We’re living through the biggest shakeup in media distribution ever seen.

Every day more consumer attention shifts away from traditional media into digital and social media platforms.

What’s more, media distribution is no longer controlled by a few companies. Today, anyone can record and distribute content across a variety of platforms.

Yet, most brands haven’t yet caught up. They’re still hoping to reach their customers using outdated media techniques of last century. They’re still marketing like it’s 1994.

Here at Hustlr, we operate in this “white space” of opportunity captialising on current consumer behaviour, while others are still debating whether this shift is actually happening.

Some of our core beliefs can be summarised as:

1. It’s A Battleground For Attention

You’ve got a great product. Cool.

You want to tell everyone about how good it is, what it’s made from and why they need to buy it. Great.

But wait. Before you start “selling”, you need people to listen first. You need people to give you their attention.

The problem is that attention is scarce. It’s a finite and precious resource. We, as consumers, have learned to protect our time very carefully. We have become very good at determining quickly whether something is worthy of our attention or not.

While you think your product is super interesting, the cold truth is that most people don’t think so. They’re interested in themselves. So in order to get their attention, you need to build your content, first around them, not you.

We’re not just competing with other companies in our particular industry, we’re competing with every single distraction that is vying for the attention of our end consumer.

So before you tell your own story, make content that’s relevant to your audience. Make it interesting, entertain them, or make them smarter by educating them about something.

2. Think Like a Media Company

The internet is the great disruptor in media enabling all of us to produce and distribute content.

If you publish a podcast, you’re effectively a radio station. If you blog, you’re a newspaper. If you publish video on social media, you’re a television network. None of these things were possible before the internet unless you were a multi-million dollar media company.

But now, thanks to the internet, every business is a media company.

We can learn a lot from the way media companies operate because, these businesses are totally dependent on consumer attention.

Think about a tv broadcaster like Channel 7 or Channel 9. Their goal is to attract audiences to their shows so they can sell ads against those eyeballs. They think about the audience first in order to attract as much attention as possible.

So they create shows like ‘My Kitchen Rules’ and ‘Married at First Sight’ to build their audiences.

If we think of our own businesses as media companies, we need to find out own versions of shows likes these.

We need to move away from the idea that we’re creating ads to fit into the commercial breaks of the shows. This is outdated thinking. It’s 2020 and, since we’re all media companies, we can create the actual shows.

3. Give Away As Much Value As Possible

Once you understand that the attention of the consumer is what matters, the question that follows is how to get it.

Think of it like a trade. If you want your audience to give you their valuable attention, your content needs to give something valuable in exchange.

The more value you give, the more likely you’ll get their attention.

Entertaining content is valuable because it makes your audience feel happy when they see it.

Most content on Instagram falls into the entertainment category. Consider how much of your feed is consumed by beautiful locations, people and funny memes.

For example, The Fat Jewish has amassed a huge audience of over 10 million followers on Instagram by entertaining people with timely, culturally relevant content.

You can also provide value to your audience by educating.

Try to give away your “secrets” (most of them are already published on the internet already – go look).

We promise you, right now, your competitors are thinking about how they can provide more value than you to grab all the attention. Then they will occupy your space in the market as the thought leader.

4. Build Your Loyal 1,000 Fans

Too many businesses focus on social media as a vanity metric. They want their followers to reach an arbitrary number, like 100,000 people because they think potential customers will take a look at their social media and be impressed.

But this view is a warped perspective. Social media is not something to demonstrate your popularity to potential customers. Social media is where your customers are.

You don’t fake your way through social media to prove your worth to potential leads. You build valuable content to get discovered by potential customers who are on social media.

The truth is you don’t need a million followers, or even 100,000 followers. As Kevin Kelly wrote back in 2008, you only need 1,000 true fans.

These become your evangelists. They engage with your content and trailblaze the journey for others to discover you.

There’s no doubt that cultivating and coordinating a core 1,000 fans requires time, commitment and patience.

It’s hard to develop one-to-one relationships with 1,000 people whilst juggling all the day-to-day issues that confront you.

However, every business needs to find a mechanism to create long-term authentic relationships. 

5. Engagement Trumps Everything

There’s no better way to roundout this list with discussing the importance of engagement because it’s the culmination fo everything we’ve been discussing.

We’re acting like a media company and trying to capture as much attention as possible. We do this by making content in order to provide as much value as possible. We use engagement as the measure for how successful we are at making content that delivers value.

When you post something to these networks which provokes a reaction in someone who sees it, this is a good indicator that you’re providing value.

Every single comment on every post equates to time that a human being has taken out of their day to write something about your content. Pay attention to it and engage with it.

Try leaving a thoughtful reply to everyone who leaves a comment on any piece of your content. (We discuss it here.) It makes your business real and adds a personal touch. This is why we don’t advocate to use bots to automate any part of your engagement strategy. One-to-one personal relationships matter.

We live in the age of algorithms, where social media networks reward engaging content by showing it to more people who it thinks will also be interested to see it.

So more engagement means more discovery which leads to more opportunity.