What “brands should be media companies” actually means

Josh Spilker
2 min readSep 21, 2022

A lot of marketers are talking about brands becoming media companies.

Here’s what I think they actually mean 👇

If you think about who has actually disrupted media the most in the last few years, it’s…

…Not media companies as a collective

…it’s individual creators.

They are using the distribution platforms much more effectively than media companies with lower costs of production and less overhead

What creators do well is:

  • Entertain
  • Inform
  • Stay semi-relevant

Popular creators have different styles, they have different mediums, but they generally stay in a few lanes, and don’t try to be everything to everyone.

That’s where most traditional media companies fall apart.

If we look at Hubspot, who has been beating the media drum a lot lately, they haven’t done well in the past in regards to staying on trend.

They’re now leaning more into it.

Their bread and butter was inbound, starting with SEO not with news or media

They were about evergreen, not the now.

I can see why they’re hawking this shift so much–it’s probably been a huge move for them internally to have a more typical “editorial-news” production model, where The Hustle now has to come out every day, their podcasts have a regular cadence, and maybe even their videos, too.

If you’re pegging it to a news cycle, season, or creating a “series,” there’s a certain amount of timeliness that falls into the conversation that your “how-to” video won’t cover.

There’s the risk of course.

It’s a different form of audience building.

It takes immediacy and frequency.

It’s the publication vs library distinction.

Creators do this very well. They have a mix of right-now commentary with a few more evergreen videos thrown in without a lot of “here’s why our brand is best.”

So in that way, yes it’s different for a SaaS marketing department to embrace being a media company.

Branding, features, and value props aren’t as important.

Point of view, research, and thought leadership become more important.