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Sub-channels & pre-owned media: A new way to think about your journey up the content creation ladder

This idea was an eye-opener for me, and may well change the way you think about - or at least approach - owned media

Over the years, I’ve become a champion for business owners building out their owned media network so they can grow their audience, in turn lessening their reliance on having to pay for advertising or rely on the social media algorithms to treat them fairly.

My starting point is developing an ‘owned media’ property e.g. an email newsletter, podcast, blog, video show (published to YouTube, but also housed on your own website/blog), or a regular video live-stream or digital magazine.

Drilling a bit deeper, how can we turn that owned media property into a ‘destination show’; in other words, building a sub-brand that over time becomes a ‘back door’ into your world.

THINK: Daily/weekly/fortnightly/monthly ‘appointment’ viewing, reading, listening:

And, if you’re smart about it, you can mix ’n’ match a number of the different modalities, as listed above. 

For example, record a live-stream - repurpose that for a podcast, publish the resultant video on YouTube, turn the recording into a blog post (using an AI tool such as CastMagic to help you transcribe the recording and pull out insights and informational nuggets) - and of course, you can then use that content to put together an email newsletter to send out to your list of subscribers.

And of course, your blog can always be re-imagined as a newsletter (and vice-versa).

BUT … I’m getting ahead of myself :)

I do excited about the opportunities available to business owners to get a leg-up on their competition by being smart with how they use PR, content and digital communications. Creating a regular audio or video show, or editorial publication, I think is a savvy way to gain attention (for all the right reasons) as well as build an audience for your ideas, insights and expertise.

Now, this is fine for motivated entrepreneurs who have been experimenting with content and social media over the years.

But sometimes, I need to pull back on the reins a bit and encourage those business owners who have been sitting on the sidelines a bit, waiting for extra clarity as to why they should burst forth with enthusiasm around this whole content creation thing.

Introducing ‘pre-owned media’

Which brings me to an idea that I think will sit perfectly with this latter group of business owners who don’t want to tackle anything too onerous straight away, but still want to start with a small but manageable content project. 

I’m calling it ‘pre-owned media’ - the smaller-scale content activity (or activities) you focus on before taking on a bigger owned media project.

This concept was an a-ha moment that slapped me in the face while chatting recently with Andrés López-Varela, a genuine thought leader in there world of content and digital marketing [listen to the full interview here].

When it comes to content creation, Andrés is a believer in not taking on too much straight up, for fear of flaming out due to the responsibility of producing a weekly podcast or newsletter, or fortnightly YouTube show.

He says it’s better to work up to the commitment of producing your first ‘destination show’ (or flagship editorial publication) no matter what the modality you choose to go with.

Fair call!

In our chat, Andrés suggested business owners who are keen to produce an owned media property should perhaps start off small and test their content hook or theme or idea via a ‘channel within a channel’ *

What is a channel-within-a-channel?

The idea of a channel-within-a-channel - a sub-channel, as it were - is acknowledgement that the game has changed with social media, and that many of the platforms have in fact become a collection of channels, rather than being wholly and solely THE channel.

For example:

  • INSTAGRAM has Reels, Stories, Broadcasts, live-streams … plus the main image-based feed

  • LINKEDIN has the main feed, but also newsletters, audio events, live-streams, groups etc.

In other words, why not just focus on Instagram Stories instead of all the other sub-channels within the overall Insta channel? 

Why not just zero in on LinkedIn live-streams for the bulk of your content, without worrying too much about the other bells and whistles on the platform?

Or, as Andrés puts it: “Don’t think about social media as just a feed”.

Makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?

But, only if you’re at the beginning of your journey, or you’re ‘going back to the well’ in terms of starting over with your content creation efforts.

Not sure if you want to make a big impact that one channel is going to cut it. But as a starting point ——> 👍

So, the two things you need to think about, if you’re starting out and are serious about making a dent with your content:

(1) Before embarking full-on into an owned media property (and potentially flaming out as Andrés suggests might happen), consider a ‘pre-owned strategy’ - the things you do BEFORE committing to that podcast, newsletter, live-stream or YouTube video show.

(2) Starting thinking about channels-within-a-channel — which platform reaches your audience, and what ‘channels’ exist within the platform that you can leverage to build an audience, test an idea, get people excited about your content?

NOTE: These two concepts are intertwined.

Pre-owned media is the strategy, channel-within-a-channel (which one are you going to choose?) is the tactic.

Also - please note - I’m not talking about becoming an independent content creator who’s creating a mini-media company (and then launching a business off the back of it), but rather, the business owner who is building out their own media network to support their enterprise and commercial goals.

What do you think of this idea of being laser-focused on one social media sub-channels as a way of moving towards a commitment to building out a more robust primary owned media channel?

Hit reply and let me know, I’d love to see if this idea resonates!


* Andrés credits Edwin Smith (The Social Sandwich) with coining the idea about channel-within-a-channel - I love it, so simple … yet powerful! Given we were talking about owned media, the concept of doing something around ‘pre-owned media’ quickly became apparent; it’s something - if relevant to you and your situation - that you should maybe consider in order to move forward and start putting heat on your competition.





I help business owners become clear and confident in how they leverage PR, content and digital communications to build their brand and grow revenue.

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