Create an In-house Media Brand to Grow Your SaaS Company

Victoria Rudi
May 12, 2022
⌚ 11 min read

Your growth practice 

Move away from earned media and build an in-house media brand. Create bingeable media products, such as TV shows, docu-series, and movies, to grow your audience. 

Quick explanation

According to Patrick Campbell, founder and CEO at ProfitWell, there are no better experts at acquiring audiences than media companies

So instead of trying to make inbound marketing work, copy networks and treat content like shows to: 

  • Create unique media experiences
  • Develop your brand
  • Attract new subscribers
  • Outshare and outlearn your competition

As Campbell suggests: 

“Media is better than traditional inbound marketing because inbound is losing its effectiveness. Everyone is running the same playbook. They’re writing better, deeper content. Higher quality isn’t bad, but given the deluge of content out there, the approach is heading to just another plank in the platform of online advertising. Put another way—the inbound marketing of today is the equivalent of running google search ads.” 

► Quick note: Building an in-house media brand is different from launching a media product. SaaS companies may publish, occasionally a YouTube series or do podcasting in seasons. And that’s great. However, an in-house media brand involves building a production team and generating new media products consistently. 


📓 Media: According to The American Marketing Association (AMA): 

“Most sales enablement firms and marketing groups use content and media as synonyms.” However, “Media is not content any more than the envelope is the letter.” As AMA notes, “Content is the message. Media is the vehicle of the message.”

📓 Media brand: A broadcaster that creates and distributes informational products to inform, educate and entertain its audience. 

📓 In-house media brand: A (SaaS) business or organization that has built a media studio and works on launching different media products. 

📓 Media product: Content packed into a specific broadcasting format, such as TV shows, docu-series, podcast seasons, movies, animation, and more. 

📓 SaaS media product: Media products created by SaaS companies as part of the brands’ growth strategy. 

How does it work?

According to Mario, the founder of The Generalist, highlights: “Harvard Business School is a bigger media company than Forbes.” 

Founded in 1922, Harvard Business Review (HBR) transformed Harvard into “one of the world’s most impactful media organizations.”

a16z, the famous private American venture capital firm, is another example. In 2021, Andreessen Horowitz expressed his intention to launch an opinion publication and expand the media influence of a16z, the famous private American venture capital firm. According to The Information

“Marc Andreessen, the firm’s co-founder, has privately expressed antipathy toward the press, which he and some other Silicon Valley leaders consider to be overly critical of technology firms and their perceived impact on society. Andreessen Horowitz is moving in the direction of “owned media, not earned media,” said a person close to the firm, meaning that it wants to produce content rather than work with existing press outlets.” 

SaaS companies aren’t an exception. More and more executives invest resources in building in-house media studios to create bingeable media products and grow their audiences.

How does this work? 

According to Patrick Campbell, a media strategy gains leverage in time. As Campbell notes: 

“Instead of putting an offer at the center of the strategy, media centers on building an audience. Your goal isn’t to chase the spikes and long tails of an offer attracting leads; it’s to move your audience count up and to the right. It’s exceptionally effective, as well.” 
Inbound Strategy vs Media Strategy by ProfitWell

Campbell argues: 

“The key difference here is media centers around shows. You attract an audience on a given topic or outcome and then episodically entertain and educate that audience towards that topic or outcome. For instance, we can create a show that teaches people how to set up their subscription pricing strategy over a season of 13 episodes (a quarter). We can also create a show that does a case study each week on the pricing strategy of a company.”

In other words, having an in-house media brand allows you to create new media products, episodes, and seasons consistently. Subsequently, this action leads to gaining subscribers, aka leads in time who’re interested in consuming both old and new shows, episodes, or seasons. 

Your growth opportunities

Build an in-house media brand to support your marketing strategy and generate multiple growth opportunities, such as: 

  • Break through the online noise. How do you differentiate yourself in content and distribution-dense environment? Do you publish another blog post? Or do you launch a memorable TV show? 
  • Create anticipation. Episodic media creates anticipation, allowing you to stay on top of people’s minds. 
  • Make your brand “bingeable.” Usually, episodic media creates the bingeability effect. When this happens, people will stay and interact more with your platform. 
  • Position your brand as an industry authority. That’s easy when you have an in-house media brand dedicated to creating media products for a specific, industry-related niche. 
  • Educate while entertaining. Creating media products will allow you to use entertainment to maintain people’s attention while educating them on industry or product-related matters. 
  • Reduce the churn rate. As Patrick Campbell notes, shows also help keep existing customers engaged rather than aggravated. Considering that customer acquisition costs are very high, value is what’s selling. And the best way to keep demonstrating value is to show off your brand. How can you do that? Create media products people love to watch, listen to, or read.

► Quick note: Creating an in-house media brand won’t increase your business revenue immediately. However, it will create a unique environment to attract and build an audience through a consistent engagement experience with your brand, based on consuming bingeable content that is both educational and entertaining.

