Smart and progressive content marketing negotiates gender in media

Some of the digital media brands most associated with men are starting to either broaden their focus beyond traditional bro content or clean up their act a bit, all the better to attract readers of all genders and play nice with much-coveted advertisers.

It seems that few brands these days really want to be seen as being for men, which is notable considering that a bunch of blatantly female-focused publications — Bustle, Broadly, Lenny Letter, Motto, among them — have arrived over the past few years. (One notable example is Beta Male, a New York magazine popup blog that attracted some internet ire along with a solid readership.)

Thrillist Media Group, for example, is often described as being for millennial men. But the company would like to change that perception. “Over the last year or so, Thrillist has been shifting beyond being a solely male-focused media brand,” a spokeswoman told Ad Age as she declined an interview request for an article about men’s media.

Where the company earlier this year described its obsession “with helping guys live fun lives” and telling “guys how to best spend their time and money across the lifestyle categories they care about most,” its self-description now says, in part, “We’re eaters, drinkers, travelers, and doers.” The word “guys” no longer appears. Earlier this year, Thrillist’s homepage had a prominent button to access a “Sex & Dating” section, but now it’s housed in a larger “All Sections” tab, as part of a redesign.

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