What is the future of content marketing?
It’s hard to give a definitive answer right away.
Yet, when you analyze moves and developments in content strategies of some companies (including top-tier firms), you can spot certain patterns.
Today, we want to discuss one such pattern – the growing tendency toward creating Media Singulars.
Let’s see what they are, some examples, and what characteristics define them.
What are Media Singulars?
Media Singulars are elements of your content marketing strategy that can also exist independently.
Since they are distinguishable, unique, and agnostic as to whether they exist online or offline and have media personalities behind them.
To put it simply, when you look at a media singular, you can tell that, even though it’s clearly part of a multifaceted content plan, we can also perceive it as a separate initiative.
But what’s the importance of Media Singulars?
Why should we recognize them as a separate concept?
Let’s figure out the answer.
Why Media Singulars Are Important
We can single out three noteworthy roles of Media Singulars:
- Distinguishing your brand from competitors.
- Giving you more exposure.
- Improving your brand’s credibility.
Let’s elaborate on each of these factors.
There’s no denying that we are moving toward a media-first approach in content marketing.
Of course, this idea doesn’t immediately come to mind when you see Semrush acquiring Backlinko or UBM buying CMI’s Content Marketing World and Intelligent Content Conference events.
Yet, there’s a forward-looking agenda behind it.
Here’s the thing – most of the content marketing channels tend to become commoditized.
For instance, there might be a demand for your blog content, but there may hardly be any aspects that would differentiate it from other brands, quality-wise.
Thus, you risk becoming “just another blog” with content that searchers can easily find elsewhere.
Media Singulars can be the factor that sets you apart.
Consider our Semrush example above.
While continuing with its blog content strategy, the company is now associated with the unique research posted on Backlinko.
Alright, you may ask, but what about the more tangible benefits of Media Singulars?
Exposure to a bigger audience, of course.
Returning to our Semrush example, after purchasing Backlinko, the company added 500K to its monthly traffic.
Moreover, Brian Dean and his team will produce original content for Semrush Academy, bringing even more visits.
Since a Media Singular can exist independently, people might not immediately associate it with your brand.
But let us tell you this – by investing in these entities, you form the perception of your company’s product/service quality and a positive association between your brand and a Media Singular.
Now, what characterizes this concept?
How do you know you’re looking at a Media Singular?
Let’s dive deeper into the subject.
How to Identify Media Singulars
As you might have noticed, we’ve listed some characteristics of Media Singulars in the definition.
But how does each of them manifest?
Let’s break them down one by one.
Characteristic #1: Part of the content marketing strategy
First and foremost, Media Singulars exist to complement your content marketing strategy.
In other words, much like your other content marketing tactics, a Media Singular (depending on its type) can serve different functions and be applied at different sales funnel stages:
So, Media Singulars are part of your content strategy and serve different objectives based on what you’re trying to achieve.
But it doesn’t mean that they intertwine with all other content marketing strategies.
Let us elaborate.
Characteristic #2: Distinguishable, unique entities
Media Singulars also function as standalone units.
So, when you spot one, you can also perceive it as a separate, independent initiative or a different strategy you’re running in parallel with other content marketing efforts.
Since you understand what we mean by distinguishable and unique, we cannot call your blog a Media Singular because it can’t be distinguished from your brand.
Everyone reading your blog can say that it’s yours since it contributes to your content efforts.
Now, to have something unique and call it a Media Singular, you have to give it a name.
Characteristic #3: Unique name
The name of a Media Singular is always very distinctive.
Think about Backlinko, which hasn’t changed its name after being acquired by Semrush.
And here’s another example.
Consider GrowthWaves, a bi-weekly newsletter launched by Minuttia’s Managing Director, George Chasiotis.
Image Source: GrowthWaves
This project is not associated with Minuttia and is a Media Singular with its own unique name.
However, via this newsletter, George shares insights from his journey at Minuttia, helping the target audience understand the quality of our services.
Now, is it necessary for an entity to have its own channel to identify as a Media Singular?
Let’s figure it out.
Characteristic #4: Platform and channel-agnostic
If we look at the previous example, it may seem that a Media Singular always has its own domain.
But it’s not really so.
Media Singulars are actually platform- and channel-agnostic, meaning that one can even exist under, say, a subdomain.
They can live under a subfolder and even on social media or YouTube.
This characteristic complies with the previous one – that Media Singulars are independent entities.
Finally, let’s cover the last feature characterizing this concept.
Characteristic #5: Media personalities behind them
The fifth element of Media Singulars is that they have media personalities behind them.
Think of traditional media.
