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5 Critical Tips for Branded Content from Jerry Media

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Mick Purzycki, CEO of Jerry Media, discusses how he and his team used the popularity of @FuckJerry and similarly sticky accounts to build a full-service content studio

F*ck just one Instagram account. Jerry Media grew into a media powerhouse with a clear vision for branded content.

On a day where Instagram announced a major overhaul of Instagram Stories, marketers are still trying to master the conventional features of the platform. And that’s OK. Influencers with huge followings pave the way for how teams can capitalize them. And the world is looking closely at one in particular.

With an audience of over 13.5 million loyal followers, it would be easy for Jerry Media CEO Mick Purzycki to focus on the flagship Instagram account, @fuckjerry. But with 32 unique accounts, branded content creation, a successful Kickstarter, and the second most popular card game on Amazon that you don’t want to play with your parents, Purzycki dropped some knowledge on a packed house at SMWNY 2018’s Stage 2.

In an interview with Esquire’s Zoë Henry, he mentioned some key insights brands can adopt into their content strategy.

Recognize a paradigm shift in media

Marketers understand that we’re undergoing a revolution in the way media is consumed, but are they keeping up with consumer behaviors? As consumers spend less time with ad-supported media, Purzycki and his team recognized that the first step to solving the problem is recognizing there is one.

“We do believe that historians will write about this time the way they write about the industrial revolution,” explained Purzycki.  The “fundamental paradigm shift” in media consumption will require creative solutions well beyond the traditional social toolkit of early 2010’s.

Brand teams and agencies that capitalize on a shift away from ad-driven media are in a position to win. They’ll be the first to prioritize what audiences find valuable, interesting, and entertaining.

Provide authenticity in a world of distrust

Even Snapchat isn’t safe from fake news. The reputation of social networks and news organizations are questioned daily. Tweets by influencers are disproven almost as quickly as they’re posted, and a global audience continues to seek more avenues for trust.

Jerry Media doubled down on that insight by looking beyond convention and the humorous reputation of their brand. By positioning Jerry News (now over 1 million followers) as a trusted, moderate voice in an ocean of angry coverage, Purzycki’s team chose a voice and tone far different from the @fuckjerry brand.

Purzycki dug deeper: “We thought about what was needed in the media world. We wanted an objective voice that wasn’t too far right or too far left so people could take the facts and develop their own opinions.”

Capitalizing on a humorous, satirical brand voice would have been a natural fit for the brand, but The Onion and a host of others already do this well. Jerry Media saw the white space in a crowded medium. Now it’s paying off.

Use passion as a filter

Like many successful brands and agencies looking at the cost of acquisition, the days of Jerry Media taking any client regardless of cultural fit are long past.  One of the most important elements of building a brand is for marketers to want to move the needle. Showing passion for your brand plays a huge role in a marketer’s professional success and building a partnership with the best influencers.

“If we see the will, the desire, and [we] like the people, we want to help everybody navigate the economy and do a better job if they’re passionate about it,” explained Purzycki.

Marketers that are unapologetically fired up about their brand are ahead of the game.

Long-term partnerships beat one-night stands

Brand recognition and association are built with time. The crowd at Stage 2 in the Times Square Sheraton found themselves head-nodding at the notion of sporadic sponsored posts and short-term plays not being a smart use of marketing dollars. We as marketers won’t be able to build the type of recognition that leads to consideration further down the marketing funnel.

Building a solid brand association with an influencer needs repeated touch-points in a carefully curated story. Jerry Media’s branded content play is one that makes sense: longer-term client relationships lead to long-term value.

Give Content Creators Their Credit, Too

Social content curators like Elliot Tabele, the founder of @fuckjerry account, have been under the microscope since the controversy over assigning proper credit to the owners. But he understands that a good relationship with the internet’s creative makers is important. The team makes all efforts to give credit where it’s due.

Purzycki says they make sure to show the content creators in their posts. He shed some light on why these controversies have been somewhat unique to Instagram.

“We all grew up in an era where retweets, sharing, and pinning were fundamental feature sets of platforms that were based on sharing content. Instagram doesn’t have those buttons. The culture that evolved was screenshotting and reposting.”

Brands can – and should – capitalize on this. Working with celebrity or micro-influencers allows us to cross-promote each other’s brands. Take advantage of your audiences by ensuring that influencer and branded content partnerships link to your handles or hashtags.

What happens when you execute those partnerships correctly? Hopefully an audience the size of Jerry Media’s.

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