Why Cadence Matters in Owned Media

Why Cadence Matters in Owned Media


One of the most important qualities of executing a successful owned media strategy is not (just) creativity, production, and distribution – it’s cadence.

Don’t get me wrong, other attributes are important – and well-documented – but being able to consistently release content for your audience to consume is a critical difference between performance and editorial content marketing.

Imagine visiting your favorite consumer media brand – say Morningbrew – who took the week off of producing content. Or an even sillier example, turning on NBC to watch the Today Show and finding yesterday’s re-runs airing (if anything at all). Consumer media brands take no days off, and we need to bring the same mentality into our owned media approach.

It wasn’t always this way.

But as content marketing is evolving into a more editorial strategy, a consistent publishing schedule becomes existential to the success of the media brand. Here are a few reasons why that’s the case.

1. Keeping Audience Attention is Increasingly Difficult

With traditional content marketing that’s oriented around SEO and performance, we were effectively writing content for an algorithm and not humans. Google didn’t crawl our content instantly anyway – so shipping a performance blog post just-in-time was a fine way to run the operation.

But when you’re writing content for humans, you’re officially in the attention game.

Capturing audience attention with one awesome campaign is great, but KEEPING their attention is much harder. If your one-time content was successful in capturing a subscription or social follow, there comes with it an expectation of more value delivery – the human says to the brand, “we want to hear more from you.”

When brands don’t follow through on that value exchange, bad things can happen.

2. Discoverability in Rented Channels Becomes Tougher

Late last year, Toolkits reported on a16z’s brand publishing operation Future.com that announced it would be shutting down. The article referenced consistency as one of the contributing factors to the media operations failure, saying:

“One essential ingredient is consistency. Future.com seems to have been hamstrung by a publishing schedule that never quite found its stride.

But publishing infrequently is different to publishing almost never. Future.com at one point published every few days, then narrowed again to a trickle before coming to an outright halt. The site got a decent amount of traffic, per BI, over a million in August until that dropped to less than half that by October, right around the time it appears to have ceased publishing.”

Publishing cadence is directly correlated with traffic growth – and as a result, all downstream metrics are impacted. The promise of long tail search is still relevant, but Google’s algorithms do your brand no favors when publishing grinds to a halt. Social media networks are no better as content gets buried deep within the timeline, never to be seen again.

3. Publishing Cadence is Directly Correlated to Monetization

Owned media can serve many purposes, including an emerging term called “brand publishing” that typically prioritizes awareness over monetization. But if your company is adopting owned media as a function of building, engaging, and monetizing your audience – you cannot afford to stop or slow your publishing cadence.

That’s because for modern marketing teams, owned media is the new top-of-funnel. We focus on building a trusted (and owned) relationship with our audience at scale, engaging them with programs that educate and inspire, and monetize those who are willing and in-market with our products and services.

To be more blunt, slowing or stopping your publishing cadence can be roughly understood as turning off the marketing funnel altogether. While it may sound like an intimidating proposition, you literally can’t afford to do so.

Bonus Reason: Trust in Your Brand Can Be Impacted

Going back to the Morningbrew or NBC examples shared earlier – what would your perception be of those media brands if you tuned-in and saw stale content or nothing at all? Surely you would think there’s been a mistake, or at worst, you would call into question the value of your subscription to that brand.

Media already has a trust problem, but cadence communicates a commitment to your audience that you’re in for the long haul. That you’re prepared to continue to invest time and resources in serving them in whatever context or pursuit that they’re tuning in for.

Thinking about your owned media strategy like a network is a good way to pressure test your cadence.

So then, what’s the perfect cadence for publishing content?

It’s a tough question to answer as it can be specific to the type of content you are producing. Toolkits shared a similar opinion in their analysis of Future:

“Arguably, the kind of content it was produced, which amounted mostly to inspirational essays about techno-optimism, not news or investigative analysis, can benefit from a less conventional publishing schedule since it’s not tied to news cycles.”

At AudiencePlus, we’ll be keeping an eye on cadence best practices and report back with our observations. But in the meantime, commit to a publishing cadence that makes sense for your team as structured – perhaps it’s one blog post a week, one podcast episode a month, and a newsletter every quarter.

Building the discipline to hit a regular cadence even in your earliest days is time well spent.


Anthony Kennada | About the Author

Founder and CEO, AudiencePlus

Prior to founding AudiencePlus, Anthony served as the CMO of incredible companies like Hopin and Front. He was the founding CMO of Gainsight where he and his team are credited with creating the Customer Success category -- a novel business imperative, profession and software category that helps subscription companies grow sustainably by becoming customer obsessed. By focusing on human first community building, content marketing, live events and creative activations, they developed a new playbook for B2B marketing that built the Gainsight brand and fueled the company’s growth from $0 to $100M+ ARR, and eventual acquisition by Vista Equity at a $1.1B valuation. You can follow him here.


Why Cadence Matters in Owned Media

One of the most important qualities of executing a successful owned media strategy is not (just) creativity, production, and distribution - it's cadence.

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