SaaS Outlier

>> Mailchimp, an automation and email platform 

Sold in 2021 to Intuit for $12 billion in cash and stock, Mailchimp is one of the biggest bootstrap SaaS companies. Yet, few know the impressive in-house entertainment studio Mailchimp built a few years ago. 

In 2019, Mailchimp officially launched Mailchimp Presents, a “business entertainment platform” focused on creating media products for and about entrepreneurs and business owners. Some reports (IMDb budget estimates) say that Mailchimp spent $6 million on its first video productions. 

Mailchimp Studio
Mailchimp Screenshot
Mailchimp Studio
Mailchimp Screenshot
Mailchimp Studio
Mailchimp Screenshot

In May 2021, Chris Savage, Wistia’s CEO, interviewed Sarita Alami, Director of Programming at Mailchimp Studios. 

According to Sarita Alami: 

“Mailchimp Presents was born out of a desire to enrich the way we were doing brand marketing for one and then also enrich how we could express being a brand in the world, and what it meant to participate in our customers’ lives for sure, but also in the corporate landscape, and our corporate social responsibility, from a cultural sense as well.” 

Alami added: 

“And I think that figure out essentially how we can use the content as a conduit for an emotional relationship with our audience in a way that feels both helpful and right for our brand. And Mailchimp is a brand that’s firmly rooted in empowering underdog entrepreneurs and people who are growing. And we built a whole studio around it.” 

The Director of Programming at Mailchimp Studios also highlighted: 

“And we formally launched Mailchimp Presents a little under two years ago. And that’s part podcast network, part cultural engine. And then we have over 100 short films, and about a dozen video series, and various—we call them activations because it’s just different ways for us to experiment with how to build that relationship and how to be in people’s lives in a way that feels useful and authentic for us.” 

Mailchimp became the Netflix of Business. The media collection Mailchimp created is impressive. Here are a few examples: 

  • Unlikely Business Lessons. It’s a series that gathered unscripted pieces of advice from remarkably unexpected people. 
  • The Jump. A podcast focused on discussing the songs that sent their careers into hyperdrive with acclaimed musicians.
  • Call Paul. A podcast hosted by famous entrepreneur and author Paul Jarvis. The podcast is a series of interviews with entrepreneurs who prioritize passion over profit and renegotiate the status quo. 
  • Indie Game. The Movie captures the emotional journey of 4 underdog developers as they sacrifice money, health, and sanity to realize their lifelong dreams of sharing their games with the world. 
  • Stories in Place. 7 Black filmmakers capture stories from behind the counters of their favorite spots. In the shadow of a pandemic, economic collapse, and racial injustice, observe the experiences of 7 Black small businesses and their communities. 
  • Deep Future. The podcast envisions the future and what’s to come in the next century. Some of its episodes are The Future of Medicine, The Future of City, and The Future of Art. 
  • All in a Day’s Work. An animated comedy series about the ups, downs, and sometimes-painful truths of life as an entrepreneur or small business owner. 
  • Second Act. It is a show that follows those who have chosen a new direction in their careers, discovering their passions and defining their versions of success. 
  • Werrrk! It’s a transformation series where three charismatic experts, the WerrrkForce, confront struggling small businesses. They bring order to the chaos by overhauling their management style, bonding the team, and redesigning their workspace.
  • Wi-Finders. A show about people who work anywhere and everywhere. Wi-Finders spotlights micro-entrepreneurs who are working from their laptops and reshaping their communities.
  • 99 Problems. The short film presents the inside scoop on the Irish ice cream business world. Through the eyes of Pinky, self-declared ‘king of the ice-cream men,’ explore an unregulated industry where rival drivers stop at nothing to protect their livelihoods.
  • Crown Candy. The documentary follows Andy, owner of a 100+-year-old candy store in the heart of St. Louis, as he navigates controversy, change, and racial disparity, all occurring not too far beyond the front doors of his store, Crown Candy.

According to Sarita Alami, Mailchimp is leaning heavily into short-form content, with 5-8 minutes each episode. Also, in one of her interviews, Alami noted that Mailchimp’s guiding principle has been to create immersive content that is captivating enough to stand on its own. 

Case examples

>> ProfitWell, a financial and subscription platform

In 2019, ProfitWell launched Recur Network, a media brand for SaaS shows. According to the Network website, “Recur is the only media network dedicated to the world of subscriptions bringing you thought-provoking content with insider knowledge and data to help you grow.” 

To this day, Recur Network launched shows, such as: 

🗃 Pricing Page Teardown. A weekly show where ProfitWell breaks down strategies and insights on how subscription companies can win with monetization from all market corners. 

Pricing Page Teardown by ProfitWell
ProfitWell Screenshot

🗃 Boxed Out. It shows the audience what happens when people buy from DTC’s subscription brands and then cancel their subscription. 

Boxed Out by ProfitWell
ProfitWell Screenshot

🗃 Protect the Hustle. A show about and with people in the B2B SaaS growth trenches. 

