But One other Motive Not To Construct Your Content material Dwelling on Rented Land


It looks as if an excellent time to speak about rented land once more.

This week, Twitter accepted Elon Musk’s bid to buy the corporate in a leveraged buyout and take it non-public. Apparently, Musk loves the product a lot that he purchased the corporate.

Does that sound acquainted? Gen X and Child Boomers may keep in mind the catchphrase “I favored it a lot, I purchased the corporate” from Remington electrical shaver commercials within the Eighties.

The seemingly ubiquitous advertisements featured Remington Merchandise President Victor Kiam explaining how he’d been a devoted blade shaver earlier than his spouse gave him a Remington Micro Display shaver. Kiam purchased the corporate in 1979 (in one other leveraged buyout) and took it from dropping $30 million a yr to profitability in just one yr.

His position because the spokesperson for the Remington shaver made the model a cultural phenomenon.

And it’s a protected wager that Musk will rapidly turn out to be one of many (if not the) most notable spokespeople for Twitter. Solely time will inform whether or not he can duplicate Kiam’s success – particularly since he’s such a polarizing determine.

@ElonMusk favored #Twitter a lot, he purchased the corporate. (Bear in mind these Remington advertisements?) Will he be as profitable as Victor Kiam? @Robert_Rose has some ideas through @CMIContent. Click on To Tweet

Everybody – from Twitter customers to observers to staff – appears to have a powerful opinion in regards to the firm’s acquisition and future. In a current ballot of Twitter staff, 44% stated they have been “impartial” on Musk, 27% stated they beloved him, and 27% stated they hated him.

One factor’s for positive – the deal offers Musk full management over the social media community.

The dangerous enterprise of constructing content material properties on rented land

At CMI, we’ve been warning individuals to not construct their content material properties on rented land for almost a decade. CMI founder Joe Pulizzi and I usually get credit score for that warning. However we took our inspiration from one thing we learn on Wired founder John Battelle’s (nonetheless wonderful) weblog method again in 2014.

Battelle wrote:

For those who’re going to construct one thing, don’t construct on land another person already owns. You need your individual land, your individual area, your individual sovereignty.

This phrase restated recommendation from an earlier put up and talking engagements:

If you’re a model, writer, or impartial voice, don’t put your taproot into the soils of Fb.

I’m not gonna lie. The revision works significantly better than the unique.


Battelle was referencing the rising notion amongst manufacturers on the time that web sites and different owned media have been unneeded. Ten years in the past, many entrepreneurs thought the quick progress of Fb Pages made it a good suggestion to construct their total on-line presence inside Mark Zuckerberg’s walled backyard.

Right here’s the issue: Investing in “rented land” (e.g., social media) means spending on one thing you don’t personal. You’re risking your total funding on a platform whose leaders may make adjustments that don’t profit you.

Over-investing in #SocialMedia means you’re risking your #ContentMarketing finances on platforms you don’t management, says @Robert_Rose through @CMIContent. Click on To Tweet

Cautionary tales have emerged about total audiences wiped away by algorithm updates or different adjustments that took the worth of being on a platform like Fb (or Twitter) to zero.

However what in case your viewers loves these platforms? Doesn’t it make sense to spend time the place your viewers does?

Let’s break that recommendation down.

What “rented” means

The primary confusion arises from what “rented” means. Any content material platform you don’t management is rented land. Any platform that doesn’t permit fast entry to all of your content material and everybody in your viewers is rented land (no matter whether or not you pay for the house to construct or promote your content material).

You’re on rented land when you rely upon a platform’s algorithm (or paid promotion) to ship your content material to an viewers (Fb, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, and so forth.)

However social media platforms aren’t the one landlords. Any community the place entry to the viewers or your content material is on the platform’s discretion, together with podcasting distribution networks like Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, and long-form or multimedia platforms like Medium or Clubhouse.

The way to use your rental the appropriate method

Renting isn’t a nasty factor. Discovering your viewers on rented platforms is vital for content material and advertising technique. However consider these platforms as rivers, not lakes. Use them to stream customers to your individual dwelling (an internet site, useful resource middle, electronic mail publication, and so forth.).

Take into consideration easy methods to encourage guests on a rented platform to go to your property. Bear in mind, a social media platform’s objective is to get you to assist construct their viewers. Your objective must be to make use of a social media platform’s viewers to assist construct yours.

Construct an outpost, however personal your property

I usually hear pushback in regards to the recommendation to keep away from constructing on rented land. The argument goes like this: Entrepreneurs don’t have any selection however to put money into rented land as a result of that’s the place our audiences are.

I agree. This isn’t a zero-sum recreation.

However don’t get hooked on the push of discovering audiences on social media or different rented platforms. I’ve watched manufacturers pour cash into social media platforms solely to see their preliminary site visitors and engagement ultimately go up in smoke.

What to construct

Sure, you’ll be able to and will construct on rented land. However solely construct stuff you’re keen to lose or you can simply switch elsewhere. Any marketer who ignores search engine advertising does so at their peril. The identical is true of social media.

So, use social platforms, podcasts, and different rented lands to attain audiences. However don’t construct a method designed to maintain them there. That strategy advantages the landlords in the long term, not you.

You’ll be able to (and will) construct on rented land, so long as you solely construct what you’re keen to lose or can simply switch, says @Robert_Rose through @CMIContent. Click on To Tweet

Subletting via influencers is renting, too

Creating relationships with trade influencers, celebrities, and different content material creators has turn out to be one of the crucial vital go-to-market methods.

Working with an influencer helps you to entry their credibility to convey your model or product story. You’re banking on their affect with an viewers to offer a “halo impact” on your model.

Craft the appropriate settlement

Simply as your technique with social media platforms ought to direct their viewers to your property (owned) property, your strategy with influencers must be to guide their viewers to you.

However influencers need to hold audiences loyal to them, not you.

This stress is wholesome – till it isn’t. For instance, one massive B2C model we labored with just lately featured an up-and-coming pop star as an influencer. However each point out of the star on the model web site merely linked to the upcoming live performance tour. How did that profit the model?

Do not forget that individuals evolve (and generally devolve) over time, simply as algorithms do. Watch out about constructing something that depends an excessive amount of on an influencer who could change in methods you’ll be able to’t management.

The home at all times wins

Elon Musk has taken the recommendation to keep away from constructing your property on rented land fairly actually. He discovered he’d already invested sufficient time and vitality into land he couldn’t management. So he purchased the land.

Will Twitter go the way in which of Remington Merchandise, with a brand new proprietor and spokesperson elevating the model and resonating with new audiences? Perhaps.

Within the meantime, everybody who has invested in a Twitter presence finds themselves going through the whims of a brand new landlord.

Ralph Waldo Emerson as soon as wrote, “In a tavern, everyone places on airs besides the owner.” He meant that nobody is themselves within the public sq. besides the one who owns the sq..

I feel it’s truthful to adapt that quote for Twitter and different rented platforms, the place no person will get free speech besides the owner.

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Cowl picture by Joseph Kalinowski/Content material Advertising and marketing Institute


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