Rapid growth of content marketing means we’re ALL publishers now

Why every company is now a media owner and a self-publisher …

by Brian Oliver

“The medium is the message” wrote Marshal McLuhan, the Canadian communication theorist, in his famous 1964 book Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man.

McLuhan believed that the form of a medium embeds itself in the content it carries, creating a symbiotic relationship by which the medium actually influences how the message is received.

Historically, the medium (and therefore the message) was always controlled by somebody else: usually the powerful media owners who ran national newspapers, influential magazines, TV channels and radio stations.

As a result, companies had to rely on buying advertising space (‘paid media’) or gaining editorial coverage (‘earned media’) in order to spread the word about their products or services and engage with their target audience.

In the case of ‘earned media’, this meant continually having to compete for a limited amount of editorial space via print or broadcast media – without having any control over how (or if) a brand story was used.

But all that is changing.


The Web (which McLuhan predicted almost 30 years before it was invented) has completely revolutionised the way in which companies can communicate with their clients, customers, investors, and other stakeholders.

The medium may still be the message, but control of the medium has shifted dramatically. Thanks to the Internet, it is now firmly in the hands of companies and brands themselves. And that includes yours.

With the help of content marketing specialists and skilled brand journalists, any size of company can now be a media owner. Any brand can now be a self-publisher, with absolute control over its own medium … and therefore its own messages.


If your company hosts the occasional case study, blog post, press release, or white paper on a domain you control and own, you’re already employing some of the basic publishing, programming, and delivery concepts that media publishers have been using for years.

Content marketing simply takes this form of self-publishing to a more strategic level, with the content itself carefully planned and sustained. 

Brand-owned media can now range from customer-focused blogs, themed magazine-style microsites and social media content … to targeted eNewsletters, interactive digital magazines, videos, podcasts, webinars, white papers, eBooks and eGuides.

As well as hosting videos and podcasts on your own website, you can now even set up your own branded TV channel and radio station using platforms such as YouTube and SoundCloud.

Brand-owned media and self-published content can now be marketed holistically across other networks such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+. 

There are now more tools for sharing content than ever before. And quality content that is engaging, relevant, informative and entertaining will continue to be shared for years to come.


Building a platform of compelling and original content can have a positive effect on your business. It can help build brand loyalty, establish real thought leadership, boost sales, and gain valuable permission to market to potential new customers (because they have chosen to ‘opt in’ to your content).

Most importantly, though, being a self-publisher provides a unique opportunity to develop a direct link between you and your customer. No more middlemen. No more relying on media companies for coverage.

But to succeed as a self-publisher you can’t just produce content at random.

You have to take time to understand your target readership (i.e. your customers) and identify the themes that matter to them. You need a ‘readership’ acquisition strategy based on defined company goals, and a long-term vision of the kind of stories you want to tell in order to influence your audience.

In other words, when developing a content strategy you have to start thinking like a publisher too … 

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About the author:

Brian Oliver is a business journalist and the MD and founder of UK strategic communications consultancy Focus Marketing Communications


CONTENTED MARKETER Magazine is brought to you by content marketing specialist Focus Content Marketing

Visit our website at: Focus Content Marketing


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