The backbone of any successful marketing campaign?
Over the past few years, we’ve seen the concept of content-as-king proliferate across all industries — influencers have built massive followings with personal brands that fuel companies and great corporate brands have emerged, making sales without even mentioning their products.
And now, we’re beginning to see the rise of a new marketing motion that will revolutionize the B2B world —
What exactly is the difference between these motions? And which is right for you? Let’s dive in.
The 3 Content Marketing Motions
|Corporate Brands||Media Brands||
|Positioning||Around Products||Target Audience’s Interests||Individual|
|Site Optimization||Lead Gen/Sales||Audience Growth||
|Managed By||VP Marketing||Executive Producer||Individual|
Your favorite influencers are at the heart of personal brands. From iconic personalities like The Rock and Taylor Swift to marketing gurus Chris Walker and Dave Gerhardt, these brands rely completely on the individuals behind them — you never see Taylor Swift selling tees, yet her merch flies off the shelves.
People are more likely to trust humans over logos, which gives an upper hand to personal brands. These brands often also require less extensive investment and are extremely easy to start. With enough dedication, anyone can build a personal brand (yes, even you).
But personal brands also come with some risks — one major risk being PR.
But great influence comes with great responsibility. One wrong step and your audience’s trust can go down the drain.
When you build a company around a single personal brand, you rely on the reputation of the influencer behind it. Too often, when a reputation is damaged, it’s gone for good. Without a bit of diversification, your business will be too.
What do McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Salesforce, Vidyard and Gong all have in common?
They don’t rely on influencers to power their sales. These corporate brands rely almost exclusively on the quality of their products and services.
The content produced by corporate brands will almost always center on the product.
For corporate brands, this adds value. Every piece of content is in direct association with what is being sold. So, every time you do something good, people reflect that onto the value of your product.
But, this motion is also very limiting. Focusing only on your product limits the audience you can reach to the 10% currently in the market for your solution. You miss the mark with the other 90% that someday will be in the market.
Media brands stand on their own two feet. They are built completely separate from a product. So, while you can talk about products within the content of media brands, it’s separated enough that the media exists as its own entity.
While a media brand can exist within a company that monetizes through content, it can also live inside companies that build revenue through software and other measures.
Take The Hustle, for example. It’s a daily newsletter that’s part of Hubspot, but with over 2 million subscribers, it’s a brand in its own right. Readers know it as The Hustle, not as Hubspot’s newsletter.
Some other great examples include:
- Vidyard’s media brand Sales Feed
- Chris Do’s media brand The Futur
- The Morning Brew
- The Local Optimist
Why Media Brands?
One of the most exciting things about media brands is they can be adapted to support (and incorporate) corporate and personality brands.
With media brands, you can talk about your products and share their value as long as you remain somewhat separated — this is your chance to dive into your journey and talk with your readers on a higher level.
With media brands, there isn’t an immediate sale at the finish line. Instead, you continuously share to build affinity with your customer, so when they are ready to buy, your product is top-of-mind.
You can create content around all of the different problems your buyer experiences. You explode past the in-market limitations and build a relationship with the 90% of the market that may not currently be shopping but one day will be.
You can also utilize personal brands, many even, to fuel and build media brands. Incorporating a wide variety of views and insights can help you become your audience’s favorite brand without directly advertising your product or relying too heavily on singular influencers.
You don’t have to lean on a logo. You lose the risk of relying on an influencer’s reputation.
Media Brands: The Mavericks of B2B Marketing
Creating a brand removed from your product isn’t always easy. It takes time. Collaboration. Trust in the process.
But when you position yourself in the market correctly, a media brand will build trust and affinity with your customers long before they are ready to purchase. And there are tens of companies already doing this, with incredible success.
In the end, media brands funnel a significantly larger crowd directly into your channel that you otherwise would never have had the opportunity to reach. You gain the freedom to discuss all of the problems your clients are facing and open countless avenues for growth and connection.
When you develop a media brand, you create a massive platform where you choose which voices to highlight. Then, your brand can claim its stake in the market and build genuine thought leadership.
Media brands offer true value to their customers beyond the product they offer. And when implemented masterfully, that value returns in abundance.