2010 priorities for media owners

Now that 2009 is a rapidly fading bad dream, it’s time for media owners to look ahead and set their priorities for 2010. Based on the businesses that I have seen succeed in the last year, and the trends in how people consume media, here’s my take on what needs to be on your to-do list for the next 12 months.

1. Tune up your media sales

After two tough years, 2010 should see an upturn in marketing budgets. I’m currently launching a b2b show in the specialist media sector, and have been pleasantly surprised by the number of businesses that are keen to exploit new marketing opportunities. Just as you are thinking about your own fitness in January, now is the time to check that your media sales team are at the top of their game and ready to sell multi-media solutions to current and future clients. More details on the 5 essentials for media sales teams in an earlier post.

2. Work your content assets hard

Any established media owner has significant content – whether product reviews, how-tos, profiles and interviews – that can be repackaged into different formats – print, mobile, web – and sold to a new audience, or as a special or compilation for existing customers. Consider yourself lax if a piece of content only has one life. Don’t forget too that online content works as marketing for your brand – see my tips on why content is marketing.

3. Build relationships with your best customers

If you don’t have a database, find reasons to build one from your current readers and visitors. If you already have a database and are communicating regularly, find a way to package up a subscription to your best content. Here’s some tips on new subs techniques that are helping print publishers. If you already have a base of subscribers, see if you can take the relationship further to turn them into valued, loyal members. See this post on creating profitable communities from media brands.

4. Experiment with new media channels

Who knows right now whether iphone or Android apps will proliferate, how many people will read digital editions, and whether the Nook, Sprint, Tablet or Kindle will light the fire for magazine content. I think the Spectator has the right strategy – they are experimenting with iphone apps, Kindle and digital editions, and also charging a subs rate for their online content. They don’t know which of these channels will fly, but they will find out faster by experimenting.

5. Create live events for your audience

With all this focus on personal screens, and typing as a means of communication, there’s still I believe a place for real life human face to face interaction – you know, that old-fashioned skill of talking to people and watching their reaction to what you say. Many media owners already include events, conferences and networking in their portfolio. If you haven’t yet, read these tips on turning your media brand into a meeting place and remind yourself of the special value of live events.

I’d be interested to hear about your own priorities for 2010 – feel free to comment below, or join the Specialist Media Network on linked in to discuss your ideas with other media owners.

Carolyn Morgan’s consultancy, Penmaen Media, creates practical digital media and marketing strategies, and has particular expertise in media businesses.  If you’d like to refresh your 2010 priorities, please contact us for an initial discussion.