Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

The Pressure Is On When Every Company Is Now A Media Company...

Posted by Tom Foremski - June 29, 2009

I've been writing on this topic of "every company is now a media company" ever since I visited Dan Scheinman, head of M&A at Cisco Systems in March, 2005.

He told me that the @Cisco news site is run by journalists, and gets more traffic than the top computer trade newspapers. At the time Cisco was publishing more than 200 RSS streams. The penny quickly dropped and it was another of many "aha!" moments I have had since leaving the Financial Times five years ago.

These days more people understand the term and what it means to companies. However, not everyone understands what it takes to be a media company. If you are going to do it well It's a hell of a commitment.

It means you need fresh content daily. You have to participate in the real-time stream on Twitter, Facebook, etc. This is true if you are a large or small company -- it doesn't matter.

With today's free publishing tools and free access to the Internet, it is tempting to see media creation as being free too. It's not.

Just because anyone can be a journalist doesn't mean anyone can be a journalist. Just because anyone can publish on the web doesn't mean anyone can be a publisher.

You have to get up every day and do it again, and then again the next day, whether you feel like it or not. (This is the difference between bloggers and journalists - we do it every day - (it would make a great bumper sticker :).)

It's important to realize that being a media company is not a three-month marketing campaign. It's a lifetime commitment. If you falter you will quickly lose your audience. I see many abandoned blogs because they weren't getting much traffic because they weren't updating very often.

But every company large or small needs to have a media presence. If you aren't online you don't exist. Even if you publish online you might not exist because you need to develop an audience and that takes time. It takes way more time today because you have to rise above the noise level.

It takes time to develop the Google "juice" that helps you be found online. This is why becoming a media company is not like a marketing or advertising campaign that has a start and a finish.

You have essentially two choices. The first approach is the Cisco way, go out and hire media professionals.

A second approach is to realize that being a media company is not your strength. You realize that creating a constant stream of new content is not going to be possible.

This where most people and companies stand. They can sometimes produce great content but they can't keep up the pace. So what do you do?

You can hire people to part-time blog or Twit for you, but that's a tough job. It's tough to find people that can be passionate online for hire. Especially since you can spot a fake a mile away online.

Or you can seek out audiences when you, or your executives, specialists -- have something to share.

You can become a media source.

You can guest blog on Silicon Valley Watcher by sending an email to Tom at Foremski.com. Or even better, you can buy a sponsored blog post slot on Silicon Valley Watcher - which will support the site.

Either way, you will be able to access a savvy audience without having to worry about constant fresh updates to your blog or company news site. And you dramatically raise your online footprint.

[I find it interesting that when I interview people or write about a company, my article is often in the first few Google results. For example, if you Google "Dan Scheinman" Silicon Valley Watcher pops up in the top spot. I essentially control his online reputation. Also, check out the term "don't be evil."]

Also, coming soon, a media audit service from Silicon Valley Watcher and a soon-to-be-announced partner. We will evaluate your online media strategies and recommend new ones.

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Please see: Can your PR people do this?

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