Ryan Hanley

author, speaker, marketing geek

How Rich Media Content Marketing Could Destroy Small Business Marketers in 2013

Rich Media Content Marketing

In the marketers calendar, 2012 was named the Year of Content Marketing.

My guess, is 2013 will be known as the Year of Rich Media Content Marketing.

I’m not smart enough to understand where the tipping point happened, but all of the sudden every marketer realized that the content we produce online needs to deliver value and serve a business purpose.

So we began to create content with reckless abandon.

For some Big Box companies like LEGO, Nike, BMW and GEICO content marketing came naturally.  These companies leveraged their size and brand to create enormous amounts of content spread out over multiple blogs and every social media tool imaginable.  Through aggressive keyword research and strategy every market was flooded with target specific content.

{For more great examples of content marketing read this Content Marketing Institute eBook}

Why wouldn’t these mega-brands hire armies of marketers and copywriters to get their message online?

This is the age of Content Warfare… and we’re all trying to win the battle for attention online.

The interesting thing about content warfare, unlike any real battle, is the little guy has always had a chance to compete.  Especially at the local level.  At a local level the unfunded, under-resourced small business even has the opportunity to win the battle for attention online.

At least that was the case in 2012, when we all took to the blogosphere and social media to tell our story through content marketing.

The gap was narrowing.

The Google Penguin and Panda updates were a full frontal attack on low quality link building and content marketing strategies…

…and 2012 was the year that a huge budget couldn’t simply buy you the attention you wanted.

Attention had to be earned through quality content.

Small, local businesses who took their message of value and service and community to the Internet could actually show up higher in search results then their Big Box competitors who for so long monopolized page one Google Search results.

Rich media content marketing is again swinging the balance of inbound marketing power in favor of large brands.

While 2012 saw small business adoption of text based content marketing as a vital component of doing business, in 2013 large brand professional marketers are moving beyond text to rich media content marketing strategies such as podcasts, video, slideshows, eBooks and infographics to deliver their message.

My friend Srini Rao from BlogcastFM and The Skool of Life refers to these as “Larger bodies of work.”  The idea being that the content marketing rush of 2012 flooded the Internet with blog posts and in order to stand out from the crowd we have to produce larger bodies of work to tell our story.

The consuming public as begun to view regular text-based blog posts as the norm, the standard for doing business online.  You must have a consistent stream of regular text based blog posts to educate and entertain the consumers of your product.

But if you want to make a impact, if you want to stand out, if you want consumers to be invested in your brand and business you must produce larger bodies of work in the form of rich media content marketing.  Rich media takes consumers farther down the rabbit hole of who you are both as a person and a business.

Text based content draws consumers in but rich media establishes a much deeper relationship.

Professional marketers realize this and are moving forward.

Small business marketers do not and are about to fall behind once again.

So where I saw the 2012 content marketing revolution as a huge boon for small business, I see the move to rich media content marketing as a potential death stroke.


Because creating rich media takes time, effort, planning, creativity, vulnerability, humor, discipline, energy, passion and a little bit of art.

We past the point that small business marketers can “dip their toe” into content marketing.  This content warfare. If small business marketers don’t put in the word now there could come a day when attention is lost forever.


Small businesses have all those things.

Hell yes they do… and so comes the rub.

In the rich media content marketing game there is one huge advantage that professional marketers have and there is one huge advantage that small businesses have:

Professional marketers have resources.

Small businesses have maneuverability.

Because of the resources at the disposal of most professional marketers creating rich media is not going to be the hurdle, formatting their established brand message in way the Connected Generation responds is the hurdle.

Small businesses will certainly face the barrier of rich media creation, but formulating a message that addresses the need of local consumers in the way these consumers want to view it should not be an issue.

What I’m telling you is hope is not lost for the small business marketer!

Let’s Examine How Small Business Can Use Rich Media Content Marketing


To me the most intimate form of online content is podcasting.  Removing the visual aspect of the content focuses the mind on exactly what and how a message is delivered.  Is the individual passionate, silly, focused, or disconnected?  The Content Warfare Podcast is growing by 100s listeners every week.  Podcasts from A-listers like Michael Stelzner and Chris Brogan get tens of thousands of listeners every single episode.

Why is podcasting important to your business?

Simple.  Someone reads a blog post it might take 45 seconds.  If someone listens to your podcast you have their attention for 30 minutes.  That is a huge investment of time by the listener.  How much deeper and stronger a relationship are you building with someone who spends 30 minutes with your content than someone you spends 45 seconds?