A news broadcast cannot exist without a presenter. The same goes for magazine and newsletter editors, radio program presenters, etc.
Now, apply that to a Media Singular in the context of a content strategy for a SaaS company or any other B2B company.
There needs to be people who run the initiative behind a Media Singular and not only that. They also get themselves out there so that people associate them with the initiative they’re running.
So, an online magazine would be associated with its lead editor, a YouTube channel with the creator responsible for the video content.
Alright, now that you know the core characteristics of media singulars, let’s solidify your knowledge by looking at a few examples.
Media Singulars Examples from SaaS Companies
We’ve prepared eight more cases of Media Singulars in different forms so you can better grasp the idea behind them.
Let’s dive in.
Example #1: Audience Research Newsletter by SparkToro
Image Source: SparkToro
Audience Research Newsletter is an initiative launched by SparkToro’s CEO Rand Fishkin and the VP of Marketing Amanda Natividad.
The newsletter exists under the hood of SparkToro’s website and unites 40,000+ readers, sharing knowledge nuggets on audience research, namely:
- Tactical tips on how to get the most from marketing investments.
- Recommendations for creating better content that brings tangible results.
- Tech news and updates affecting digital marketing.
What makes the Audience Research Newsletter a Media Singular?
The first characteristic that comes to mind is the presence of personalities behind it.
Rand Fishkin is a well-known influencer in digital marketing and SEO, previously known as the CEO and Founder of Moz.
With his colleague Amanda, he not only creates and edits the newsletter but also promotes it via his channels, prompting people to associate this initiative with him and his sidekick.
Let’s see what we have coming up next.
Example #2: Artifacts by Reforge
Image Source: Reforge
Artifacts by Reforge is a collection of insights from top-tier tech professionals intended to accelerate performance.
Simply put, leaders of different companies publish their tried-and-tested strategies, analyses, experiments, and guides via Artifacts to help readers jump-start their own initiatives.
So, with this resource, you can:
- Discover insights related to what you’re working on.
- Receive notes from the creator to learn more information and the story behind an artifact.
- Share artifacts with your team.
Thus far, Reforge published artifacts from the influencers at HubSpot, Netflix, Slack, Tripadvisor, etc.
So, you indeed learn knowledge nuggets from the best of the best in their respective industries.
What makes Artifacts by Reforge a Media Singular?
Apart from having well-known personalities behind each artifact, the platform is a distinguishable, unique entity. Although associated with Reforge, it also functions as a standalone unit.
Let’s see what we have next.
Example #3: The Hustle by HubSpot
Image Source: The Hustle
In February 2021, HubSpot signed the agreement to acquire The Hustle, a media company with its own newsletter read by more than 1.5 million people.
Not only that, The Hustle also runs two podcasts, The Hustle Daily Show and My First Million, which can also be considered Media Singulars since they exist under separate domains and are run as individual initiatives.
With resources provided by this platform, business professionals learn about:
- Daily business news.
- Information about the trends to inspire new business ideas.
- Original stories from interviews with renowned field experts.
What makes The Hustle by Hubspot a Media Singular?
First, we can see that The Hustle exists as a separate entity under its own domain. You can also find it as a subdomain under HubSpot’s blog.
However, it’s not structured as a traditional blog but rather as a publication.
Video Source: HubSpot
So, we can say it definitely possesses one of the features of a Media Singular – we can perceive it as an independent initiative, which is platform- and channel-agnostic.
Yet, the example above shows that The Hustle is still a part of HubSpot’s content marketing strategy.
Let’s talk about our next example.
Example #4: Paddle Studios by Paddle
Image Source: Paddle
Paddle Studios was created after Paddle acquired ProfitWell, together with its content marketing initiatives, in May 2022.
So, essentially, all the following entities created by ProfitWell now exist under Paddle Studios’ umbrella.
You can check out our blog post with the teardown of Paddle’s strategy to learn more.
So, yes, Paddle not only profited from buying ProfitWell’s service but also from acquiring its very successful media platform.
This move is an indication of a shift toward a media-first strategy in the B2B SaaS realm, as our managing director George Chasiotis rightfully said in his LinkedIn post:
Image Source: LinkedIn
What makes Paddle Studios by Paddle a Media Singular?
This example ticks all the boxes:
- Paddle Studios is an inalienable part of Paddle’s content strategy.
- At the same time, it is distinguishable and can be perceived as independent.
- It has its own name.
- It is platform-agnostic.
- There are media personalities behind each Paddle Studios project.
We can also add that this example supports the projection that a content strategy will require a media-first approach in the future.
In other words, you won’t be just investing in a blog and social media but will also initiate separate projects to boost your credibility and online presence.
