Turn Your Marketing Into a Media Company

Everyone talks about turning their marketing into a media company, but no one knows how. This post provides a clear framework for approaching it.

The Pandemic

In 2020, pandemic had ravaged the world and field marketing and in-person events had mostly disappeared all around the world.

However, this led to an increase in virtual events. Almost every marketer, especially in the B2B world, was planning to hold some sort of virtual event. It was then that the word “Zoom” became synonymous with video conferencing.

Zoom Video Communications Inc. was among the fastest growing companies, with a stock price peak of $559 on October 16th 2020. As of today, the stock has just barely reached $100. Totally crazy!

Virtual Events: The Mad Rush

Despite all of the marketing departments scrambling to come up with a strategy for virtual events, most of them ended up creating ad hoc webinars instead of creating a winning strategy. 

During this time, it felt like companies were rushing to fill the gap created in this new world in an unthoughtful way. There was an overload of Zoom meetings and virtual events, resulting in “Zoom Fatigue”. What a wasted opportunity!

Nonetheless, many companies used this opportunity to create media marketing in-house. A shift from traditional marketing to media strategy. 

ProfitWell was one of the first movers in implementing this media-first approach. An application that provides users with a single view of their financial and subscription data. It was a bootstrapped company that already focused on media-first content. 

They decided to double down on their media-first approach in 2020, and built a separate media arm to attract larger audiences. ProfitWell was already running several podcasts and webcasts by then. Several of these shows involved episodic content, and leveraged media distribution channels such as podcast networks, video over social platforms, including Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, etc.

ProfitWell actually wrote a blog post about their media first approach in 2020, and why they decided to double down on their efforts, which was primarily driven by the explosion of content distribution via media networks and video formats in order to build big audiences. The blog post was also the one I referenced while adopting the media first marketing approach at the SAAS company where I was VP of Marketing.

Building Audience With Media-First Approach

The fundamentals that I used to build media-first approach to marketing were pretty simple: 

  1. Shift from text based content creation to media based content in both audio and video formats.

  2. Strictly building episodic content instead of one of webinars or virtual events.

  3. Mapping and building media content similar to traditional content marketing for each part of the sales funnel: top of the funnel, middle of the funnel, and bottom of the funnel.

  4. Operationalize and build all the content in-house to create weekly content delivery cycles by intentionally not focusing on studio quality production.

  5. Focus on demand creation by building brand affinity.

  6. Keeping all the content mostly un-gated.

Many of the things above are self explanatory. However, let me expand on the things that need better understanding.

Episodic Content Boosts Brand Affinity

Building shows is the most important part of the media-first strategy. You attract an audience based on a given topic or outcome, then you entertain and educate them about that topic or outcome episodically.

Brand affinity is driven by episodic content, which gives audiences a predictable reason to return. Think of it like “Late Night Talk Shows”, all of which follow a fixed format and are aired on a set schedule. Audiences know when the new episode will air, and what they can expect.

That’s how you should think of your episodic content - fixed episodic content.

Repurposed Content Means Better Distribution

Don’t just record audio for your podcasts, but also record video. Video gives your podcast an extra boost on social media and video platforms such as YouTube, Instagram Reels, TikTok, and others.

This may be the easiest way to repurpose your podcast content. Video content can also be hosted on your website as a Wistia channel, which could be used for marketing engagement campaigns.

Demand Creation > Demand Generation

Inbound marketing is still amazing, and we will continue to do it, but we should not expect huge results. Instead, we should focus on something with higher leverage. The media is that system.

Instead of chasing spikes and long tails of leads, you want to move your audience count up and to the right. Moreover, it is exceptionally effective. It is probably the biggest mindset shift the marketing organization goes through. 

It’s a move to think beyond Demand Generation, and not just focus on capturing the 5% of people who are in the market to buy your product. Rather it is Edutainment (Education + Entertainment) at a scale, and you are building a larger audience that goes way deeper into the 95% who are not yet ready to buy but have established a solid brand affinity with you. 

This way you are securing a spot in the buyer’s mind, and when they are ready they are compelled to reach out to you.

Build Media Content By Personas

Mapping and building media content as per your buyer personas is super important. Similar to traditional content marketing, you are going to be building media content for each part of the sales funnel: top of the funnel, middle of the funnel, and bottom of the funnel.

Here is an example where the company’s target segment is in 3 specific industries, and they have 3 different target personas. Now based on your target personas you will create media content as shown below.

In general, you will create more content at the top and middle of the funnel since that plays a larger role in building an audience. Ultimately, it’s all about delivering value, not selling hard.

You Don’t Have To Build Studio Quality Media Content

It’s more of a reminder that when you’re starting your media-first marketing, the biggest excuse is - we don’t have the resources. Don’t let yourself get bogged down.

Today, all you need is Zoom Meeting to record, and BuzzSprout to publish and distribute your podcast. By being more concise in your media content strategy based on target personas, you will be able to operationalize content creation processes with greater clarity.

By focusing on tools and distribution, you can give yourself a competitive edge, and become the most visible brand in your category.

Now a Few Tactics

Hosting video media on your website using a tool like Wistia, and creating separate channels for your various shows is highly effective. This not only provides a home for content on your website, but also significantly improves your SEO scores as more time is spent on your website. 

Build partnerships where an influencer can run a show for you, and you simply co-host with them. Make sure it aligns with one of your target personas, and act as the host. In this way, you are a true partner, but you do not have to run the show week after week.

Host your shows on platforms such as BrightTalk. If you don’t know about BrightTalk, it’s like YouTube for business content. Anyone who watches content on it is already opted in and you get their details including company name and job titles.

Use tools like Parmonic to have AI cut out small munchable clips out of your video content, which you can use to promote on all social media channels. Equip your sales organization with these small clips as Sales Enablement materials that can be used to deliver value to prospects who are in sales cycles.

Last Thing It’s All About Consistency

Once your media strategy is in full swing, you will see an increase in Organic and Direct traffic to your website. Within 3 months of consistent weekly media content, we saw a 29% increase in traffic from these two sources. 

Last but not least, consistency is key. You start seeing results when you deliver good and consistent content, which is what media strategy is all about. 

You can now transform your marketing into a media company by implementing this playbook.