By , Eric Samson
Published July 01, 2016
In recent years, brands -- and the marketers behind them -- have become savvy to the fact that consumers crave content. What’s more is that companies finally have the power to shift from advertiser to publisher, while still reaping all the benefits. HubSpot’s inbound marketing blog has been instrumental in raising a whole generation of digital marketers, and it now has a market cap of $1.83 billion. "The Red Bulletin" by Red Bull prints two million copies a month which it sends to its subscribers around the world, and Red Bull remains the energy drink of choice for consumers everywhere. Beyond that, other businesses host their own YouTube channels with millions of subscribers. Some directly publish content to their favorite social media platforms like Facebook. When done right, the marriage between media and marketing for consumer-facing brands can have a tremendous impact on a company’s growth and sales.
Matt Meeker, Carly Strife and Henrik Werdelin founded BarkBox, a subscription service for dog goodies, at a time when ShoeDazzle had just raised $40 million to send its customers a new pair of heels every month. Two years later though, ShoeDazzle had abandoned the business model it pioneered and was acquired by JustFab for a mere fraction of its earlier $200 million valuation. BarkBox, however, followed a different growth trajectory. In a 2015 interview with Fast Company, co-founder Meeker claimed the company was on track to do $75 million in sales that year. Undoubtedly, much of the company’s success can be attributed to the fan base it had generated with BarkPost, the world’s most popular publication devoted to dogs, with more than 12 million monthly readers and over 60 million monthly page views. In lieu of buying ad space from third-party publishers, BarkBox has built its own media property to heavily promote its products.
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Six years ago, Emily Weiss’s passion for uncovering other women’s beauty routines drove her to launch a blog she would call " Into The Gloss." There, Weiss published stories highlighting the private skincare and makeup regimens of some of the fabulous celebrities she encountered. However, her success story differs from other ecommerce brands. Weiss’s company was first a blog that later expanded to form a separate, product-based business called Glossier. For years, "Into The Gloss" had been building a venerable online following, which it later leveraged to promote its own products. In 2014, Wired reported that Glossier’s sister site had a cool million monthly readers. With an already captive audience, Weiss’s decision to sell her own line of makeup and skincare products was a no-brainer. Instead of littering her blog with ads promoting products from other companies, "Into The Gloss" proudly features items available at Glossier.com.
With a knack for turning memes into products, Steven Gordon and Gary Jiang have been changing the way people think about the traditional greeting card. On the Unwelcome Greetings Facebook page, the team directly uploads videos featuring some of its latest products which piggyback off of popular topics of the day. Over the past couple of years, they’ve racked up an impressive 50 million views to its videos alone.
Letting Facebook’s News Feed algorithm do all the work, Gordon and Jiang simply focus on creating original content that Facebook users, especially Millennials, like, share and comment on to further spread the video’s distribution. A typical video seems to generate anywhere between 100,000 and 250,000 views for Unwelcome Greetings. Although they do not own the medium which they use to publish their videos, in the coming years we will see many other brands following Gordon’s and Jiang’s lead by uploading their own content directly to platforms where their target audiences live.