Provide clarity on who they are targeting, what the offer is, and why you are offering it.  (and continue to refine over time)
  • Building a learning environment which is one of the key things people are looking for these days. I always believe in the “Learn, Teach, Learn” approach which requires an individual to teach something they recently learned to others)

What does it mean to you to be a media company? What is entailed? Which businesses qualify?

Oh yea, you probably asking “OK, Wilder, who is a successful one media company?

One company that comes to mind is Bloomberg LP (and I am not just saying this because I am a native New Yorker : )  It meets all the criteria I list above. For a great article on Bloomberg, check out what the New York Magazine recently had to say about them.