One of the big ideas that comes out when we discuss Social Media is that any company can now publish content to the world. Most companies aren't set-up to be content producers. But, what we forget to really talk about is that it's not all about the content. It's about the fact that every company is now a media company (and media companies are driven - partially - by the content they publish).
Your company used to need permission to tell its story to the masses. You needed to secure a Public Relations company to pitch your press releases and weave those new products and features bits into pieces of human content bites that would be appetizing for the world (or your customer base at large). When Blogging came along, we suddenly began to realize that companies could use this platform to tell their own story in a very different and unique way. From there, we discovered tools like flickr for sharing photos, Delicious for sharing bookmarks, audio and video Podcasting and many more platforms.
Whether you're in the B2B or B2C sales side and whether or not your product is a cheap impulse buy or a multi-million dollar long term sales cycle, your business is now - without a doubt - a media company as well. It's not like the traditional mass media companies. This is different. It's about the ever-increasingly reality that you are what you are along with being a new media company as well. Customers (and potential customers) have an expectation that you are connected, listening and reacting. On top of that, they are expecting real content from you (in a real human voice) as well. And, if you're not willing to accept your new status as a media company as well as everything you were before, rest assured that your competitors or someone with a keen interest in your industry will embrace the idea of creating a media company for themselves or even on your behalf (with or without your permission).
It is a different way to think about business.
For the most part businesses were always publishers (creators of content) to some degree (white papers, press releases, catalogues, etc...), but now as we venture into the world where all communications take on some form of community and conversation - one that is public and published in a global platform of distribution and chatter - it makes perfect sense that companies must now embrace the reality that they are all media companies as well?
Check out the latest issue of Fast Company (September 2009). The cover story is called, Nokia's Plan To Rule The World. The subtitle reads: "Tero Ojanpera's bold bid to trounce Apple, BlackBerry & the rest - and transform Nokia into a media company."
Maybe it's about time that all businesses realize that they too are media companies?