The Secret Behind MASSIVE Digital Content Success

The Secret Behind MASSIVE Digital Content Success

I spend a lot of time reverse engineering online success stories. Want to know what really built Gary Vaynerchuck’s $60 MM wine empire or Lauren Luke’s $100 MM make-up brand? What really turned BlendTec’s (Will It Blend?) business from a commercial powerhouse into a consumer blending brand? They all built content brands that drove their business.

What’s a Content Brand?

Every television show you watch is a content brand. Television networks treat their content (shows) like a product. They brand it. They market it. They release it on a regular schedule. They leverage the characters on their show to be spokespeople for it. Think of a content brand as a television show.

Gary Vaynerchuk created WineLibrary TV with a simple pledge to review three wines each and everyday on video. Like a television network he made an appointment with the audience. He branded it as “WineLibrary TV” (his TV show.) Even more, he created content with a repeatable format. (BTW, television programs only work if they have a format.) Gary Vaynerchuk turned WineLibrary TV into a powerhouse media brand that happened to sell wine.

In 2007, Lauren Luke began uploading a celebrity-inspired make-up tutorial on YouTube every single week. Before long she had an audience of 500K subscribers who looked forward to the weekly make-up tutorials. These make-up tutorials built Lauren an audience interested in buying her branded make-up brushes. Lauren Luke inspired her audience to buy things they didn’t know they needed. Lauren Luke Looks is a content brand. A brand that built a $100MM brand.

Here’s the thing, creating a content brand isn’t easy. You need to think like a television programming executive. Lauren Luke and Gary Vaynerchuk actually had something special. They had the ‘X-Factor.’ In the television business they call this ‘X-Factor’ a “hook.” A hook is a content element designed to entrap or ensnare your audience. Gary Vaynerchuk’s hook? Wine reviews meets ESPN’s Sportscenter. Lauren Luke’s hook? Celebrity-inspired make-up tutorials. A hook makes your content unique. A hook is what your audience falls in love with.

Start thinking about creating your own content brand instead of creating branded content. What’s your hook? Who’s your Lauren Luke or Gary Vaynerchuk?

What if you created content brands instead of branded content?


Andrew Davis, Author of Brandscaping

Andrew Davis’ 20-year career has taken him from local television to The Today Show. He’s worked for The Muppets in New York, written for Charles Kuralt and marketed for tiny start-ups as well as Fortune 500 brands. In 2001, Andrew Davis co-founded Tippingpoint Labs, where he changed the way publishers think and how brands market their products. His most recent book, Brandscaping: Unleashing the Power of Partnerships hit shelves in September, 2012.


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