Community Building June 2, 2020

Everyone is a Media Company

Gordon Frayne @gordon

I think it was Gary Vaynerchuk that I first heard utter this sentiment a few years ago.

In our increasingly connected digital world, the idea that everyone is a media company is becoming more common online.

I think this is also more important than ever for project builders and Indie Hackers.

"Personal branding is the story people tell about you when you're not in the room....All you have in your life is your name and the reputation you garner.”

Building personal brand and community is increasingly becoming a key component for success, even for digital startups and SaaS products.

"The cost of entry for being relevant in our society today, is content" - Gary Vaynerchuk

The stories we tell about ourselves and our products through content creation serve to broaden our reach online, while also helping us to refine our personal brand and product offerings.

Do you agree? Is everyone a media company whether they know it or not?

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    It seems to be these days. Everyone's in marketing. Everyone's in sales. Tech. Support. As Indie Hackers we wear all the hats. Turns out we also wear parent, spouse, child, friend, and many other hats as well ;)

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      Very true @witsuma. We must wear many hats and play many roles!

  2. 2

    This is so true. The size the media is going smaller but the units are going up.

  3. 2

    I disagree but I am happy that more and more people believe it to be true.

    I disagree because I was able to build a seven figures business being an absolute nobody online.

    I am not on the major social social and my biggest "platform" (my webflow's profile) has less than 20 followers.

    I started a second branch of my business online and already crossed 500k. I will expand with a third in the next week or so.

    And 99% of the credit goes to the fact that I am distracted by content production and becoming a personal brand.

    I am happy that everybody wants to be a media company because it eliminates a lot of competition for me. The main platform are more and more crowded every single day.

    Most people are there because everybody else is. And while the competition is increasing, the payoffs (for normal people) are decreasing.

    When everybody believes that something is a good investment, it stops being so.

    Most people will also become addicted (I talk from experience, as I deleted my facebook account in 2012 for this reason) and undermine their overall productivity.

    They will focus on vanity metrics that pump their ego but don't move the needle for the business.

    Yes, there are people who win big, but most end up neglecting the basic and maybe boring stuff that always leads to results.

    To prove my point, I could name several people even here on IH my several thousands, even tens of thousands of followers, that make less than 5k in revenue per month. And I believe that the reason why they do well on social media is the same they do poorly financially: it takes all their time and focus.

    IMHO it is a lot easier and also better for your overall quality of life, to become a big name in your industry and then start your "media company" than starting the media company to jumpstart your business.

    1. 2

      @lucarenga I ROFL'd at this:

      "I am happy that everybody wants to be a media company because it eliminates a lot of competition for me. The main platform are more and more crowded every single day."

      If I could add a giphy, it would be that guy pointing at his head:

      Keep focusing on building an amazing business!

      1. 1

        Ahaha, that GIF is a classic and thank you for the kind words!

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      Thanks for this insight @lucarenga. You make some great points. I think many of them are accurate too. There is definitely a point at which you hit diminishing returns for all the time spent content creating on these social channels.

      Can you give any insights into your own business and what it does? I can send you an email if you don't want to talk about it on IH.

      1. 1

        I have no problem sharing some insights about my business, I just can't do on mt profile as I don't have enough points yet.

        My first business was (not the original name, I rebranded it when I dediced to expand to have a more consistent brand image).

        It focuses on website design and development for big companies and VC funded scaleups. I was working for a famous marketibg company here in Milan, Italy, as a creative developer and it allowed me to build a good network that later became and still is my main source of revenue.

        The second brand is, which does the same but for small startups. I started it become most italian startups have embarassing websites. One of my big corporate client is also a mentor for the third largest italian accellerator so I quickly built a partnership with them that brings me 5-10 new clients every month.

        My third branch (not live yet) will be focus on super affordable but really high-qualitt templates. I figured out that they take less work than a custom website and can make more money if well promoted. We will focus on Webflow at first and see how it goes.

        You have probably have noticed two things: my businesses exists because of real life relationships and I have three brands that do the same thing (focus).

        I would call them friendship even more than relationship. For example, I was invitated with my brother (my cofounder) at the Christmas party of a big company last december and we were the only two people who didn't work there, with the exeptions of family members and partners. With some other, I go out every month. Now, do you think that I am afraid of losing them because they see the facebook ads of one of my competitors? Or because of a cold email?

        The second thing is the focus. I am building what Jim Collins would call the flywheel. I will make all the people who buy the template so happy that those who succeed will buy the custom website made by growthyak and those who made it to the highest levels by podyak. It something I am confident about because I am focused on building real relationships and we currently have 94% of customers who come back to get their website upgraded because of that.

        Now, this makes reflect on other poibts that I missed before.

        I have no competitors that can reverse engineer my website or my social media profiles and steal my traffic and clients.

        With tools like buzzsumo or ahrefs and a good budget, it is far from being hard to

        I am not afraid that my reach will be suddenly cut down or even worse that I could get banned.

        Other random thoughts:

        1. People who want you on social media usually make money from you being on social media.

        2. Spending 3-4 per day on social media, what skills will you develop that are valuable in other areas? I can see a lot of value, skillwise, in a blog, but in Twitter or Instagram? I sincerely can't see it.

        3. People understand that if you are starting on social media today, you want to gain something and they don't like it.

        4. The famous quote about the founders gavibg to wear many hats comes from the VC funded startups world, because founders have to find funding, hire, manage people, and so. Bootstrapped founders should focus, because they only have their time. Focus on the product and on relationship.

        5. I am not against content creation, in fact in september we will start creating content, but we will do so because we have the budget to hire an agency and never think about it for a few months. For most startups, there are many investments with an higher ROI.

        1. 1

          Thanks for these insights and sharing this breakdown @lucarenga. You seem to have some great experience.

          I love your focus on real world relationships and how your business relationships are more like 'friendships' as you say. This is amazing.

          "Relationships are the greatest wealth".

          I also like how you are building your 'flywheel'. You are creating your own 3 tier funnel and you are the beneficiary of the growth of your clients at every stage of the journey.

          I agree that founders need to focus on product and relationship. This is why I believe community building is such an integral part for early founders. For me, content creation and providing value up front is a strategy for building initial community.

  4. 2

    I think we should stop trying to be media companies and go back to being solid community denizens. Media companies are all trying to get attention and shout over one another. It's a zero-sum game. These aren't stories (and nobody is listening because they're either yelling or ignoring)...stories connect us. We share them.

    1. 2

      This is a great point @missrogue. Gary Vaynerchuk also describes how "marketers ruin everything" and I thought of that when you mentioned all the attention grabbing as a zero-sum game.

      You are right, as humans we resonate with stories that make us feel a connection to something greater than ourselves. Thanks for sharing your insight!

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        I didn't mean to be a party pooper on your message @gordon, but I've watched social evolve/devolve over the years and I, for one, was getting tired of the growing number of wannabe Gary Vees on multiple platforms. I was missing the conversations and sharing! It's interesting, though...the social distancing from COVID-19 has led to a LOT more focus on community again. I love it!

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          (I don't love the distancing and pandemic though! I hope it stays after everything is cleared!)

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            No I totally understand. I am also very aware of how social media in recent years has become; more media and less social.

            Lots of focus now on community building, remote relationships, and value creation which is great to see!

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              I see your point, Gordon, and I believe that you are doing a good work here on Indie Hackers.

              Keep going and good luck!

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                Thanks vey much @lucarenga. Chat again soon :) !