SMX West kicked off yesterday morning in San Jose, and one of the first speakers, Brian Clark of CopyBlogger Media, opened the show to discuss going from content marketing to media company.
CopyBlogger, in fact, began as a blog and turned into an industry newsletter. They now don’t any money from advertising, nor do they advertise themselves. They make money from selling solutions for smarter content marketing as well as WordPress resources.
Brian made the case for a media-first approach to marketing being the way of the future. If gives customers control and “you can’t give them what they don’t want.” If you can find a way to give them what they want in a way that meets business objectives, that creates a win/win scenario.
“You want people to think, ‘I can’t believe they’re doing this for me. Media first is the way to do that.'”
Brian himself started with an audience, looked what they had problems with and what they desired, and built that for them.
“You can do whatever you want by building up credibility.”
Netflix is another great example of a brand that semi-inadvertently evolved into a media company and is thriving as a result. No one initially thought of Netflix as a media company; people just thought of them as the company that did things better than Blockbuster. Furthermore, no one thought they’d do better than HBO. Now, not only are they doing so, but they’re now able to make big money on their own shows like House of Cards.
Similarly, Marvel had to evolve its focus years ago when they were low on funds. Unable to afford to make major movies, they targeted the consumer products market by optimizing superhero action figures. They built up their assets by selling toys until they could afford to make the movies themselves. Here is another brand giving people what they want and building and acquiring both literal and consumer equity as a result.
Gary Vaynerchuk’s wine empire is another example. Gary began his wine company in New Jersey and essentially did everything you’re not supposed to do: he educated himself on the industry then debuted Wine Library TV.
This video series has blossomed into a full-fledged community. The viewers (self-named “Vayniacs”) convene on an extremely active forum, and have organized numerous off-line gatherings. The community has amassed over 100,000 people on YouTube and elevated wine sales from $3 million to $45 million.
“That’s how you sell stuff, not by pitching or selling,” Brian expanded. “Educate, engage, entertain.”
Memorable quotes mentioned:
“We believe that great writing wins the day.” – Jay Moy, Journey by Coca Cola
“Ridiculous is the new remarkable.” – Seth Godin
Photo taken by author.