Can you imagine being the go-to source of information in your industry? Can you imagine your website being the first place people go when they want to really know what’s going on in your space? Can you imagine being an indispensible resource? Can you imagine people knowing and trusting your company because of your organizational thinking rather than your product? Can you imagine be at the center of the universe in your industry?

Some companies can. Organizations like SAP, Red Bull, Whole Foods and Xerox have created deep content strategies that attract readers, drive conversation and – importantly – create and strengthen a connection between the company and its audience. They have built media companies.

FACT: Customers reject pure brand messaging. We have mute buttons, DVR fast forward, and other rooms to walk into when commercials are playing. Advertisements are often incredibly entertaining but, quick – which insurance company produces the “Mayhem Like Me” ads? I thought so – you’re guessing.

So here’s our Big Hairy Audacious Goal at Scribewise: To help an organization become a media company.

We don’t want to do it because it’ll make a great case study – although it will. We don’t want to do it because we’ll make a boatload of money – although the rewards will surely be there (but it probably won’t cost as much as you think). We want to transform an organization into a media company because we believe it will work for that organization. As consumers tune out brand-centric messages, this is where marketing is heading; this is what all organizations should be doing.

But wait, you say! Aren’t media companies dying? Well, yes, the legacy media is fading fast. However, their problem is that their revenue streams are drying up. Your business presumably already has a revenue stream – the widgets you sell. You’re likely doing okay. What you need is a wider audience that might buy more widgets. The best way to build this audience is to give them great information that teaches them about the widget space and showcases your commitment to the customer. That means become an information source, i.e., a media company.

There are multiple studies that have demonstrated the business value of transforming your brand into a media company – Kapost and Eloqua pointed out that content marketing delivers three times as much ROI as PPC advertising (generally considered the most cost-effective marketing spend). A Hubspot survey found that more content equals more ROI. And you can just ask some of the companies that have embraced their role as an information source and become media companies.

Here’s what such a transformation will require:

Courage.

This is the most important piece of the puzzle. Because you won’t just be talking about how great you are anymore; you’ll be talking about the wider industry conversations, trends, happenings and conferences, and maybe even competitors.  Do you have the cajones to stop doing what you’ve always done? Are you brave enough to not only try something new, but abandon the old methods… even when the VP of Sales bangs on your door and wonders what in The Hell you’re doing?

Commitment.

Once you’ve had the courage to start, you must have courage to stick with it. Transforming your company won’t happen overnight. You won’t flip a switch and realize ROI. This requires some patience. If you’re four months in and it doesn’t seem like anyone is noticing what you’re doing, you need to be willing to stay the course. Because you can build an audience over time, and within six to 12 months you’ll be getting traction. Your sales team will begin to have different, higher-level conversations with prospects; their leads won’t just be warm, they’ll be red hot.

A Journalistic Vision.

Transforming into a media company means flipping your thinking and creating a steady flow of audience-centric information. Your organization needs to have a nose for news. It needs to be agile and have the ability to turn around stories at a rapid pace, rather than getting caught in month-long approval processes. It needs to be prolific at creating content. Importantly, it requires putting the customer’s needs ahead of your sales goals. Give the people information and let them make up their own minds.

Resources.

Yes, this will require people and money. However, probably not as much as your company is accustomed to spending on marketing. You need to put together the team – whether internal, outsourced or a combination of the two – that will operate this newsroom.   And give them a measure of autonomy.

Will this be easy? No – it’s transformation; by definition, this is a big change. But with vision and commitment, and maybe a little help, you can do it.