If there’s a case study for the decline of traditional media, and the frantic and not always successful attempts of that industry to reinvent itself, that would be Time Warner. After exploring the possible sale of most of its magazine group to Meredith Corporation, the company has instead decided to spin off those titles into a separate company entitled Time Inc., reports the Wall Street Journal.
Formerly known as AOL Time Warner, the company will now have two separate pieces, the traditional media magazine piece and the entertainment/TV/movie piece, already having divested itself of AOL. I’m wondering, along with many others, exactly who is going to want to invest in Time Inc. at a time when traditional media is suffering more erosion in readership and advertising revenue. It’s a sad occasion that traditional media has taken such a beating and is so poorly valued, but that’s life in the new universe of content creation, where everyone is potentially equal.
That’s the REAL story here. While consumers used to look to a few major sources for trusted information and news, the fragmentation of media and the blurring of lines between opinion, entertainment and news presents a unparalleled opportunity for small and large businesses alike to establish themselves as thought leaders with clients, potential clients, industry influencers, media and other constituencies.
I’ve witnessed this transformation on the ground. 10 years ago, my business consisted mostly of traditional and trade journalism. Today, both of those have dwindled to the point where they make up a fraction of what I do. Instead, content creation is king; I write almost half of my articles under someone else’s name (ghost writing) and tell stories in many other ways, including infographic concept design, white papers, blogging, website copy, consulting on branding, social media.
All this has convinced me as a consumer, entrepreneur and content creator that the time to figure out what YOUR story is and the best ways to tell it is right now. Anyone who waits to establish their credentials and thought leadership risks being left behind, because competitors will step up to fill the vacuum. Seizing the opportunity now by determining what your business does best, the markets you serve and telling that story will establish you as a thought leader and trusted source of information who interprets the news, information and markets for clients and potential clients. And that’s the way to build relationships that last, which builds business that lasts.