Publications like Scary Mommy, Fatherly and The Dad speak to the joys and insecurities of being a parent.
These brands have created enviable engagement with their community of moms and dads, that span across platforms: email, websites and both old social media sites (Facebook) and new (Twitch).
“You can’t ask for a healthier media company,” said Chief Operating Officer Mary Kate McGrath, who joined parent company Some Spider Studios at the beginning of 2021, in part because she was wowed by the brands’ engagement stats.
If readers connect with your brand, you can take more risks: “You can take moonshots and rocket shots because you have that market confidence.”
Because McGrath is tasked with growing the brands, she’s actively looking for new channels where she can innovate.
“Maybe we can do a stand-up night on Clubhouse,” McGrath said. Because each brand is part of a portfolio company, they can learn from each other and move on quickly if certain ideas or platforms don’t connect.
For example, some of the editors of The Dad started a gaming night on Twitch that’s attracted special guests – like professional sports players – and a gentler version of typical gaming banter. “It’s the most supportive, lovely gaming community I’ve seen,” McGrath said.
In December, Scary Mommy also created a late-night talk show, “Up Early Tonight,” that aired on Hulu, in partnership with Huggies, and extended the brand’s humorous, unvarnished take on motherhood into a video format.
Then there’s TikTok: “Content is rewarded with incredible growth,” she said. “You get so much bang for your buck – it’s a warm and welcoming platform for publishers.”
McGrath takes a test-and-learn approach, where she likes to try ideas quickly and move on if they don’t work. Before Some Spider Studios, she was PureWow’s editor-in-chief and then Chief Content Officer at Gallery Media Group, after it acquired PureWow.
She’s now bringing her specialization launching new verticals and niche products to Some Spider Studios.
Diversification gives publishers stability in a rapidly shifting landscape. “So many times the floor has come out from under us,” McGrath said. “I don’t think anyone in media for the past five years has rested on their laurels in any way, shape or form.”
And the pandemic has underscored the importance of deep relationships. When the pandemic shook the ad business last year, having strong advertiser partnerships mattered. “We’re looking at bigger, more complex relationships vs. fly-by-night partnerships,” McGrath said.
The same holds true in media – especially brands like Scary Mommy, The Dad and Fatherly, which connect with peoples’ identities asare parents, McGrath said. Engagement means a brand not only survives, but thrives: “Content has been a respite, and a support system for a lot of people.”