There is absolutely no doubt that using video as part of your rich media content marketing strategy drives engagement, just take a look at my SEO experiment.  Video gives your consumers a look at who you really are.  It’s much harder to fake expertise in front of a camera than it is writing a blog post.  Don’t discount the importance of that fact.

Why is video important to your business?

First when I say video I really mean YouTube. I know there are other online video networks like Vimeo, but to me there is YouTube and everything else.  YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine after Google which means having a video presence on YouTube gives you access to an entire community of consumers you weren’t otherwise marketing to.  Additionally, Google loves YouTube (remember Google plays favorites) and ranks quality YouTube video in Google Search quite high.

Second, video allows us to tell our story or explain the value in our product in a much different way.  Humans, by nature are visual creatures.  So telling our story in a visual manner through video is going to have a distinct and lasting effect on the consumers who view it.


There has been quite a bit written about Slideshare (a social network for slideshows) being the sleeping giant of content marketing.  I’m not quite sure I’m ready to buy that yet…. Sleeping giant implies Slideshare could one day completely take over the rich media content marketing game.  I don’t believe that to be true.  However, I do think it could be just as important a tool as podcasting and video.

Why are slideshows important to our business? 

A good Slideshare presentation tells a story or makes an argument one thought at a time.  Bullet points are for losers.  A slideshow done right provides the viewer with one powerful concept after another each building a foundation for the message the creator is attempting to deliver.

I really like how easy Slideshare presentations are to consume and share.  Unlike a video or podcast where the consumer needs to block off time to take in the content, with Slideshare the content can be viewed at whatever pace or timing the viewer prefers.


After years of eBooks being created as low quality lead magnets for sleazy Internet marketers to build their email lists, it’s not surprising that eBooks are viewed by many professional marketers as a 2nd tier form of rich media.  Don’t believe the hype.  eBooks done right, written with the purpose of expanding upon a topic or idea that delivers value to the consumers of your product still have immense value as a form of rich media content marketing.

Why are eBooks important to my business? 

Content Warfare bookeBooks allow you dive deep into your products and service as well as the issues surrounding them. My straight job is marketing an independent insurance agency.  We’re currently creating a entire series of eBooks around maintenance and safety with the premise being, “Do these little things today, so don’t have to deal with big problems tomorrow.” Our eBooks will help insurance consumers reduce the opportunity of ever having to use their insurance.

I feel there is value in this information and I firmly believe the insurance consumers who download and read these eBooks will affix that value in return to our brand.  The same goes for the Content Warfare Book. Everyone who reads this eBook knows exactly how I go about content marketing and the steps they can take to implement those beliefs into their own blog.


Infographics allow us to tell a story or make an argument through a single image.  As mentioned above, humans are incredibly visual creatures.  There are many concepts that are simply easier to digest and understand when laid out in a visual format than written in a text blog post.  Infographics help us do that.

Why are infographics important to my business?

Infographics have a very powerful way of delivering information.  They also allow for a lot of creativity which helps distinguish our brand from that of our competitors.  Additionally infographics are heavily shared, meaning people love to share infographics in social media as well post other people’s infographics on their own blog or website.  This means your message, which may have died on your blog in text form, as an infographic has the opportunity to spread.

I’ve collected over 75 fantastic infographics on Pinterest if you’re looking for some more examples.  Click here to view my infographic pin board.

Source: copyblogger.com via Ryan on Pinterest

Embrace the Rich Media Content Marketing Revolution

As consumers demand more rich media, we as content marketers must be willing to go outside text based content to build the deeper relationships necessary to win the battle for attention online.

This content warfare… the fight of our online lives.

Thank you and Good luck,

I am Ryan Hanley and if you enjoyed this article you’ll love the Content Warfare Newsletter, get it here.

SPEAK YOUR MIND: How do you plan to use rich media in your content marketing? Do you think that small business marketers can compete without embracing rich media?

About Ryan Hanley

I help make sales easy through content marketing. My work as a marketing strategist, keynote speaker, and Amazon bestseller author will help your business establish authority, attract an audience and grow revenue. Hire me to speak at your next event or grab a copy of my new book, Content Warfare.

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  • Kenneth C Young

    As per this article on How Rich Media Content Marketing Could Destroy Small Business Marketers in 2013. I seen this coming as in my opinion with all the Google changes and big box companies already having their names developed Google in my opinion will set the ranks for the wealthy companies who have the money to make money online and I see us little guys eventually leaving the the dream of getting a good rank and making any kind of money online.