The next case shows a unique approach to creating a Media Singular.
Let’s check it out.
Example #5: Courier by Intuit Mailchimp
Image Source: Courier
Mailchimp acquired Courier, a media company, in March 2020 and has since turned it into the online publication you see above.
What is it about?
Courier covers all sorts of stories, mostly involving entrepreneurs and their unique business ideas. You can also find some pieces about marketing automation, since it’s Mailchimp’s bread and butter.
So, we can safely say that Courier serves as an online magazine, but it’s not just that.
On its webpage, you can also find several publications, such as How to Start a Business 2023 and Courier magazine issue No. 50, talking not only about business topics but also art, culture, fashion, design, work, etc.
What makes Courier by Mailchimp a Media Singular?
The first feature you can immediately spot is the unique name, which is distinguishable from Mailchimp.
Besides, Courier is a magazine on Mailchimp’s website, so it’s definitely a part of its online presence. Yet, it is also its own entity with original content, purpose, and target audience.
Let’s see what we have next.
Example #6: Traffic Think Tank by Semrush
Image Source: Traffic Think Tank
Semrush acquired Traffic Think Tank, a community and academy for SEOs uniting 1k+ members, back in February 2023.
Why Traffic Think Tank?
Now, if you remember our previous examples, Semrush also bought Backlinko. Both acquisitions were a part of the company’s initiative to extend its knowledge base.
By the time of the acquisition, Traffic Think Tank already had over 300 hours of educational videos, on-demand courses, and resources created by top SEO and digital marketing professionals.
So, you can imagine how much value Semrush got from this purchase, especially in terms of fulfilling its goal to provide its users with high-quality educational resources.
What makes Traffic Think Tank a Media Singular?
Though operated by Semrush, Traffic Think Tank exists as a separate unit with its own name, domain, and people behind it.
So, it’s distinguishable from Semrush, yet it helps the company reach its content marketing goals.
And we can say that, with this dynamic, we can expect Semrush to get involved in similar acquisitions, taking a media-first approach that we believe signifies a change in content marketing.
Time for our next example.
Example #7: Podcasts Network by Drift
Image Source: Drift
Drift runs various podcasts under one network, but there’s a trick to it.
Each podcast episode is its own entity.
If you visit the web page, you will see shows covering different topics, including talks about revenue, growth, communication, career advice, and much more.
What makes Podcasts by Drift a Media Singular?
Now, Drift got into podcasting early, with the first episodes of its podcast Seeking Wisdom published on YouTube 7 years ago.
So, starting this podcast initiative was long in the making.
Now, you can find seven podcasts on Drift’s website. Some of them aren’t active anymore, but they still exist as a part of a bigger initiative.
Furthermore, each has a unique name, but most importantly – all podcasts have different hosts, aka media personalities.
Thus, we can safely say this initiative represents a Media Singular.
Example #8: Run Revenue by Clari
Image Source: Run Revenue
Clari, a revenue management platform, runs a media platform called Run Revenue to provide its audience with extra resources on how to strategize and maximize their income.
We must say that this example perfectly demonstrates the media-first approach we’ve mentioned repeatedly throughout this article.
Just look at the variety of resources Run Revenue provides:
- A newsletter that shares tips on revenue growth, plus updates on new blog articles, videos, and new podcast episodes.
- Atomic articles providing expert insights on business and revenue topics.
- Playbooks containing guides on improving your sales funnel.
- A leadership newsletter with tips and ideas from Clari’s CEO, Andy Byrne.
- Race to Revenue video series offering courses on business operations from top-tier managers of different companies.
- The Run Revenue Show; a podcast revealing the best strategies for optimizing and maximizing income.
In other words, you get to study revenue management from different angles.
What makes Run Revenue by Clari a Media Singular?
The first thing that catches the eye is that we can discern Run Revenue as an independent entity. You have media personalities behind each resource, each of which also has a unique name.
At the same time, you can see the association between Clari and Run Revenue.
For instance, the newsletter on leadership is run by Clari’s CEO, and The Run Revenue Show is also powered by Clari.
Finally, Run Revenue is channel-agnostic.
It doesn’t matter whether it exists as a subdomain on Clari’s website or has its own domain; Run Revenue still exists as its own media platform.
Content marketing is ever-evolving, and you can see that from our examples of Media Singulars.
Companies we talked about have started to look beyond what already seems to be traditional content marketing strategies, tapping into the media-first approach.
And it’s safe to say that we can expect even more companies to practice this approach and create Media Singulars to further diversify their online presence.
Seeking ways to improve your content marketing strategy?