The Forbes digital content model and power of the long-tail

The Forbes website, or “platform”, as Lewis D’Vorkin, chief product officer for the media outlet, prefers to call it, publishes hundreds of articles a day, powered by not just its own journalists but a community of 1,300 contributors and a dozen brands producing “thought-leadership content”. Story by

Speaking at an event on Wednesday (30 October), held at the Telegraph, London, D’Vorkin discussed in detail the site’s content strategy, which is based on the editorial pillars of “context, relevance and analysis”.

Strikingly, it is seeing much success in resurfacing past content, with 50 per cent of its monthly traffic said to be to articles that are at least 30 days old.

The “more quality content we produce, the more variety we produce, the more long-tail of content we have,” he added.

But the approach taken by Forbes demonstrates that it is not just a newsroom’s own reporters who can achieve this.

Writers on the site vary from Forbes’s 45 journalists, its 1,300 contributors and those from the 12 or 13 BrandVoice clients, companies who pay to publish stories promoting a brand, with that work displayed in a way which is “fully transparent”, D’Vorkin added.

Around 15 per cent of the contributors are journalists, D’Vorkin confirmed, later explaining by email that these are defined as those “who have worked for leading international and national newspapers, magazines, broadcast and cable outlets and trade publications.”

The remaining 85 per cent of contributors features “authors, academics, topic experts, business leaders and entrepreneurs”, he said.

The new site design, launched last year, means Forbes’s own journalists, its vetted contributors and paying BrandVoice companies all publish to the same platform.

The site, which sets out content on its homepage based on certain sections, starting with top stories, followed by most popular, and an area where readers can follow specific writers.

Readers then reach the BrandVoice section, where companies can pay to write and publish articles to the site. However this content can also make its way up to the higher sections, alongside content and contributor articles, if it proves as popular.

And 15 more BrandVoice clients will be added before the end of the year, D’Vorkin added.

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