    Hope I am wrong however I see it coming

    Kenneth C Young

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley


      I’m not sure if you’ve been following the Google Authorship story, but I believe that Google’s desire to rank content by Author, meaning the actual human being, is going to be a huge boon for the small guy with an expertise.

      Just my thought.


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  • http://www.craigmcbreen.com/ Craig McBreen

    Hi Ryan,

    Really solid writing here. Loved it and this is one of the pieces that inspired my post today. It was like the trifecta today — I read your post, Joe Pulizzi’s latest and a piece from our friend, Mr. Sheridan. The content marketing wagon train 😉

    Anyway, love your points and these are all practices I will be jumping on in the coming months, and practices I will be pressing my current clients to get on. This is a battle, but I’ll fight the good fight. Mentioned your post in my newsletter today, and of course this applies to the individual blogger just as much as it does to the average business owner.

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley


      Joe Pulizzi and Marcus Sheridan are very heavy hitters in the content marketing game… If you watch them, patterns begin to emerge… We must go deeper with our content and it seems rich media is the best way to do that. I’m heading over to your blog to check your thoughts now.

      Thanks dude,


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  • http://www.aznetmarketing.com Mike Pedersen


    I’ve been content marketing for over 10 years now online, and have build one of my youtube channels to over 1 million total views, and over 2200 subscribers. I have written blog posts over 1200 words, with a video and up to 8 images, so I a believer in this, and more so than ever with google cracking down on all those scraper sites and blogs.

    IM’ers ruined it for a lot of us, but those of us with staying power and doing okay. I wish I would have picked a different niche all those years ago, but now have evolved, so I’m having fun again.

    I’ve really enjoyed your podcasts and would love to be revered in your circles as a legit content marketer. I”ll keep my fingers crossed on that one.

    I’m just now dipping my toes in slideshare and Scribd, and am always on the lookout for more powerful channels to share content.

    I think I may be the “old man” of the group, but I’ll accept that LOL.


    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley


      Best part about the Internet… Age doesn’t matter. All that matters is your energy and willingness to deliver value to your community over and over again. 1,000,000 total view is amazing btw. Seems like you’ve been adding value to your community for a while now.



  • http://www.swordandthescript.com/ Frank Strong

    Great post, Ryan and I’d add a point about infographics. That particular post on Copyblogger did well for a variety of reasons (right outlet, right time, audacious pronouncement), but it also did well because of that infographic. The point I’m trying to make, in the spirit of your post here, is that sometimes 1+1=3. Maybe not in math, but in the context of content marketing.

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley


      I think you’re right on the mark dude. Sometimes with rich media a little bit of time and right message can be a game changer.

      Appreciate the feedback…


  • http://autonize.com Naser

    Hi Ryan,

    Thanks for the tips. I agree with your points, especially about infographics, as they beautifully describe and contract a lengthy unreadable article into a good looking image with which readers can soak enough information easily.

  • http://www.fiorecommunications.com/blog Jeff Machado


    Any chance you could share your setup to create your podcast?

    What I love about this is that not only can small businesses make rich media content, they can also do it more efficiently and in an agile way compared to most larger brands. Of course, the danger here is that they confuse efficiency and being agile with cutting back on quality content – that would be bad news for all involved.

    I’m investing heavily in each of these media strategies for the upcoming year because I see the potential for using them to build relationships. The point you made about podcasting really solidified this for me because I used to listen to a lot of teleseminars and felt like I really KNEW the person doing them and thus I paid much more attention to them than their competition.

    It’s an exciting time, man. Thanks for writing this!

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley


      It most certainly is an exciting time… I’ll do a work up on podcasting and get that out in the near future (maybe I’ll try for next week). It definitely is a process but it’s not difficult. The benefits however over the long term are fantastic.

      Thanks dude


      • http://www.jasondmulholland.com Jason Mulholland


        I don’t podcast myself, but I listen to a LOT of them while driving. I’m sure whatever Ryan will put together on podcasting will be excellent and value packed.

        But I wanted to provide another resource. Pat Flynn introduced me to Leslie Samuel at becomeablogger.com. He’s got a podcast, video, resources on how to podcast: http://www.becomeablogger.com/14124/100-how-to-podcast-like-a-pro-and-never-edit/

        Ryan – Leslie’s enjoyable to listen to, maybe you two could have a jam session so to speak on how to podcast. Just a thought.


        • http://www.fiorecommunications.com/blog Jeff Machado


          Thanks for stepping in and sharing that resource. I’m going to check it out right now!


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