I was at a meeting yesterday hosted by the New York: Media Information Exchange Group, founded by Bill Sobel, about new media.
The speakers were Jim Turner (A&E), Dina Kaplan (blip.tv), Ben Harris (IBM), and moderator was John C. Havens (author of About.com Guide to Podcasting and affiliated with a ton of other things).
I heard two things from the panel mainly between Dina and Jim.
From Dina, the more “hype” side of the Internet where anyone can reach millions and that gate keepers are done away with online. And the more reality of the Internet from Jim, how A&E is using the Internet to drive their business. Both sides were enlightening for small businesses.
Here’s the deal. While the Internet does give you a potential audience of MILLIONS, just because you build a web site or make a podcast does not mean anyone will listen. Even though you can create your own “online radio show” and not have to submit to ABC Radio for example to reach an audience, you still have to GET the audience, even if its online. There’s four levels of online audiences:
1. The BIG guys – like Yahoo, MSN, Google, AOL, and many other traditional media players who have their own radio, TV, print brand AND huge online properties.
2. There’s smaller players such as blip.tv and others who are not as big as these mega brands but do have pretty big following. Youtube.com for example when from this group to the first group via word of mouth mainly – but this does NOT happen often.
3. There’s then smaller players with still decent audiences, 5,00 readers here, 40,000 listeners there and etc
4. Then there are those who a) have their own businesses (not media companies) and are using the Internet to reach them and grow their business.
5. The fifth group is the guy writing about his cat and has an audience of one.
What does this mean to you?
Don’t listen to the Internet hypsters who tell you that you can build a web site or do an online movie and either a) get rich or b) have million see your creation. It doesn’t work that way most of the time.
However, if you already have a business you CAN use the Internet to a) facilitate better communication amongst your current customers and b) grow your business by finding new customers online!
Entrepreneur Magazine has a great article on some useful tools.