While mobile is part of the digital reality many publishers face today, Avlon says that it’s content that creates value for The Daily Beast.
“People aren’t responding to shorter, more commoditised articles,” he said. “Commodity news is a killer in the age of information.”
In the last three years, Avlon revealed that The Daily Beast’s readership has grown from 6,000 readers a day to one million.
And, that’s due to the fact that they’ve invested in real reporting. “Our news brand values are created by differentiation,” Avlon said. “It’s our job as journalists – to make the important stories interesting.”
The Daily Beast has seen significant traffic growth over the last three years, Avlon said. This traffic growth is pinned to the staff. “There is no substitute for hiring journalists who are social media influencers,” he said. “You want reporters who are influential, reporting on influential topics for influential audiences.”
The Daily Beast invested in editorial staff, who appear on television, know how to use social media, and who are influential. “There is no substitute for getting a collection of influencers and that’s the way you’re going to get organic growth,” Avlon said.
And the content they produce, produces value. The mobile growth The Daily Beast has experienced speaks to long-form and enterprise reporting. “Audiences will reject clickbait that is rewritten from another source. There’s data to show that news brands still matter in a social media age,” he said. “You need to think about keeping it short, tight, punchy and visual. But you don’t need to dumb it down or keep it short.”
A recent report from the Pew Center suggests that long form does two times better engagement on mobile. “What will hurt your engagement is if it’s a rewritten commodity,” Avlon said.
“In your newsroom, you need to add value. The more exclusives you have, the more credibility you will create. And readers will reward that.”
Influential editorial drives an influential audience, he said. “If you really want to reach influential people, you need to respect their time and intelligence. They will know it’s BS.”
At The Daily Beast, it’s about returning to basics, like quality content, hard-hitting, quality content and headlines. Because, Avlon notes, those are your brand ambassadors.
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