Are you in real estate? Don’t build your brand on rented land

Don’t build your brand on rented land

Rented land? We are a digital business, what are we renting but in this context our ‘land’ is on the internet.  For years, John Battelle, entrepreneur, technology innovator, and the founder of Wired, drilled into media and marketing professionals the idea of NOT building your brand on rented land.

As recently as two years ago, he clearly stated “If you’re going to build something, don’t build on land someone else already owns. You want your own land, your own domain, your own sovereignty.” Why? Because once you publish on someone else’s platform, you do not own the subscribers or assets associated with that content. Even if you build followers or fans on that platform, it doesn’t give you the right to communicate with them.

Once you publish on someone else’s platform, you do not own the subscribers or assets associated with that content. #contentfirst Click To Tweet

John went on, “Trouble is, so much of the choice land – the land where all the ‘people’ are – is already owned by someone else: by Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Yahoo, and Apple (in apps, anyway). These platforms are where … the people are, after all. It’s where the headwaters form for most of the powerful streams on the Internet. It’s tempting to build your brand on those lands – but my counsel is simple: Don’t. There’s plenty of land out there on the Rest of The Internet. In fact, there’s as much land as you want, and what you make of it is up to you as a publisher.”

Rented land?

So what is my point? Renting is fine, depending on what your goal is. But it needs to be known that every successful publishing operation – at one time or another – owns and has access to its assets. As certain networks get larger and more influential, the dark side of the force (The Facebooks and twitters of this world) will continue to reach out to you and pull you in that direction.

I’m all for leveraging as many social media networks as makes sense for you to accomplish your marketing goals, but make sure you know what you are getting into. You should get up every morning knowing that the beautiful “rentals” you’ve created on these networks may have been swallowed up overnight and become non existent.

If you keep that kind of perspective, you can focus on what you are truly trying to build, and whether there will be something left at the end of the day (or hour or minute).

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