The Power of the Media

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Definition
‘The media’ refers to the different channels we use to communicate information in the everyday world. ‘Media’ is the plural of medium (of communication).

Why is it so Important?

Did you know that media is a more powerful tool than advertising? It is a proven fact that readers have more belief in a published story (editorial) than they have in paid advertising. People also ‘pass on’ and share interesting press articles or radio interviews they read or hear to others, increasing the effectiveness of a press message or story.
The media is an extremely effective channel to create awareness about your business, highlight exciting new developments in your organization, drive traffic to your door or generate a perception you would like the public to have about your company, products and services.
In addition, in most cases media exposure is free, making it one of the most cost-effective promotional tools available to the small business owner. Used correctly, it can be a very powerful way indeed to promote and drive the growth of your business!
Types of Media
There are many different channels through which we communicate. The most relevant media for you as a small business owner are:

BROADCAST MEDIA

  • Radio
  • Television
  • PRINT MEDIA
  • Magazines
  • Newspapers

ELECTRONIC MEDIA

  • Internet (Websites, SEO)
  • Social Networking (Twitter, Facebook etc)

Advertising is also a form of media, one that can be carried out through many communication channels. However, for now we are only assessing media channels that exist in parallel to paid advertising, as highlighted above.

Below we look at the different media in a bit more detail.

Broadcast Media
Television and radio are two of the most important media for spreading ideas and information across the globe. How many households do you know that don’t have one or both of these devices? Radio, in particular, is a medium that is not restricted to households in first world countries, and is used widely in SA & Africa.

The majority of the world’s population still relies on broadcast (as opposed to reading, either electronically or in print form) information for its awareness of what the rest of the world is doing, especially in rural areas where radio is king.

Print Media
Magazines and newspapers (or the Print Media) are the two oldest media channels of communication – they have been going strong for 300 years! With the rise of the internet many media experts believe print media will gradually become obsolete, but if you visit CNA or look at one of the many newsstands dotted around our cities, you will see an ever-increasing array of titles, so it looks as though print media will be with us for some time yet. In America alone, more than 56 million newspapers are sold every day, and 60 million every Sunday!

While people look to the internet and TV for immediacy in news, they use newspapers for more in-depth information about stories, and to get that information in their own time, at their own pace. It takes a lot to beat a newspaper on the morning train to work, or with a cup of coffee at lunch!

Newspapers are usually owned by big media corporations who also own TV & radio stations, other newspapers and magazines, internet service providers, publishing companies etc. In SA, examples include Naspers and Media 24.

Electronic Media
The Internet is the dominant media form of the 21st century, just as TV was in the 20th Century. It is difficult to imagine NOT doing research, sending messages to friends, searching for products and prices or just surfing around for cool sites via this medium, but this is technology that has only been widely available since the mid-1990s. However, just a little over a decade down the line we seem to be totally dependent on being wired in to the Information Superhighway.

The Internet is now an absolutely essential form of the media, upon which other, older media are becoming reliant. Magazines and newspapers publish online versions. Radio stations broadcast globally via the Net. TV shows rely on internet interaction. Email is the dominant form of business and personal communication.

If you are planning on using the media to promote your business in the 21st century, you simply have to have a good working knowledge of the internet!

Next time we will look at how to go about developing media contacts – don’t miss it!