When it comes to content marketing, most companies are simply
trying to keep up with the competition.
Then there’s Equinox, which has boldly broken away from the pack and is about
to lap everyone else.
Over the past year the boundry-pushing health and wellness firm has built
out Furthermore, a content
platform that is dramatically extending the brand’s reach and attracting major
In other words, while most marketers still trying to
understand how much to invest in content, Equinox has already moved on to
figuring out how to make money off its efforts.
Recently we chatted with Elizabeth Miersch, Executive Managing Director of Furthermore From Equinox, to learn how the company made this transition and to find out where the ambitious initiative is heading.
Check out the Q&A below:
Q: Starting broadly, what role does content play
The role of content at Equinox has been ever evolving.
When we started Q, our initial
digital publication, it was essentially a landing page of content for Equinox
to push out pieces to its social channels. The role of content was to help
explain what Equinox was about and to help people take a deeper dive into the
We still do that via our incredible
marketing team. They’re creating content constantly to describe everything
that’s going on in the world of Equinox for our members.
The form of content I work
on, Furthermore, which is what Q evolved into, is editorial content.
Furthermore is not only for members, it’s for anyone who shares the mindset of
our members. So, the Equinox marketing team creates content related to what
happens within the four walls of our spaces and Furthermore is about the broader
For example, we recently
launched a video about
the street athletes of Brazil.
It capitalizes on the timing of the Olympics and celebrates the role movement
plays in Brazilian culture. That’s something that makes sense to be branded as
Furthermore since it’s about the world of fitness at large.
The goal of the content we
create is not tied to new member acquisition, which is incredibly freeing
editorially. That said, we are creating content for people who have the same high
performance mindset as our members.
Q: What is the difference between good content
and bad content?
When people ask why our content is so successful I always respond that it’s
because we have something to say.
There is so much content out
there that brands are putting out just for the sake of it. That doesn’t work. Good
content starts with having something different or interesting to say.
When we started we looked at
the landscape and we said: “No one is talking about health and wellness in
a premium, elevated way to an intelligent audience."
We knew that no content
platform was creating health and wellness pieces for the types of people in our
clubs; we saw a clear opportunity to reach these audiences, and we still
maintain that clear point-of-view.
Q: The Furthermore
content is beautiful. How is it created? Do you have an in-house team?
We currently have a team of
11 led by our editor-in-chief Sheila Monaghan and our creative director, Ashley
We don’t have an in-house
photographer or videographer, we bring people in depending on what project
we’re working on.
Q: What role does video content
play for you?
Video for us has been a really interesting space from the beginning.
Starting out, we realized that
the fitness videos out there were so much different from what we wanted to
make. One of our big points of differentiation has been these beautiful,
We very quickly found that
video was something that was helping draw a lot of attention in our site. One
of the first things we did was a yoga video called The
Contortionist, which has
around 11 million views now.
It took off completely
organically because it was fundamentally so good. It’s the only piece of
content that we’ve done so far that literally brought me to tears. I remember
sitting in the room with the creative team and just knowing instantly that this
was it. I think that will always be my favorite piece of content even though
we’ve done so many interesting things since then.
Q: How many videos are you creating these days?
We usually do one big one a month. It’s become a key asset that our partners
are interested in, so we’ve worked on
pieces with Cathay Pacific,
for example. We also just shot four films with an automotive partner.
Just as our editorial focus
has changed from the beginning, so has our monetization approach. We looked at
the landscape and saw all these luxury brands wanting to be associated with
health and wellness.
We saw that and said:
"Okay, where are these brands going to go?” The luxury brands aren’t
too interested in showing up in the standard health and wellness publications.
So we created our platform for them; a
place that married a premium feel with Equinox’s health and wellness street
We took a year and wrote a
business plan; we decided to rebrand as Furthermore and launched in September
2015 with our first partner, Smartwater. Our main goal for the site now is to
be a revenue generator.
It’s a real departure from
where we started; we’re building a media business. We think there is a wide-open
space for the type of content that we’re creating.
Q: How do you build an audience for your content?
Do you use paid and unpaid channels?
We use both. We recently hired an audience development expert, which is new for
us. She’s completely focused on growing both our paid and unpaid efforts.
Social media is growing
really quickly for us, and our newsletter is still a very big source of
It’s never just one thing
when you’re building an audience, it’s everything put together. It’s increasing
the cadence of social posting and boosting paid efforts. We’re always testing
new things depending on our goals.
Q: Final question, are there any digital trends
that you’re watching closely right now?
Yes, the trend of monetizing branded content.
We’re not the only brand
thinking about this, of course, GE is doing it well as are some others.
However, I think our
situation is different because of the ecosystem that we bring to our partners.
So it’s not just digital content but also access to physical spaces.
I think our selling
proposition is unique, but I also think lots of other brands are going to start
to play in this space. Just as we woke up one day and everyone had branded content,
we’re going to wake up one day and brands are going to figure out how to
monetize all the content they’ve created.