There is no doubt that the ways in which consumers interact with media, journalism, and press are rapidly changing. Not only are people consuming news in a different way, but the attention span is much different with younger generations than ever before. As a media outlet, your focus typically lies in two places: how to maintain and elevate readership, and how to better engage your audience. Essentially you begin noticing your growth is flatlining and you begin asking yourself “what now?”
The traditional answer was once to expand digitally and push for dot com engagement, elevating the number of produced content and posts across the site. Then, it evolved into a social play: Instagram takeovers and Twitter Q&As.
Currently, many media outlets have expanded into direct to consumer items such as monthly subscription boxes, online shops, building an app, or weekly newsletters. Don’t get me wrong, these are all great ways to further the engagement with an audience, but the industry continues to shift and change faster than ever before and sometimes these options aren’t enough.
Media entities are a brand within themselves and it is important to always function like one. It is common practice for brands to have a plan in place to scale and grow- media should be no different.
For those platforms looking to answer the ‘what now?’ question, a place to begin the conversation is considering internally vs. externally owned properties. The goal of this is not only to bring your current audience with you but also engage with new consumers and create new revenue streams along the way. Internally owning a property can take form in many different ways: conferences, events, workshops, music festivals, award ceremonies, streamed series, panels, licensed products, podcasts, or activations. Creating something from the ground up allows you to own and grow an opportunity for your audience in a way a sponsorship would never allow.
Take Variety for example, a trusted entertainment industry trade that has successfully created their own conversation coast to coast with annual speaker series. These events are now expected by top Executives and Brands and the bill of names continues to exceed expectations. Not only do their ticket prices help offset costs, but they also have successfully brought in additional partners and media year after year such as Reddit, Fandango, Nielsen, Yahoo!, and The Wall Street Journal.
Another great example is Glamour Magazine’s Women of The Year Summits that are live streamed on their Facebook. The streams, averaging 40-50 minutes, garner upwards of 65,000 views and bring all of those who want to watch, directly to their platforms. in a world where print continues to decline, Glamour has created ways to produce content and reach an audience far more broad than their monthly circulation.
It is important to begin outlining a growth plan that meets yours and your readers’ needs. As the industry changes, media outlets must step into new territory by adding and launching extensions to their brand, and when it comes to growing your platform, the possibilities are truly endless.