Creating a Process to Acquire Content Assets In March of 2014 I sat in a marketing meeting with one of the largest producers of consumer goods in the world. The discussion centered on building audiences through content in various markets. In some of the markets, the company already had a solid content platform built. In others, there was nothing on the horizon. The plan being discussed was an acquisition strategy of multiple properties where the organization would approach and, if terms were worked out, buy blogging sites and/or media properties that already had a built in audience and content platform. Sometimes it makes sense to build. Sometimes it makes sense to buy. Two Things There are two things that blogging sites and media companies have that we want and need. The first is the capability to tell stories. They have the people and processes to churn out amazing content on a consistent basis. The second, and maybe more importantly, is that blogs and media sites come with built-in audiences. Although mergers and acquisition strategies have been happening ever since the first media company was launched, non-media companies are starting to get into this game recently. Photography supplies store Adorama put a buying group together when JPG magazine was going out of business. Not only did they get access to JPG’s Content Inc. platform and content, but also their 300,000 subscribers (which just happen to be Adorama’s prospects and customers). L’Oreal, the global makeup conglomerate, purchased Makeup.com from Live Current Media for over one million dollars back in 2010. Marketing automation company, Hubspot, wanted to add an agency blog to match their marketing and sales blogs, so they approached Agency Post and acquired it instead of starting fresh. As you build out your Content Inc. strategy to grow your industry dominance, acquisition strategies are a natural path to follow. SIDEBAR Scott McCafferty and Mike Emich founded WTWH Media, LLC in 2006 after running a boutique media rep firm. Nine months previous, Scott attended sales meetings with six different publishing operations. At those meetings, Scott noticed a consistent trend: when he brought up online advertising solutions, every publisher told him to stay focused on selling print pages. Scott knew he needed to make a change. Scott and Mike went ahead and developed a comprehensive business plan with close to 50 pages of detail pages of projections and assumptions. While most of the plan proved worthless, there were to critical factors that remain true today. They believed readers would take control of their information channels and marketers would require measurable results from their investments. As the business grew, Scott often referred to business advice he received from David Murdock, Chairman and CEO of Dole Food Company. In a social meeting with Mr. Murdock, Scott asked him how he bought and sold companies. He stated that he simply made a list of the industries in which he want to acquire a business in and a list of companies he wanted to purchase. He then would call each owner and ask them if they wanted to sell. Some would say yes, some would say no. Applying Mr. Murdock's advice, Scott made lists of web sites in technologies that WTWH covered. He then emailed the owners asking if they would consider selling. Over an eight-year period, WTWH has identified and negotiated five transactions applying this principles. Along the way, he recognized a certain mix of common ingredients within each transaction. Typically, the sites were community based with active user group. They were owned and operated by a single operator who viewed the business as a hobby. Today, WTWH Media, LLC is a 4x, Inc. 5000 honoree with close to 50 team members headquartered in Cleveland, OH. The company manages close to 40+ technology based websites, 5 print publications, a series of vertical events and provides marketing services in the design engineering, renewable energy, fluid power, and medical markets. In 2015, the company forecasts close to $11 million in sales.