Discovering the New Media

By Chuck Sink | September 14, 2023

Retiring the Old

The new media we discuss here isn’t as technologically new as you may be thinking. But there’s a new and growing trend toward an underused digital media resource.

Ever feel a pang of guilt when realizing you’ve been glued to a screen for 20 minutes and gained nothing? That’s how I feel every time I tune into any corporate media network or social media platform lately. There’s just nothing much of value there, in my opinion. And this opinion seems to be getting more pervasive among successful people.

Network television, cable television, and the typical hodge podge of selected streaming services cobbled together; all of this is old and dying media, similar to the decline of newspapers, but for different reasons. Social media have proven to be no great options as the corporations that run the platforms have their own agendas that largely control your newsfeeds.

Exhaustive Targeting

Advertisers are wondering where they can confidently invest to reach their target audiences and get a profitable return. Some are settling for lightweight “conversion” data or promised “brand lift” as their messages become diluted in a sea of competing ideas.

The really diligent advertisers spend a lot of time and money on sophisticated digital targeting, constantly dialing it in to deliver better conversions resulting in real sales. This approach surely works but it can be exhausting, keeping up with the constant technology and algorithm updates. Now content creators are using AI to literally generate robotic, knock-off content that offers little or no originality. It’s a chore to find great creative executions.

Am I being negative? No, I’m observing my industry carefully and honestly.

Consumer and Media Changes

There is a rather massive shift happening in advertising, promotion and public relations that has a lot to do with sensory overload and the hyper-competitive digital media space. Clients have been shifting away from the AOR (agency of record) model for years, trying more of a hybrid approach using referred boutique talent in a number of different specialties. These include brand strategy, design, video production, web teams, search marketing, media buying, etc… Results seem to validate moves to these hybrid marketing models. I sense no rush of clients running back to the large national and global agencies.

Now, advertising clients are becoming more cautious about which media channels and platforms they should be on, and where their messages will actually make it to their audience’s eyes & ears. Those audiences are less and less captive to any given network as people are seeking new and more independent sources of entertainment and information. Many are opting for more privacy, hence blocking ads and avoiding digital trackers when possible.

Abstract Facts with Concrete Realities

We live in an era of agenda-driven and often fake information, constantly hurled at us from every direction. Some folks are wisely disassociating themselves from the daily noise of mainstream corporate media. Instead, they are having conversations and sharing useful, factual information in more intimate or focused settings. And they are not missing out on anything. They are improving their lives while mass media consumers fritter away time.

The New Media Unfolding

Some of us are now subscribing to channels with voices proven to offer honest information and valuable content, voices we can trust. We can do very well in our businesses without always plugging in to stay up on trends. Instead, we tune in to the great minds and influencers of our choice, leaping ahead of our competitors in getting real insights on current affairs as well as learning and practicing proven success principles. And principles do not change. Ideas and theories change but principles cannot, or they aren’t principles at all.

Have you heard of Substack?

What about Medium, beehiiv, Mirror, or Ghost? These are widespread, community-focused blogging platforms that give users great tools for connecting, learning, sharing, networking, and of course making money. I’m not saying they will replace broadcast and social media, but they offer a fresh and more rewarding media experience for many of us.

When compared with the inescapable brand barrage or agenda-push in virtually all of mainstream corporate content, the new media blogging platforms offer thoughtful insights, advice and information in an interactive multimedia environment (sounds like website promotions in the late 1990s, LOL!).

Perhaps the best feature is you get to choose what authors, journalists, celebrities, and cool people you want to follow and learn from. The screen environment is more personal, intimate, custom, and engaging than all the social platforms. You don’t have to hear the identical, dubious default headlines and spin coming from CNN-NBC-CBS-ABC-FoxNews-NPR-WAPO-NYT!

Content is short form, long form, photography, video, slides, chats, podcasts, you name it. It’s modern, dynamic and thoughtful. The contributors have no power agenda to push. The only agendas are for the producers to share what they’ve got whether for free or for a fee.

There’s a culture of self-honesty and transparency that tends to govern the quality of content on these platforms. The contributors get you thinking in more positive ways about what’s really going on in the lives of folks. They are both anonymous and famous people who offer their ideas, knowledge and experiences for consumption. To me, it’s a place to spend quality time online, building on knowledge and inspiring ideas that can be applied in my life. All the other media are just too cluttered.

The Business of Blogs

When I talk generally about blogging to clients, I get either blank looks or hear things like, “Why bother? Nobody really reads them.” I understand. Nobody really cares about dry, duplicable business content.

However, people absolutely care about bettering their lives and learning all they can from trusted sources. That can include niche expertise in just about any field. Or it can include spiritual, motivational and coaching help. Podcasts and blog subscriptions are up because thinking people are refocusing on the things that matter rather than the spin and chatter.

Those who have what it takes to blog high-value content are charging for it very successfully and some advertisers are recognizing the quality of audiences spending time with these bloggers and podcasters.

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