Looking up the definition of media reveals it’s Latin derivation to be: middle layer.
That middle layer used to be the television, radio, and newspaper media that was necessary to reach a targeted audience.
The middle layer still exists, but its utility for most businesses is limited at best.
Whether you think of your business media as social media, blogging, or your company website, it’s all digital media that your business is responsible for managing to ensure its relevancy for the communities it serves.
The following three tests will help you evaluate your media for the digital, social, and global environment that affects every business today, regardless of its size, location, or industry.
Test #1 – Is Your Media a Valuable Resource?
Last week I interviewed my friend Ryan Hanley for my new podcast (launching the week of June 23rd). He shared an elegantly simple method for creating valuable content to attract a larger audience of potential customers for the the family-owned insurance company he worked for at the time (now they are a client).
Having previously worked in the financial services industry, Ryan was new to insurance, and understandably had lots of questions. The more he learned, the more he realized his customers probably had many of the same questions.
His plan was to answer 100 insurance questions in 100 days by recording his response on video and uploading it to YouTube. The total production time required was less than 20 minutes per day. The result was a body of knowledge that proved to be invaluable for attracting new business.
You can do this too. It’s not necessary to have everything completely planned to get started. Simply begin with the most frequently asked questions that you can probably answer in your sleep, and then work out the others as you move forward.
Test #2 – Is Your Media Outward Facing?
Traditional marketing promotes the business, such as why it is better than its competitors. It’s media that faces inward.
Outward facing media keeps the focus on the community, and that is what works in the social environment where we are today. This media seeks to help the community do more of what it wants to do.
Ryan’s series of 100 videos helps insurance buyers make better decisions to this day. Before the Internet, my landscape business used a similar approach with print media (read it for FREE by downloading the intro and 1st Chapter of Built-In Social). The downside was we had to regularly pay that media middle layer for the opportunity. No more.
When it comes to marketing, what’s old is new again. Outward facing media resonates with buyers whose first concern is learning what they need to know to limit their choices down to just a few companies.
It turns out choice limiting decisions are being made long before a salesperson has a chance to get in the game. Thus, the right media is absolutely necessary today for your business survival.
Test #3 – Is Your Media Trustworthy?
For media to be a successful lead generator, it has to be attractive. Buyers intuitively ask the following three questions to make that assessment.
a. Does the business want to help?
b. Is the business capable of helping?
c. Will I enjoy working with this business?
Test #1 – The first question is answered by having an online presence designed to help the community. I’m sorry to say this, but nowadays a lack of resources online where people expect to find them strongly suggests the business doesn’t care enough to help.
Test #2 – Outward facing media is tangible proof the business has what it takes to help prospective customers. Awards, testimonials, and the like were how inward facing media sought to attract leads. That just isn’t enough anymore.
Test #3 – Finally, a human-to-human (H2H) connection has to be made for the business to pass the final test. This is where stories from direct experience with real customers are invaluable.
Showcase how your business helps its customers (with the focus on the customers, of course) and the intangible but vital qualities that humanize your business will communicate its one that people will enjoy working with.
Got a question or comment about any of this? Please leave a comment below and I’ll respond.
One more thing. Ryan has a new book on content marketing coming out this fall. You can get early access to it here.
About the Author: Jeff Korhan, MBA, is the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business – (Wiley)