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Dollar Shave Club Wants to Keep You Reading on the Toilet

It’s been just shy of three years since personal grooming startup Dollar Shave Club introduced its service with a viral video that generated 12,000 orders in two days. A forerunner to naughty ads like Kmart’s “Ship My Pants” and Spirit Airlines’ $69 fare promotion, Dollar Shave Club’s “Our Blades are F***ing Great” has been called everything from cheeky to sophomoric.

It’s also been viewed more than 19 million times.

Since that notorious video went live Dollar Shave Club has built a membership of more than 1.1 million active users.

And when it comes to content marketing, the red-hot startup hasn’t been resting on its laurels. Dollar Shave Club’s blog-based member profiles, refined social content, and top-notch bathroom reading material is proving it’s more than a one-hit wonder. And in fact, it’s got big content plans on the horizon.

Making the most of those bathroom minutes

Earlier this year, Dollar Shave Club’s senior vice president of marketing, Adam Weber, told eMarketer, “One of our most important marketing vehicles is our actual box.” And what’s in that box? The product, of course, but also The Bathroom Minutes, a monthly magazine about ten pages in length sent to all Dollar Shave Club members.

Combining editorial content with product updates and company news, The Bathroom Minutes informs and entertains to make the brand’s loyal users “feel like they’re part of a bigger community—part of something more than just buying razors,” according to Weber.

Dollar Shave Club Wants to Keep You Reading on the Toilet

Select content from The Bathroom Minutes can be found online, where it’s published to the Dollar Shave Club blog. Readers can expect anything from Western-themed word puzzles to bathroom stats like the collected weight of whiskers shaved from the average member’s face in one year (1 ounce, or the weight of a dozen pennies).

Snack-sized stories also incorporate holidays and seasonal events, presenting them in the context of toiletries. For Presidents’ Day, for example, Dollar Shave Club posted little-known grooming facts about former American presidents. Its readers now know that Harry S. Truman started each day with a massage and a shot of bourbon from the stash in “The First Bathroom.”

Dollar Shave Club Wants to Keep You Reading on the Toilet

Life hacks and member profiles

“We like to think of ourselves as an experience company,” Dollar Shave Club co-founder and CEO Michael Dubin has said. “Content is just one part of it.” Much of that content comes in the form of DSC blog posts that go beyond The Bathroom Minutes to feature hygiene facts (“Does hand sanitizer kill as many germs as soap and water?”) and grooming advice (“If I only shower once a day should it be in the AM or PM?”).

Perhaps most interesting, however, are the profiles of notable Dollar Shave Club members that make their way onto the site. Earlier this month the brand posted a Q&A with Ray Emerson, a volunteer at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center tasked with preventing car-on-turtle accidents. Last November, it was an interview with Anthony Giannotti, West Coast barber extraordinaire.

These Member Spotlights have been known to generate hundreds of online shares, but they also serve the vital purpose of demonstrating the fascinating diversity of Dollar Shave Club’s membership and enticing prospective customers.

Funny lives on—online and off

Many brands find themselves unable to top their success post a major viral hit. Dollar Shave Club may not have struck lightning twice yet—although the brazen “Let’s Talk about #2” promoting its One Wipe Charlies product came close—but its subsequent videos can hold their own.

Last year Dollar Shave Club launched a funny if understated four-part YouTube series for Father’s Day that was designed to encourage consumers to gift their dads with a membership. The videos provided Internet-themed life hacks along the lines of what Dollar Shave Club offers on its blog, all in the name of helping fathers to “thrive in the digital age.”

Last November, the brand took its unique brand of humor to an old-school medium with its first national TV campaign. The four 30-second spots were written by Dubin and his creative director Alec Brownstein and demonstrate the high cost and inconvenience of buying razors in a brick and mortar store. Two of the four videos have already received over a million views online.

What’s next for Dollar Shave Club? According to recent reports, the company is forging relationships with journalists in preparation to launch a men’s lifestyle magazine. By following in the footsteps of brands like Red Bull, Marriott, and Airbnb and creating a high-caliber media property that delivers value and entertainment to consumers, Dollar Shave Club stands to strengthen its market hold even more.

(Full disclosure: Marriott is a Contently client.)

“What we’re telling (editors) is they’re not coming here to write a ‘here’s how you get a better shave’ type article,” Dubin told The Wall Street Journal. Rather, its content development team will address men’s lifestyle topics.

A magazine produced by a brand already synonymous with razor-sharp content? For Dollar Shave Club, it could be a smooth move.

Image by Everett Collection
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