New in brand publishing this week:
- Everyone’s writing about the future of the workplace. But brand publishers may be in a stronger place to create compelling content on this topic.
- In India, educational tech is on a tear, and startups there offer a masterclass in brand publishing.
Are brands winning the Future of Work content race?
Work and its adjacencies have become a topic du jour for both news publishers and brand publishers, an inevitability that was accelerated by the pandemic. As millions of workers reconfigure the physical boundaries of work and negotiate a different, perhaps more equal relationship with employers, it’s created a goldmine of stories, trends and narratives to explore.
Established consumer media brands such as The Atlantic and Bloomberg have flocked to the area, while it’s also sparked the launch of new dedicated publications such as Charter and Morning Brew’s newest vertical – HR Brew.
But as brand publishing grows in quality and popularity, future of work content from brands has often been of the same standard as that created by dedicated publishers, if not better.
At management consulting firms like McKinsey, future of work post-COVID-19 coverage is aided by expertise stemming from that company’s deep relationships with clients, leading to in-depth and nuanced coverage on the true effects of how the pandemic changed work. Atlassian-owned publication, WorkLife, has put its stake firmly in service-y content that focuses on management and collaboration, two key topics its product neatly aligns with. At Edelman (a Toolkits client), its long-running Trust franchise has extended to more original research and content about the employee-employer relationship. Slack just announced speakers and schedules for Frontiers, its annual conference and content series exploring the future of work. Speakers include Slack founder Stewart Butterfield and Olympian gymnast Simone Biles — an impressive start and proof that the company can attract big names.
It’s a notable inflection point in perhaps showing how brands can demonstrate their advantages when it comes to writing about certain topics in a way journalists perhaps cannot. They’re able to tap into a deep bench of expertise on topics, particularly through original data, that journalism organizations cannot, and in the case of work, can fund content that is both close to their business interests and doesn’t feature a controversial or adversarial relationship. — Shareen Pathak
Byju’s brand publishing win
I’ve spent the past three weeks in India, where the education revolution is startling in its sheer scale. The pandemic disrupted schools across the country as intensive lockdowns moved millions of kids from classrooms to behind computer screens. The biggest winners were edtech startups.
One thing these companies do well is brand publishing. Because many of these companies, particularly Byju, now the world’s most valuable ed-tech company at $18 billion, operate in a freemium model, publishing is a key driver of awareness and customer acquisition. Byju’s has a consistent stream of educational content available for free on its website, and has built a service-y publishing platform that answers questions around specific topics, all for free. It dips into its deep network of experts (teachers) to provide useful content and focuses on storytelling over selling, a key attribute for successful brand publishers.
India now has four edtech unicorns, all of which have capitalized on the weaknesses in online learning with intensive classes for kids through to adults. As schools have reopened, these companies have begun to diversify, moving from teaching kids maths to amateur hobby content, including yoga, music lessons and cooking. — SP
How to program event content
Events — conferences, panels, live one-on-one interview sessions, and keynotes — are now a key component of many organizations’ marketing mix. They can serve a number of purposes: awareness, lead generation, community building, customer retention and even revenue (by way of sponsorships and attendee entrance fees).
This Toolkits Guide lays out strategies and tactics for developing event content that aligns with editorial goals.
More noteworthy reads
- Venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz’s publication, Future, publishes in sprints, approximately once every two to three weeks. Its latest issue, released late last week, is a spotlight on NFTs, and a good example of brand storytelling across various formats.
- Brand publishers should align themselves with relevant events where it makes sense. One good example of this is McKinsey and COP26. Sustainability is a hot topic for the consulting giant’s clients, so it’s holding an adjacent virtual event series alongside the Glasgow climate summit.
For more on how to adopt a content-first mindset and culture, solve for organizational barriers, and where to look for easy content opportunities, refer to the Guides and Resources in the Brand Publishing Toolkit.