We all know that families don’t gather around the TV to watch the evening news together anymore. Instead, your teenagers spend hours watching YouTube to get their news, and you get alerts on your phone.
I had the honor of speaking to the editorial team at a large media-buying company this year that owns hundreds of news stations around the nation. Currently, they are mobilizing teams to keep up with the rapid pace of change in the media consumption space. If you’re not a news company, you may be inclined to ignore the statistic that news network viewership has declined by 7% in the past year alone. But through my work with corporations, I have seen that the change in media habits is relevant to everyone. If every company is now a media company, as one of my favorite thought leaders Gary Vaynerchuk says, then a mass change in media habits matters for every business—including yours.
It’s time to get real about how people are using media so that your marketing and products can move with the curve and stay ahead of the game. Here’s how.
1. Know Your Audience.
The type of media that you use to market to or nurture your fans, depends, of course, on who your fans are. If you’re an investment banking company like UBS, then advertising on Instagram likely isn’t your best bet for gaining clientele.
On the other hand, if you’re a fast food chain wanting to reach more Millennials and Gen Zs, Instagram may be a great place to start. Remember how you’re a media company now? Keep up with the media habits of your ideal customer.
2. Embrace Change.
As far as the public’s media habits go, the game hasn’t changed: It’s a different game altogether. If you or your team is trying to hold on to the “time-tested” or “good old” way of doing something, your company will fail.
You have to be willing to let go of the norm and try new things. Fortunately, resources are plentiful and having millennials on your team will help immensely!
3. Use Free Advertising
All of your online real-estate is essentially free advertising. Sure, you have to pay to keep a website up and Facebook keeps changing its algorithms to motivate you to boost your posts, but the bulk of your social presence is still free.
Maximize your SEO by blogging and using keywords strategically. Write for Medium and HuffPost so that your articles can circulate within other platforms. Start a YouTube channel. Post regularly on social platforms. Guest blog or do a guest interview on a podcast. The most authentic ways to connect with your fanbase are usually the free ones that allow you to talk directly to them. Use them to your full advantage!
4. Watch YouTube with Your Kids.
Not sure what current media trends are? Ask your kids, your grandkids, or your nephews and nieces. You’ll get a world of insight.
For example, my 17-year-old son, Noah gets his all of his news from Philip DeFranco, the most prolific news anchor you’ve never heard of. Philip DeFranco makes 20-minute video-blogs or “vlogs” that he posts on YouTube every day, in which he discusses national news and the latest celebrity gossip. They’re fast-paced, irreverent, thorough, uncensored and relatively unbiased. To most, he’s just a YouTuber, but to media giants, he’s competition. Philip DeFranco has a net worth of $6 million, and he gets 1-2 million views per video every day. Noah likes The Philip DeFranco Show because it’s like having a friend tell him the news—not like the professional, buttoned-up news anchors on prime time.
If you take a look at the stats on declining news network viewership, you could mistakenly assume that people care less about the news than they used to. But it’s not that people don’t care what’s happening anymore—it’s that they want news that’s funnier, more irreverent and more personal. Or, it’s that they want to get a notification and read an article that takes 2 minutes rather than 2 hours.
5. Advertise with online affiliates and brand advocates.
With the rise of YouTube News Anchors and Instagram supermodels, it’s not only a good idea to advertise less on TV and more on social platforms—it’s powerful to partner with directly with these social influencers as well.
While I was working with Crocs, they decided to forgo all TV ads and instead do a social media campaign with Drew Barrymore. Other companies sponsor YouTubers like Philip DeFranco and get product mentions on his show. I think this is genius: If he takes a sip of something, it has such a different kind of credibility for my son than a TV commercial.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to influencers to have them vouch for your product or service—their fans will convert more rapidly because it feels more like a recommendation than an ad.
6. Become Self-Made
Maybe you’re not a corporation looking to increase sales—maybe you work for one of those corporations and you’re ready to write a new script for your life and try something new. Or, maybe you’re a high school student with a passion for photography, music or something else that people say isn’t a real job.
I have good news for you: Current media trends mean that there’s never been a better time to be passionate about something. If you can talk about it, write about it, or take big pictures of it, it is possible to influence millions. If you have a laptop and a smartphone, you can be completely self-made and start a successful online business, whether your product is music, photos, or videos of you talking about your passion.
I challenge you to stop just consuming content and start creating it.
7. Be real.
As much as you can use the change in media habits to your advantage, I believe that the best thing you can do to make the most of your life or your brand is to be a real person: A real person who fully experiences each moment and gives everyone you interact with your full, undivided attention. I think the only person in this picture without a phone just about sums it up. In a world of people trying to capture the moment, be the one in the moment. Your customers, your family and your friends will thank you.
Oh, and a quick note! If you’re a leader in a business that’s undergoing intense change or if you’re wanting to make a change in your life, let’s spend a VIP Day together! We’ll envision all of the possibilities for how you can use change to bring about success. Click here to learn more.
As a speaker and author, Curtis Zimmerman has impacted over one million people with his life-changing messages and award-winning programs. Curtis is an expert at transforming organizations by inspiring individuals to live their lives at performance level.
Want to be inspired? Check out his podcast The Next 24 Hours.