Five lessons for business from the CMO of millionth media

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AmoMama was founded as a media project. Now it has grown into AmoMedia, an organization where, in addition to a publishing house, it creates YouTube channels and mobile applications

TECHNEWUK.COM

Initially, the business focused on Latin American markets and released the content of various formats on Facebook. Since 2017, the project has been scaled up. There are now projects in the USA, France, Germany, and Latin America. Now the coverage of all media formats has reached 1.5-1.7 billion per month.

Ivan Borokh – CMO of the AmoMedia project, shares his experience, and honestly talks about the errors made. The five main lessons of this business can be viewed as universal tools for every manager of a company.

1. Dependence on one key partner is a bad idea

Until recently, nine out of ten readers came to the AmoMama sites from social networks, primarily Facebook. Because of this, in 2017, the young media company experienced a sudden change in the algorithm when the platform decided to show users less content from the company. 

Many publications fell into bans and deprioritization lists, and traffic crashed by almost 40% In general, at the end of 2017, less than a year after the launch, the AmoMama project was in deep crisis.

“It was unclear what to do. A lot of publishers like us closed then,” Ivan says. “But then we got the first important lesson on diversifying sources  of profit. If, before that, we were interested in rapid growth and quick results, later, it became obvious that this behavior puts the business at risk. Dependence on one key partner is a bad idea if you are planning a long-term project.”

2. Optimize team costs, but work only with professionals

Now that the coverage of all AmoMama media formats is 1.5-1.7 billion per month, the team is continuously in search of remote authors – native speakers in places where there is a project running –  who do not need to come into the office all day.

A remote team is a winning solution for both parties as among the specialists may be pregnant women, or mothers on maternity leave, or people with disabilities. In an office, they would feel less comfortable or would not be able to work at all.

It looks like an excellent opportunity to optimize costs, but you should concede to always hiring specialists. It is essential to work only with professionals.

The process of finding people for each business is long and complicated, but try to combine these two ways of hiring staff. In addition to the traditional lists of local and international sites for posting vacancies, work with current-staff recommendations. Many companies use this method – and for good reason – strong specialists often surround themselves with people on the same level and only recommend people they know and trust.

Borokh admits: “If we had to rebuild the team of remote editors now, I would change the speed of recruitment and the quality of the selected people. Then, we grew rapidly and sought to recruit a team as soon as possible. We had high criteria, but sometimes we agreed to mid-level specialists. Later, when we hired the Managing Editor, many people had to be fired or retrained.”

Therefore, the best way is to set high criteria for hiring specialists right at the beginning and not compromise on quality. As practice shows, avariciousness hires twice.

3. Each employee should know what is expected from him

It doesn’t matter whether your employees work in the office or remotely; you need to try and relay to them that they are all part of one team. 

For each new person you bring in, you need to spend time with them and talk about the company’s global goals and KPI. Explain how their work affects the overall task. The final product often depends on the quality of an individual assignment. The more understandable and measurable the task, the easier it will be implemented.

Once a month, the work and effectiveness of employees should be evaluated. AmoMama offers every employee the opportunity to do a personal evaluation according to specified criteria. The data is then reviewed by the Editorial Manager who gives them helpful feedback in return. Together, they then discuss and agree on what needs to be fixed before the next assessment. 

It is essential that each team member clearly understands the tasks at hand and knows what is expected of them. If an employee does not reach the goals that are set – a problem that will adversely affect the business – the solution cannot be delayed. If the specialist does not show any improvement within a probationary time-period, say goodbye to them.

4. A huge number of experiments

The critical success of the business, including media, is a massive amount of experimentation. Of the hundreds of YouTube channels created, ten are terrible for every one channel that is truly good. 

Out of several hundred pages on Facebook, only several dozen all over the world will become large and successful. When projects do not take off, close them in time, and move on. Do not hold onto dead weight out of sentiment or pride.

5. Scaling a business as a way to reach a new level

Scaling is a stage of development that you need to think about at the very outset of starting a company. The main factors in starting this process: making a high-quality product, and having something to offer the market. The success of the entire business, in this case, will depend on the correct assessment of future changes and preparing for it.

If we talk about the media, then the competition in the US and Europe is enormous. But this is not a reason to abandon plans to expand the business. With the right approach, beginners always have the advantage of entering the market with a fresh look at things.

Any large system – whether it is a trading network or a software manufacturer – sooner or later drives itself into a corner. They become victims of their own rules, established principles of work, relationships, and traditions. Over time, the system is no longer flexible; it takes longer to make decisions, and more resources are spent on restructuring and even simple adaptations.

All these shortcomings are missing in new businesses. They can be built as wanted, taking into account all previous experience – including the background and mistakes of competitors. It is also easier to quickly adapt to changing market conditions. And time is the most valuable resource, especially in business.

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