September 3, 2021 8 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
You may not realize it, but you are running a media company. You are, I am, and every other entrepreneur is as well.
The reality is that we all are — whether we want to or not. This is because of how the business ecosystem has evolved over the last several years, and it is true regardless of your industry or the size of your business.
Today, your company is simultaneously both your primary business and a media company.
This means that in order to be successful in the coming years, we will have to produce content in all forms. This includes text, graphic, audio and video content. The amount of content we have to produce will continue to increase.
Why do we all have a media company today?
A lot has changed over the last decade or so.
The combination of social media and high-speed internet has given people more ways to engage with others at scale. Traditional media is becoming fragmented. And the world has become noisier than ever, with marketing messages popping up at every turn.
As a result, entrepreneurs are being forced to produce more content to stay relevant in the eyes of their audience. That content will live on social media, Amazon and even your own website.
This is essentially turning all competitive brands into media companies.
That doesn’t mean that media will become your core business. Only that you will have to produce media in order to remain competitive. A lot of media.
So how do we do that?
Identify your message
The first step is to figure out what you want your content to say and who you want to say it to. If it’s not useful, no one will be interested. If it’s boring, no one will read or watch it — no matter how useful it may be. And if it’s never promotional, it won’t generate revenue.
Your message requires a delicate balance of useful information, entertainment and promotion.
The best approach here is to figure out what questions your potential customers have and then plan a series of content to answer those questions. There are a number of tools available for this, including:
- Google Trends
- Answer the Public
- FAQ Fox
It’s more efficient to batch your content creation. I recommend creating a few week’s worth at a time, so keep that in mind when researching topics.
Choose your channels
More isn’t always better. Using media effectively doesn’t mean simply putting your content in front of as many eyeballs as possible. It means putting your content in front of the right eyeballs.
There should always be a strategy behind this. Anything less is just guesswork, and we all know that leads to wasted time, energy and money.
It’s not just a matter of whether a channel is right for your brand. It’s also a matter of whether it’s right for your brand right now.
We all have a finite amount of time available, so focus on what you can handle right now until you can make time to add additional channels. It’s always better to do one thing really well than it is to do a bunch of things poorly.
Some channels you might leverage include:
- Social media
- Your website
- Email newsletter
It’s also worth noting that while we’re talking about channels here, this same concept applies to individual social media platforms as well.
Get your mindset right
Most people are scared to put content out at first. Especially video.
This is because we’re all worried about how we will be viewed by others. This problem is worse today than it’s ever been, and I blame cancel culture and the growing army of trolls and bullies who thrive on attacking others online for that.
So let’s set expectations here. If you create any kind of content, you will attract trolls and bullies. There is no way to avoid that. You just have to get comfortable with the fact that some people won’t like you. In fact, some will even be downright hostile towards you. Getting comfortable with this requires both exposure to it and reframing how you look at it.
“While dealing with bullies and trolls can be difficult, you get to choose how you react, the meaning you give these situations, and whether you let them derail you. This can sometimes be traumatic, but working through these challenges provides an opportunity to become stronger, more resilient, and ultimately, more successful,” says licensed clinical psychotherapist and peak performance advisor, Dr. Fern Kazlow.
Create and publish your content
Creating content is relatively simple. You write the article, record the podcast, or shoot the video. Now I want to be clear — simple does not mean easy. It just means that it’s not complicated.
But your content needs to be good. In order for it to be good, you’ll have to engage people on an emotional level. A powerful way to do that is to leverage storytelling. Particularly your story, which we often refer to as the hero’s journey.
Sara Connell uses her story of overcoming poverty, abuse and an eating disorder to go from making less than $20,000 per year to approaching seven figures in revenue in three years in her content.
“I’ve always loved reading, but one particular book completely changed the trajectory in my life,” she explains. “I was single, working in a sexually abusive job, had developed a life-threatening eating disorder and I felt trapped. I picked up the book, Holy Hunger, in an airport bookstore and kept reading throughout the entire flight, taxi ride and the following night. What I read was my story — a woman who’d experienced trauma and was a prisoner to an eating disorder. Most importantly, she shared what she did to get better. That led to me placing a call to get help the very next day. That one book allowed me to regain my health, leave an abusive job, and pursue my vision of becoming a writer.”
I want to point out that if the idea of creating and publishing your content seems overwhelming, remember: You don’t have to do it all yourself. You should focus on the parts of creating that content that only you can do.
Yes you have to be the creator for your videos and podcasts. That can’t be outsourced. You can sometimes get away with using a ghostwriter for text content, but it’s critical that they truly get your voice. Otherwise, you’ll attract the wrong audience. But everything else should be outsourced or automated. This is why it’s essential to have a clearly defined process for the entire workflow behind creating and delivering your content.
“Process is the difference between scaling or failing. With a well-defined and documented process in place, you’re able to hand tasks off with relative certainty that they will be performed properly on a consistent basis. This enables you to focus on creating the content you need to grow your business,” says Robert Nickell, founder virtual assistant agency, Rocket Station.
That process should document literally every step of the task. Don’t assume anything. It should also include any resources needed to accomplish that task.
For example, maybe you record the video and upload it to a folder. From there, one or more team members may:
- Edit the raw video file
- Output it into files for each channel and social media platform you use
- Upload the video(s)
- Enter the applicable title, description and other info
- Add it to your queue to be reshared again in the future.
Each of these subtasks will also have its own additional subtasks. The idea is to create a foolproof framework for your team to follow for the grunt work so that you can scale your content creation and dominate your niche.
Grant Cardone and Gary Vaynerchuck are two perfect examples of this.
Both are prolific content creators, and while they play a central role in their content, they generally aren’t producing or posting it themselves. They have entire teams working behind the scenes, completely dedicated to churning out a massive volume of high-quality content.
You should too. It will mean the difference between success and obscurity.