The BLG Blog

Posts & articles that have helped thousands build performance through pragmatic leadership.

Media Companies on the Edge: Should Businesses Invest in Social Media Campaigns?

Traditional media companies are turning to online videos in order to attract a new generation of fans and followers.

Media companies from Forbes to Fast Company have their own ‘video’ sections on their websites—as well as their usual article offerings.

That’s right, even the New Yorker has a few videos proudly displayed.

What can their transformation teach the business world and leaders?

What Can We Learn From This Media Revolution?

It’s wise for traditional media companies to realize that they aren’t exactly in the business of selling books or articles, but rather distributing needed/desired information. So, it’s no surprise that some established media companies, knowing their audience is increasingly online and equipped with smart-phones, are trying to produce interesting online video.

Traditional media’s desire to publish online content is similar to companies pushing for an increased social media presence in order to target and talk to a larger audience. However, as we have seen, efforts to use social media have sometimes failed…and badly.

So what does a business do? Risk reinvention in order to target a new generation of fans, but potentially lose focus…and customers? Or, stick to its core business, perfect it, and abandon all efforts to remain cutting edge?

The problem is highlighted best in the media industry. Let’s look at two examples of media firms that have either chosen to embrace the internet or merely accept it.

Successful Online Reinvention:

HarperCollins: You can’t leave your house in the morning without hearing about the ‘death of print’. However, HarperCollins refuses to lay down and collect dust. They have decided to kick their online presence into overdrive and host a series of highly produced videos that revolve around their newest offerings…. Interviews with authors and book ‘trailers’ are targeted for a younger audiences and they only have room for improvement. HarperCollin’s idea is novel and it certainly hasn’t won them any enemies. If they can keep it up–they’ll be rewarded with new, younger, readers.

Successful Offline Energy:

The Economist: Although The Economist has a ‘video/audio’ section on it’s site–it’s success is marginal. In fact, the Economist doesn’t even bother trying to get listed on Google, nor does it thirst for blog link-backs. And, as this amazing article points out, The Economist even forgot to buy the domain name “” and was left with “” Even though they lack a web presence The Economist is increasing sales (and more advertisers!) with their solid print-magazine–when every other magazine is bleeding money. Consumers enjoy The Economist because its print is focused, short, and is (or at least tries to be) above the sensationalism and “t0p 1o” lists of the internet. Instead, The Economist comes off like a well-read mediator that chooses his talking points wisely.


Media companies and businesses alike are standing at a cross roads. Either they can full-heartily pursue online technologies and social media campaigns or they can focus on what they do best. Looking at the media industry we can see that success can come by implementing either strategy well. In the wider world of business the same lesson can be learned. Keeping ‘current’ and ‘2.0’ can revolutionize a business, but it can also hopelessly distract it.



About BLG

Whether you want BLG to deliver a complete leadership academy across your organization, focus on a key group, or supplement an ongoing program, the primary goal of any of our programs will be business impact.

Recent Posts


Sign up for our Newsletter