Why Most B2B Content Distribution Reminds Me of Friday Nights at Blockbuster Video

My name is Brett. I have worked as a marketer in B2B software my entire career. 

I’m going to be a contributor here. 

I’m using this first entry to share why I joined this company, what we are working on, and what you can expect from the content that we share.

That’s enough context for now. 

My recruitment and eventual onboarding to the Fathom team was seamless. I worked with our CEO, Jonathan at the first stop in our B2B marketing journey. We developed our marketing chops by organizing data, telling stories, and running campaigns in a crowded market. We marketed an email product, but it was much more than an email product (and eventual mobile, social, web, marketing automation, Interactive Marketing Hub, fill in the blank, etc.).It was a culture. It was a brand where teammates attached themselves to the company’s core values not because they were told to, but because we all believed them. This created a tremendous energy to serve our market and do whatever we could do to make our customers look like superheroes. 

Jonathan and I parted ways, but kept in touch. We’d meet for coffee or trade messages about sports, marketing, and life. I was heads down in work when I saw a LinkedIn notification that Jonathan was starting a new company. I was excited for him and curious about what he was building.




LinkedIn exchange when I found out about Jonathan's new job

I learned quickly about the problem that Jonathan was trying to solve because I was his target audience. We’d meet over Zoom and every time the conversation would finish I would begin to realize that I was living with the problem that he was working to fix.

Here’s the big problem statement that he burned into my head:

The ability to create content has surpassed our ability to effectively distribute and discover content. Content marketers struggle to reach the right audience at the right time with the right content. 

  • They need to create too much content to meet their goals 
  • They receive diminishing returns by marketing to the same audience with the same content formats repeatedly
  • Content distribution is time consuming and tedious

I had spent the past 4 years deep in the content creation game. Creating blogs, ramping up social, building podcasts, developing a YouTube strategy. It wasn’t enough. The organic engine was running on fumes and I wrestled with ideas on how we could effectively distribute content to the right people at the right time.  I'd spend all of this time and energy on content production and most of the time it never left the dock.

This was hard work. It was a manual process. Indicators on success were few and far between. This is what kept me up at night. This was a problem that I was dying to solve and then I was hit with this text message from Jonathan. 

I had spent so much time living in the problem.

I wanted to learn more about how he was thinking about tackling the problem.

He was already thinking about marketing?

Of course he was. He was a marketer. 

I think he might think that I can help with their marketing.

He is trying to consult with me? Hire me? Neither? Both?

These were all thoughts running through my head when I let the message wash over me. 

I responded back. The conversation was set.

This is what I learned.

He told me he was going to bring on an amazing team and build the “Spotify for B2B Content”. Anyone who works in the start-up space knows we use these analogies to describe products that are being built to offer some perspective without getting into the mumbo jumbo software jargon speak.

Jonathan sent me a deliverable that included the following solution statement to describe what Fathom was going to help marketers do:

Use the power of curation to ensure that your content is being consumed by the right audience at the right time. To maximize the impact of your content marketing, marketers need:

  • A curated audience that matches their ideal customer profile
  • An ability to organically grow the audience that their content is presented to
  • A frictionless reader experience that makes it easy to convert readers into leads
  • An understanding of what is working and how they can improve their content efforts ongoing


I started to get that fire in my stomach thinking about it. 

I couldn’t think of a better opportunity than getting to create a brand that tells stories about how we were solving a big problem in content marketing that I was currently wrestling with.

I knew I had to be a part of the building process of this company. 

I told Jonathan that I was in and my wheels starting spinning on all of the opportunities to do cool sh** to make noise in this space. 

We are just getting started.

We are going to be authentic, communicate like humans, embrace curation, show our work, and turn left when everyone else is going right. 

We are going to be excellent content creators. 

We have to be next level with our own delivery and distribution or we will come across as phony. 

We are in training camp. We are ready to compete.

Here’s what you can expect by being a content consumer on this page: 

  1. We are going to spare you from the long form, keyword salad infested blog posts that put you to sleep before you finish the second paragraph - we will share stories about what we are working on and how that can help you….the marketer who produces, manages, or oversees content teams 
  2. We are going to make our customers and people that we want to be our customers look like content marketing superheroes - I’ve had several conversations with marketers in first couple weeks and can’t tell you how impressed I am already with their stories on how they are thinking about their content distribution strategies 
  3. This will be the spot where smaller pieces of content are created from our new podcast 3C: Curating Content Creators (coming very soon!) - I’m a big fan of using podcasts for long form content and breaking up the nuggets for blog posts, social media, email headlines, etc. 
  4. We’ll be open for business on guest posting - there will be a qualification process here, but we want to make sure we are curating the best content for marketers and will do that here
  5. There will always be a call to action - digital event, new video, campaign, chance to speak to the team to learn more about our product, etc. - it’s your choice to take that step. We won’t force you. 

I’m not sure how you got here. The possibilities are endless.

It could have been organically on Google, LinkedIn or Twitter, a share, a Slack message, or maybe a good old-fashion e-mail.

I’m glad you made it here. 

Remember Blockbuster? 

I used to beg my parents every Friday after we got done with dinner to take me there. I’d walk around the aisles for 15-20 minutes until I picked a movie (it was mostly wrestling tapes - I think I rented 1992 Royal Rumble 50 times) and a video game. 

I needed entertainment after the TGIF slate. 

The Blockbuster experience gave me a feeling of happiness and escape. We can all relate to this experience, but times change. 

Netflix came on the scene. Eliminated steps. Saved everyone time. Saved everyone money. 

They made it possible to watch new movies in your pajamas on your couch with one click. 

We are working hard to create these similar experiences for B2B marketers and content consumers. 

We want content teams to stop feeling like a hamster stuck in a wheel. 

We want to help marketers push the boundaries of what’s possible with content distribution.

We want consumers to stop feeling inundated by the same old junk that doesn’t help them.

We are on a mission to provide value to B2B content marketers abound and I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of this team.

Hey marketers, be kind and rewind the VHS version of your content strategy. Let us help you deliver the Netflix experience. 

Thanks for stopping by. Can’t wait to show you what’s next.

Brett McGrath

VP, Marketing at Fathom

@IndyMcGrath

If you think what we are working on might level up your content distribution let us know here. Jonathan and I will jump on a call with you to learn about what you are up to and see if we can help.