Embracing "The Business of Media"

In this module, we discuss:

  • What The Business of Media entails
  • The caveat of The Business of Media
  • Perceived alternatives to The Business of Media


  • The Business of Media - the systematic, strategic and scalable approach to digital marketing in which a business builds a highly engaged, relevant, ever-growing audience that can be monetized by combining traditional marketing objectives and the business model of successful media companies
  • Customer Experience - the product of an interaction between a business and a customer over the duration of their relationship, including the products and services delivered

It should be said outright that embracing The Business of Media is not going to be a simple feat for most everyday businesses, which historically make marketing decisions that are:

  • One-time expenses (such as a website), and/or
  • Campaign-driven (meaning they have a predetermined end date), which is the premise of advertising, PR and most other traditional marketing practices

On the other hand, The Business of Media is not a one-time expense, and it is definitely not campaign-driven. Instead, The Business of Media is a systematic, scalable program — meaning it does not have a predetermined end date; it is driven by agile, always-on and always-evolving execution.

The Business of Media also requires a substantial, ongoing investment, which we detail in Section 6. However, its purpose is to build a highly engaged, relevant, ever-growing audience that will pay dividends in two ways:

  1. Optimizing traditional marketing objectives, such as more exposure, higher sales, new customers and increased lifetime customer value, and
  2. Leveraging the business model of successful media companies — which we detail in Section 5 — ultimately enabling your business to recuperate a significant amount (if not all) of its investment in The Business of Media

In effect, The Business of Media not only puts your business in a position to grow and prosper with regard to its core products and services, but it also minimizes your long-term costs of execution by creating additional revenue streams based on the business model of successful media companies.

As a result, The Business of Media is smarter, scalable, more systematic, more effective and less expensive digital marketing, with both short-term and long-term returns.

The Caveat

Certainly, The Business of Media is not for every business, both from an affordability and target audience standpoint.

First, the initial launch and development period can take up to one year, depending on several factors, including how big of a relevant, engaged audience your business already has, and how aggressive you approach this launch and development period. During this period, it is not recommended to begin monetizing your audience using the business model of successful media companies. However, you can (and should) expect to see results in additional exposure, sales, and customer acquisition and retention during this time (assuming your business' customer experience is on point).

Second, since The Business of Media is largely a digital marketing program, it is important to analyze your business' target audience — more about how to do so in Section 2 — and ultimately determine if these people are like the average U.S. adult, which has multiple devices, is Internet savvy, and spends nearly six hours per day consuming digital media.

If the people in your target audience do not fit this mold, The Business of Media will not be a worthwhile investment for your business.

Perceived Alternatives: Advertising

Some people will wonder why their business should adopt the strategies, systems, framework and business model of successful media companies —the premise of The Business of Media when they could simply pay actual media companies to distribute content (otherwise known as advertisements) about their products and services.

The truth is, advertising as we know it is dying a slow death.

In addition to the mass adoption of ad blockers (which have been used by 198 million people worldwide, equating to $22 billion in lost ad revenue); the rising cost of Google AdWords; and the ability for any user to precisely control which ads they want to see on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and any other social media network that offers advertising, the numbers do not lie.

To add insult to injury, a 2012 comScore report indicated that 31 percent of online display ads go unseen, followed by another study the next year that found 54 percent of online display ads go unseen. Then, in 2014, Google released new research that claimed 56 percent of impressions served across its display advertising platforms are not viewable.

“If you can find a way to circumvent [advertising], to be part of the content, to own the content, to control the content ... you are the brand winner," veteran media strategist and researcher Mark Ramsey says in this podcast. "And it becomes about everything except [advertising]."

Certainly, not all advertising is ineffective, especially on social media networks, which offer precision-point, sophisticated targeting.

"If you're going to use paid advertising, use it to build an audience," says Brian Clark, CEO of Rainmaker Digital and founder of Copyblogger. "An audience never goes away."

Still, it is imperative to have a strategy when building an audience.

"Huge audiences don’t matter in the absence of a business model," writes Kevin Anderson of TheMediaBriefing.

The Business of Media is that business model.

Perceived Alternatives: Content Marketing as We Know It

While many people will agree that advertising is not a viable alternative to The Business of Media, these people may see it as just another type of digital marketing — simply an extension of present-day content marketing and social media; therefore, their train of logic will tell them the assertion that everyday businesses need to act like full-fledged media companies is an overstatement.

For these people, the question becomes: How does your business keep up with the record amounts of content that individuals, brands and your business' competitors are uploading to the Internet every minute of every hour of every day?

Do you try to create and publish more content, even though the vast majority of businesses have failed to figure out how to systematize and scale content production? Or, do you give up on producing and publishing content altogether, opting to shy away from the nearly six hours that consumers are spending with digital media every day?

That is where The Business of Media comes into play: It gives everyday businesses the opportunity to (1) systematize and scale content production, publishing and distribution; (2) target relevant consumers where they spend more than 30 percent of the time they are awake; and (3) monetize and profit from a highly engaged, relevant, ever-growing audience that practitioners of The Business of Media build in the process.

"Without strategy, content is just stuff," says esteemed writer Arjun Basu, "and the world has enough stuff."

The Business of Media is presented by yarn, a collective of talent across media, journalism, marketing and design that helps brands create, distribute and monetize memorable content experiences.

For more insights and observations about the future of marketing, check out our publication and podcast.