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Your 2012 Shopping List: Buying a Media Company (you heard me!)

Back in 2009, I went around the country talking about how brands should start seriously looking at purchasing media/publishing companies in their industries as a core content marketing strategy.  Well, I’m back on that soapbox again.

I discussed this strategy in detail on today’s Bulldog Reporter webinar and in this recent blog post. This topic is so important that it needs its own blog post.

It’s Only Just Begun

The idea of a brand making a serious bid at a traditional publisher hit me back in 2001.  I worked at Penton Media at the time, one of the largest trade publishers in North America.  Penton covered approximately 50 different industries with industry magazines, online channels and events.

I went to the higher ups at Penton with an idea that Penton should consider selling its properties to eBay Business (Penton was hurting financially at the time).  eBay Business was launching and was just starting to become a serious strategy for eBay.  Since Penton had direct access to all eBay Business’s customers, I thought it was the perfect fit.

The idea went nowhere, but I still (to this day) believe there is a fit (Penton…hello?).

Then…in 2009

When I saw that Adorama (a photography supplies store) and a group of investors bought JPG magazine in 2009, I felt the tide was turning toward the idea that brands and media companies could be a match made in content marketing heaven.

Back to the Future

And now, Google has started to take a serious look at the idea with their purchase of restaurant review publisher Zagat.

Game over folks…let’s get serious.

Your 2012 Shopping List

Whether you are a small or big business, there are opportunities to purchase established media platforms today.  Here’s your to-do list:

  • Make someone in your marketing department responsible for the program
  • Put together a list of potentials that you’d like to have
  • Rate them first for “fit” – best fit or worst fit (based on message or niche)
  • Rate them for “probability” – most probable or least probable
  • Rank assets by brand value, staffing, channels, etc.

Once you have your list, discuss with your M&A team.  Then, make contact.

I’ve never met a publisher that wasn’t for sale, so it all depends on price.  Also, you might want to look for struggling brands that just need a influx of attention and resources (which you can provide).

Now open your wallets and make it happen!