Forget about ‘content management’–and focus on ‘audience development’

paidContent by Ben Elowitz

Media companies have collectively spent billions of dollars on content management systems. As they upgraded their offline businesses to the digital world, they turned to big enterprise systems to organize their content in an orderly digital database. And whether via internal systems or a purchased system, each piece of content knows its place, and the digital migration of media is a fait accompli.

But after so much investment in such important systems, why are media companies still miles away from a profitable model? In part, it’s because these intricately designed systems have been based on one big misunderstanding: that a media company’s most valuable asset is content.

Content is just a means to an end. The end – and media’s greatest asset – is audience.

Advertisers don’t pay to reach content – they pay to reach audience. And building an audience that will earn you advertising is only partly about content. In truth, just as much hinges on distribution. If your delightful content can’t find and catch the attention of your audience, the value of your content drops to zero. If a tree falls in a forestread more...

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