Protect the Hustle by ProfitWell
ProfitWell Screenshot

🗃 Tradeoffs with Patrick Campbell and Hiten Shah. A show tailored toward product pros, addressing the most significant tradeoffs SaaS companies make. 

Tradeoffs by ProfitWell
ProfitWell Screenshot

🗃 RevOps & Hops. This show uncovers the mysteries and truth that surround the RevOps space. 

RevOps & Hops by Profit Well
ProfitWell Screenshot

>> Wistia, a video hosting platform for B2B marketers

🗃 Show Business. A show on building brand affinity in the least boring way possible. People can learn from experts how to create a compelling video series or podcast for their brands during the show. The show has 20 episodes divided into four parts. Also, it provides a transcript, deleted scenes, and even a certification. You can take the test, and if you answer correctly, you’ll get certified in Brand Show Creation. The production is top-notch. 

Show Business by Wistia
Wistia Screenshot

🗃 (Out Of) Office Hours with Chris Lavigne. Wistia’s Head of Production, Chris Lavigne, talks with guests from all industries about video production in a remote world during this show. 

(Out Of) Office Hours by Wistia
Wistia Screenshot

🗃 Low Views, High Impact. The Wistia hosts sit with guests in this micro-series to uncover how videos that may not have racked up tons of views can still significantly impact business. 

Low Views, High Impact by Wistia
Wistia Screenshot

🗃 One, Ten, One Hundred. The creators of this Webby Award-winning documentary challenge a video production agency to make three ads with three different budgets. 

One, Ten, One Hundred by Wistia
Wistia Screenshot

🗃 A Better Workplace. Wistia’s VP of People, Jane Jaxon, and Customer Support Champ, Colin Dinnie, have candid conversations about diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

A Better Workplace by Wistia
Wistia Screenshot

🗃 Talking Too Loud with Chris Savage. In this podcast, Chris Savage, Wistia’s CEO, takes listeners inside the mind of entrepreneurs as they the most challenging aspects of building more human brands.

Talking Too Loud by Wistia
Wistia Screenshot

>> Webflow, no-code website builder

In December 2021, Webflow launched Webflow TV, a space for original and highly curated stories of creativity, entrepreneurship, and designing outside the lines. 

Webflow TV is offering media products, such as: 

🗃 Stories. Experience the power of visual web development through these real-life stories of creativity, flexibility, and success.

Webflow Screenshot

🗃 Generation No-Code. No-code is closing the gap between idea and impact. Gain inspiration from four real stories of pursuit, empowerment, and the magic of creativity.

Webflow Screenshot

🗃 Inside Marketing Design. A podcast created to help you improve your skills and have more impact as a marketing design professional.

Webflow Screenshot

🗃 Portfolio Design. As a creative, your most powerful tool is your portfolio. Learn how to use that power wisely and responsibly.

Webflow Screenshot

🗃 Built by Hand. To rebuild his neglected website, a self-taught designer and entrepreneur must discover his voice and carve out a place among the businesses he’s helped build.

Webflow Screenshot

🗃 Your Career Design. So you want to be a product designer? Get empowered by hearing what it (really) takes to succeed in the product design industry.

Webflow Screenshot

🗃 Creator Sessions (by ConverKit). An online event series showcasing the art and stories behind today’s most beloved musicians, artists, videographers, and photographers.

Webflow Screenshot

🗃 Young Guns. A series that follows up and coming designers across the globe in their pursuit to become creative professionals.

Webflow Screenshot

🗃 Trust the Process. What does the website design process look like for a freelancer, and what are the common problems to solve?

Webflow Screenshot

🗃 Design from Scratch. What’s it like to work as a designer at a startup in Los Angeles? How do you begin the task of creating a huge facet of the business: the website? How do you get everyone involved and on the same page?

Webflow Screenshot

And more. 

→ Your action framework


Resources are the main requirement for building an in-house media brand. You need to invest in elements such as: 

  • Space
  • High-quality equipment
  • Post-production software 

Plus, you’ll have to grow a production team, including roles such as hosts, producers, videographers, screenplay writers, editors, and more. It’s worth noting, though, that according to Patrick Campbell, one videographer was enough to kick off the show production.

At the same time, according to Dan Mills, Head of Wistia Studios:

“Making a show can be a lot for one person to manage, so the next key hire for your team is a producer. A producer can manage all the logistics around show creation. A great producer is going to help keep your content creator on track and will probably also have the bandwidth to be thinking about the next project that’s coming down the pike.”

► Quick note: If you don’t have resources, you can always start small by launching a micro media product, such as podcasting in seasons or a YouTube series. Then, you can build your media brand gradually. 

💥 To remember: People want to be educated and entertained simultaneously. That’s true whether you’re operating in the B2B or B2C industry. As a result, we’ll see more and more big SaaS companies hiring media product teams, launching in-house studies, and creating binge-worthy shows and docu-series.