What would it mean for your business if you owned direct access to an audience of homeowners who loved your marketing so much they actually looked forward to getting it from you?

What if instead of paying other people (media companies) for the privilege to access their audience, you could communicate with your own, for free, whenever you like?

On this episode of Real Estate Pros, we share the story of a brand who became the largest media company in their industry. We discuss how they did it and why there is a growing trend toward brands turning into media companies in many industries all over the world.

Audience: The Business Model Of The Future

Full Transcript

This week finds us back home in Australia after a week in the US attending Content Marketing World – the largest event on the planet dedicated to the practice of content marketing.

This year saw over 4,000 attendees from more than 50 countries and 225 speakers, all converge on Cleveland Ohio for the big show. Some of the brands represented at Content Marketing World included GE, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Google and Marriott.

Content Marketing World 2017

This year, attendees were also treated to keynote presentations from Casey Neistat – one of the world’s leading YouTube influencers – who sold his YouTube channel recently to CNN for a reported $25m USD, and Hollywood actor Joseph Gordon Levitt, who – aside from featuring in recent blockbusters such as Batman: Dark Knight Rises and Inception – founded an online platform called hitRECord – a community of content creators who work on creative projects together.

What can these large brands, a YouTube influencer, and a Hollywood actor teach us about marketing?

Most businesses today still rely heavily on traditional advertising models to promote their product and service messages on someone else’s platform – essentially renting access to someone else’s audience.

On the other hand, the practice of content marketing is about creating compelling content, consistently over time, to attract and retain a loyal audience of your own – giving you direct access to an addressable audience thus less reliance on traditional advertising to drive profitable change in your business.

It’s a business approach being studied, documented and practiced more and more by brands and influencers in many industries all over the world.

In his opening keynote, Joe Pulizzi, founder of CMI (Content Marketing Institute) shared the story of Arrow Electronics – an electronic component and computer products retailer.

Started in 1970, Arrow Electronics had no discernable difference to similar companies. That was until they started acquiring media brands associated with their industry.

Since 2010, Arrow Electronics have acquired more than 50 media properties, magazines and online news sites, all with large subscriber numbers.

Arrow Electronics is no longer just an electronics and computer parts business. They are the biggest media company in their industry and their competitors pay for the privilege to advertise in their publications.

Instead of having to pay the media to advertise their products, Arrow Electronics are the media.

I’m not suggesting you need to go and buy an industry magazine or online news site for real estate to do what Arrow have done. But just think about this… What would it mean for your business if you owned direct access to an audience of homeowners who loved your marketing so much they actually looked forward to getting it from you?

What if instead of paying other people (media companies) for the privilege to rent access their audience, you could communicate with your own, for free or at very little cost, whenever you like?

Buying a media company, like Arrow Electronics did, is not within reach of most small businesses. But that doesn’t mean you can’t build one.

It’s the approach we took here at Stepps, from day one.

We’ve been producing the Real Estate Pros podcast each week since starting our business in October 2014. We use a number of channels to promote each episode to drive traffic back to our site and (hopefully) turn that traffic into email subscribers. Our email list today sits around 40,000+ real estate professionals around the world.

Is building your own audience easy? Absolutely not.

We’ve been on this mission for three years now and I can tell you it’s hard work. But is it harder than paying someone else to rent access to their audience? Not even close.

Is it more fun producing this podcast for you, our listeners, each week rather than our company having to rely solely on advertising in magazines and at real estate conferences to get to you? Absolutely.

Audience is the business model of the future.

Are you going to build one? Or buy one?

Do you want to be a real estate company that pays for the privilege to rent access to someone else’s audience? Or do you want to be a media company, with direct access to your own audience?

I’m keen to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment below.