Our relentless search for the perfect selfie or group shot is another way phones have created endless competition in the digital media space. (Shutterstock)

Here’s a slightly terrifying exercise if any part of your business involves digital media and reaching people you want to subscribe, engage with your content or watch your advertisement. 

Take out your phone and scroll through the apps. Facebook, Insta, YouTube, Netflix, TikTok, Zoom. And those are just some of the big brands.

Don’t forget apps for email, texting, banking, driving, weather, sports, dating or chasing the perfect selfie. 

I won’t mention your super-secret apps because I don’t need to go there to prove this point: If you can do it on a phone, an iPad or a computer and your game is reaching digital eyeballs, all those apps and more are your competitors.

So your specific type of business doesn’t matter. If you’re in the digital space, you’re up against the likes of OpenTable, Amazon and iTunes. Every. Single. Day.

Winning over the grazers

Digital media has become an intense battle for attention — likes, clicks, comments and any other sign of human engagement. We have trained generations of readers to become grazers, scanning headlines and videos all day every day, but rarely paying much attention. We must know it takes truly great content to be king and hold those eyeballs, right? 

Gone are the days when a story or campaign had to be laid out, pasted up, typeset, printed in large format and trucked to businesses or hand-delivered to homes for a chance that someone would read it — hours, days or even months after its creation.

There no longer are barriers to entry; anyone can publish, providing immediate access to information. (That is not a bad thing, BTW.)

Digital is all day, every day

Today people consume content in real time — all day every day, from the sound of Alexa waking them each morning to that last look at a phone or watch before falling asleep. 

With all these options, how will you reach your audience? Do you have a plan? Maybe a big budget? A load of Google juice? Or access to a publisher’s first-party data?

Maybe you are just now dipping your toe in the digital waters. The internet is filled with tips and tricks to reach your audience, and there are plenty of good digital media and strategic communications companies if you want a custom approach. Whatever way you choose to move forward, the first step is recognizing your competition. Whether you can see it or not, it is headed your way — just like a perfect selfie — and you must be ready to compete for every set of eyeballs.

Kevin Whitmer spent more than three decades in the country’s most competitive media market. He is expert at building digital audiences. Today, he is president of a strategic communications and digital media company.  


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