Media websites are a pretty big topic of discussion here at WebDevStudios (WDS). For the record, it’s also a very broad topic. We have a lot of clients who come to us either from the media space directly, meaning they represent a media publication like Discovery Communications, or alternatively, they’re a brand who needs help building out their media sites, like our clients Campbells and Microsoft. And of course, we come in on the digital media side, which these days is generally one of many types of strategies that a company might leverage for their brand(s).
Needless to say, media websites are a big part of our world. So when Women in Media was announced, it piqued our interest as an event where we could gain current knowledge about what challenges typical content creators and media sites are facing as the landscapes for both media and technology continue to change. I attended with our COO, Lisa Sabin Wilson, and together we soaked up all the information presented and took advantage of the opportunities to speak with women who work in media and learn about the needs of their media websites.
We saw some media website clients that we’ve worked with in attendance, like Debbie Medrano from Discovery Communications, who spoke on engaging fans beyond the screen. As a digital company, content is king, but as a brand, it’s just one of the components of an overall engagement strategy.
She discussed some of the leading brands and how they’ve succeeded and failed at engaging beyond the screen. It really comes down to mastering three key channels. Brands need to develop engagement pathways that go from seeing it (content), to owning it (merchandise), and lastly, to living it (experiences).
Debbie used Disney as the ultimate example of how you engage with their cartoons or videos, and then you love a character so you purchase their merchandise, and then you can live out your Disney fairy tales in real life by visiting their theme parks. Of course, not all brands can imitate Disney, but the idea broken down is really simple and something for other brands to take cues from.
Another great talk that resonated was by Kendra Bracken Ferguson of CAA on the subject of agencies as aggregators. She gave examples such as relying on your consumers as your chief creative officers, advocates, and your biggest brand champions. Kendra shared some statistics that put into perspective of just how much of a pillar content marketing is for today’s leading media websites and companies.
Seventy-two percent of internet traffic will be mobile in 2019. Sixty-three percent of content marketing costs less than traditional creative marketing and drives three times more leads. And, 72% of marketers believe that relevant content is the most effective method for strengthening SEO.
Those might sound like buzzword statistics, but creating content is more affordable today and produces a bigger yield. With WordPress, brands are able to take advantage of how quickly you can spin up a landing page or media website for your content to live and how easy it is to enable multiple authors to create that content. In a world where consumption is increasing by the minute, any advantage a brand can have is one that should be enthusiastically taken.
Democratization of Content
Also in attendance was Samantha Skey, the chairperson of SheKnows Media, the parent company of BlogHer. BlogHer is a huge advocate of WordPress and so it was a treat to meet and connect with her. The SheKnows platform is empowering a lot of different voices, mainly those of women, through the power of blogging and content creation. Seeing such big driving forces behind the power of empowerment as they continue to make investments into WordPress is what gives me confidence that this open-source platform is truly one that democratizes publishing and gives anyone who wants to have a voice the space to do so.
Overall, we learned a lot about ways in which these future types of technology like AR and VR are being incorporated as part of this evolving digital landscape. The event reminded me that digital is the future but how we interact and engage with it is evolving before our eyes. It’s my goal to help WDS be prepared to have that conversation at all these different levels to help enable our clients to build the best digital experience for engaging with their audience.