- Spring Seminar
PAGE SOCIETY SPRING SEMINAR - APRIL 2014
The New Media Redux session kicked off with two familiar faces from last year's Spring Seminar – Meredith Kopit Levien and Dan Roth. Yet in just a year, the conversation and trends had greatly evolved, and so too had Meredith's title. Now leading the launch of native advertising at The New York Times after a great deal of success at Forbes with the contributor network, Kopit Levien was joined by Dan Roth, Executive Editor at LinkedIn behind their ever-growing Influencer program, and Jay Lauf, Publisher of Quartz, the mobile-first, a digital-only publication from Atlantic Media to discuss how they are helping shape the next wave of audience relationships.
The conversation centered on a topic that the public relations industry and the media are all too familiar with – the blurred lines between advertising and editorial, and a changing of the guard in terms of how the two work together. The shift to a digital, mobile world has changed the way the media delivers news – Kopit Levien pointed out that more than half of the traffic to The Times' website comes from mobile devices.
It has also flipped the business on its head, as traditional publications consider new ways to generate revenue and paving the way for non-traditional media entities like Quartz and LinkedIn to find success.
What hasn't changed is the importance of storytelling as all three panelists pointed out, and it's as important to The New York Times as it is to Quartz as they integrate native advertising into their strategy.
Consider LinkedIn's Influencer program – Roth shared that a poorly written post by an influencer, no matter the name or prominence, isn't going to find traction on LinkedIn where people are craving authenticity in order to engage. Not convinced? Well, LinkedIn has the analytics to measure click-through and reach and regularly uses that data when talking with influencers and communications teams.
The same is true for The Times, and Kopit Levien pushes for relevance in native advertising as well as transparency and trust in order to deliver readers what they want, even if a brand is behind the content. Lauf noted that for Quartz, it's about always striving to provide readers with a new perspective on the news and that mission must also carry through with advertisers.
For communicators, this evolution means that media programs need to be holistic and take stock of where an audience is, how they're engaging and the best way to reach them. Communicating your company's story effectively today might mean taking a non-traditional path. And don't just consider the messaging – one major benefit of this shift to online and mobile platforms means the ability to create interactive and visual content that powerfully communicates your message in a whole new way. Consider Quartz and Bank of America's recent success with an infographic on countries' stages of economic development tied to the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos. Or The New York Times' multichapter infographic on capital markets and why they matter, created in partnership with Goldman Sachs.
So where will the conversation go next year? Roth believes we'll see the "growth of companies who have built their own influencer voice/program on LinkedIn" and brands becoming their own publisher.
For The Times and Quartz, it's all about mobile. "We have to figure out the permission you have on mobile, but also [use] the chance to more deeply engage people," said Lauf. "I'm reading more intently on my phone then I ever am on my desktop – if we can tap into that in a year, [I] hope readers will also appreciate it."
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