The Ultimate Media Definition
Media continues to evolve. Media is the communication of information. It’s no longer defined solely by the channel or device by which it’s delivered.
Today, anyone can start a media entity. There are fewer barriers, at least in the US.
All you need is a connected device, computer, smartphone or tablet to create and deliver media. No education or money is necessary.
As a marketer, how you define and understand media platforms is key to your business results. For marketers there are 4 key types of media.
Media definition: 15 Marketing characteristics to consider
Media is broadly defined by Wikipedia as the collective communication outlets or tools used to store and deliver information or data.
From a marketing perspective, this definition doesn’t provide the information you need to support a successful marketing plan that yields profitable results. It fails to mention the key attributes often associated with media today.
To provide you with the marketing guidance you need, here are the 15 media characteristics to enable you to make better business decisions.
1. Target audience
These are the people who purchase and/or consume the information. To improve media effectiveness, create a marketing persona.
Media audiences break into 3 categories:
- Direct. These readers consume all of your information. If payment is required, they subscribe.
- One-time. These readers occasionally consume your content. They may seek it out or find it by accident, making them harder to target. If payment is required, they’ll buy a single portion. Think newsstand sales.
- Pass-along. These readers consume your content as a result of another person’s sharing it with them. As such the recommendation carries a level of trust. It’s not just limited to social media shares. Magazines have included pass-along rates in their audience counts for years.
Also of importance is how the media entity communicates with their audience. This follows into one of 3 categories:
- One-to-many. This is the traditional media model and still applies to most platforms, even though they allow comments and social sharing.
- One-to-one. This is a more targeted messaging approach, traditionally used by direct marketers. It’s often part of an email campaign where readers proactively choose to read your content.
- Many-to-many. This model allows multiple conversations to occur at the same time in different directions. It’s at the core of social media and is best exemplified by Twitter Chats.
2. Media subject
This is the information’s main focus. It can be broadly or narrowly defined. Traditionally, it has been news but today it’s much more diversified.
The media’s subject should attract your target prospect to ensure that your marketing is allocated optimally.
3. Media brand
The media’s brand communicates consistent elements that establishes the content and makes it stand out from other information. (Here’s how to do 360° branding.)
Among the main media brand attributes are voice, language, presentation, visual elements, logos, writers/representatives, editorial guidelines, content personality and keywords.
4. Distribution platform
Information is delivered the audience via a channel or device. The major types include Internet, television, magazines, newspapers, books (including ebooks), movies and live events.
5. Media format
The type of media defines how the information is conveyed. The major formats are text, image, video, audio, print and live.
In today’s media ecosystem, multiple formats can be used at the same time or via different platforms at different times to convey one piece of information or story.
6. Media consumption
How and when the audience pays attention to the media’s content is critical to how focused the person is on your information.
The 4 major content consumption types are:
- Focused use. Concentrating on one piece of information
- Dual input. Checking two or more media or devices concurrently.
- Information snacking. Reading short pieces of content on-the-go or between other activities. It’s often a time-filler activity.
- Time shifted. Reading information at a later date than it was initially published or broadcast. It’s consumed on the reader’s timetable, not yours. This type of content consumption isn’t necessarily more focused.
7. Media creator
This is the person or team who tasked with gathering, curating and transforming the information into quality content optimized to attract attention. Content developers may be professionals or amateurs. Further, they may be individuals or employees of a larger organization.
8. Revenue model
Most media is created to generate income either directly or indirectly. (Here’s how to increase media revenues.)
The main 3 ways to derive sales from media are (Here’s a fuller media revenue generation definition.)
- Audience. The reader pays to receive your information, generally in the form of a subscription.
- Product offering. The marketer pays to get their message highlighted, known as advertising.
- Related products. The media owner gets money from selling ancillary products such as conferences. Additionally they make money by selling their own products and services (owned media) or other people’s products known as affiliate sales.
This refers to how readers discover the media’s content and are persuaded to visit the media entity to read more on a regular basis.
Among the major methods to build a media entity’s audience include:
- Search. Making your content available to search engines to find and catalog.
- Sharing. Encourage your readers to share your content as well as leveraging social media platforms.
- Build your audience by advertising on your own media (to convert visitors) and other people’s.
- Thought leadership. Getting attention via placed articles and blog posts as well as speaking engagements.
- Cross promotion. This refers to making deals with other media entities to promote each other’s content.
10. Marketing use
Determine your marketing objective for using a specific media platform. It’s important to assess whether you’ll need additional investment such as media expense and advertising.
Remember even owned and social media have a cost, even if it’s only employee time.
Give readers a choice of response channels. The options include website (or landing page), mail, phone, fax and/or retail. Also use a call-to-action.
11. Reader input and engagement
In today’s social media friendly world, at a minimum, media entities allow readers to comment and share their content in hopes of broadening their reach. Sometimes comments may be moderated.
Some media platforms, like social media, encourage visitors to contribute their content to the site.
12. Publication schedule
The concept of a publication schedule gets its roots in traditional media such as newspapers and magazines. It defines how frequently, at what intervals and what amounts of information is delivered.
These elements are key to building a loyal readership by creating customer expectations. Despite this, in today’s information ecosystem, many media entities don’t follow any established format.
13. Media metrics
As with any business activity, it’s important to track your results back to your initial objectives. Among the media elements to measure answer the following quesitons:
- Did the media support your marketing goals?
- Was the offer compelling?
- Was the content effective? Can it be improved?
- Did your landing pages and/or site processes convert prospects?
- Was there cross channel impact?
- What was the marketing investment including employee time, media expense, advertising creation and conversion processes?
- Did the media campaign generate revenues?
14. Media owner
This refers to the person, business or organization that has legal rights to the information regardless of format because it’s a type of property.
15. Legal fine print
Intellectual property laws and regulations and rights regarding its contents and distribution govern media entities. It’s useful to ask permission before using a person’s words, ideas or image, especially children.
5 Media factors marketers must assess before selection
Media is a critical component of every form of marketing. It’s how you get your brand and message to the broadest possible audience. You must think beyond your house file of prospects and customers.
- Target market. Does the media entity reach an audience that’s similar to your customer persona?
- Brand environment. Does the media entity provide a setting where your brand and message will break through? Will you be able to attract prospect with the potential to be profitable customers? How does this media entity compare based on the competitive landscape?
- Content.What content will you create, optimize and distribute on the media entity? Where is the reader is in the purchase process when they see your content on this platform? How does this information help you achieve your business objectives?
- Supporting marketing. What additional marketing, advertising and employee support is necessary to maximize the effectiveness of this media placement? If you’ve used this platform before, how did your marketing perform? Consider the frontend response as well as the backend results.
- Prospect action. Is the media entity conducive to getting your prospect to take the next step towards purchase? Can you capture prospect information to continue to communicate with them in a less expensive way? Can your internal systems handle these prospects and convert them? Can you measure these activities?
Bottom line: Marketers must use a variety of media entities to attract and convert prospects profitably.
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