Content Strategy

Thrilled to Announce That I’ve Joined News Deeply!

I’m so happy to say that I’ve joined a fantastic journalism company as Director of Strategy & Research.

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July 2015

I’m so happy to say that I have joined a small, wonderful journalism company full-time. The company’s name is News Deeply; they’ve been a client since March. It’s been a great match so far, and I look forward to continuing our work together.

I will be Director of Strategy & Research at News Deeply — thereby fusing my passion for media, content, and editorial strategy with user research. I will also be working with our philanthropic partners.

Here is the company’s exciting official description:

News Deeply logoNews Deeply is dedicated to advancing the user experience of complex global issues. Our team of journalists and technologists builds unique, user-centered resources that fuse news, live events, information design, and social participation.

Our inaugural platform, Syria Deeply, is a fusion of journalism and technology created to enhance coverage of the Syrian crisis. In recognition of the project’s innovative approach, Time Magazine called Syria Deeply “The Future of News,” while Fast Company Magazine said “Syria Deeply Outsmarts the News, Redefines Conflict Coverage.” Based on the website’s success, CEO & Founder Lara Setrakian was invited to the White House to brief President Obama on the dynamics of the Syrian conflict. News Deeply won the National Press Foundation’s Excellence in Online Journalism Award in 2013, joining honorees like the Wall Street Journal, the Center for Public Integrity, NPR, and Re/code.

The most recent platform from News Deeply is Water Deeply, which covers California’s record-breaking drought crisis.

In addition to our single-subject information hubs, the News Deeply team ideates and creates custom projects for think tanks, institutions, and private sector partners. News Deeply’s clients and partners include the World Economic Forum, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Baker Institute at Rice University, and Columbia University’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism. The company’s work has been featured on outlets including CNN, NPR, BBC News, the Guardian, and Wired.

How To Hire Writers For Content Marketing: Reviewing The Options For Quibb

Many companies really want to hire high-quality writers, but have trouble finding them. Here’s how to find and hire good writers.

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June 2015

When companies build content marketing strategies, they typically include writing — whether blog posts, how-to lists, thoughtful articles, in-depth white papers, or full-on “brand publications” and “owned information hubs.”  For these projects, brand marketers need professional writers.

But where can they find writers?  As brand content has proliferated, a variety of solutions hit the market.  Solutions include semi-famous subculture bloggers with devoted, niche fanbases; marketing agencies with an arsenal of versatile English majors; and tech platforms that want to be the “Uber for articles.”  It’s bewildering.  How do you know what’s out there, and what’s the best value for money?

I started by drawing from my own experience as a writer and content strategist; then I interviewed my media friends and surveyed a few technical products in order to help Sandi answer this question for Quibb.  (During this process, I had to sign up for email lists run by content marketers with varying moral sensibilities, and I’m still unsubscribing weeks later!  You’re welcome. :) )

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Can Platform-Publisher Hybrids Survive, Or Will They All Fall Apart?

Today I have a piece in the Harvard Business Review about platform-publisher hybrids. (Some people call them “platishers,” which is an amazing word!) My article discusses some difficulties and complications of building these hybrids. And I have a chart!

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January 2015

Today I have a piece in the Harvard Business Review about digital media business models. In the piece, I wrote about some of the forces that pull “platforms” and “publishers” together, and I also discussed the tensions tearing them apart.

While I was writing the piece, I constructed a table to help me think about what I was trying to say. The table didn’t make it into the article, so I wanted to share it here.

The distinction between publishers and platforms is cultural; it’s not an inherent truth. It may be possible to bridge the gap, although it’s difficult due to the conflicting incentives laid out in my article. With that said, here are some common differences between the two:

Platforms… Publishers…
Emphasize that everyone can participate Emphasize taste, curation, and gatekeeping
Have lots of content, since lots of people can create it Have content some people consider higher-quality
Are perceived as having no editorial judgment Are held responsible for editing and values
Can scale more easily to a giant user base Have a defined audience that they try to serve
Identify strongly with the tech subculture Identify strongly with the media subculture

I have lots more to say about this topic — more later! The HBR article is here.

Brandopolis: A Big Brand Strategy Report

I spent the summer working on an in-depth report about content marketing and digital media strategy. I’m so pleased to announce that you can read it now!

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November 2013

Over the summer, I heard that a marketing agency called Distilled was seeking a journalist to cover the content marketing landscape. My heart was in my throat as I applied: The assignment sounded really interesting! I knew it would give me the chance to do plenty of in-depth research and analysis.

I’m really happy to announce that the results are in! Brandopolis: A Big Brand Strategy Report.

I had a great time working with Distilled, and I’m proud of the results. I read up on lots of major brands’ content strategies, and I interviewed marketers at those brands as well as the agencies they’re working with. I had the chance to sort out some of my thoughts about online media and to explore some questions I’ve been thinking about, like how social networks act in their early phases, and how marketers think about media differently from journalists.
Lydia Laurenson in front of a camera. Photo by Paul Garber
My favorite section of Brandopolis might be Early Adoption Stories, where I discussed what it means for brands to get into certain networks early — and how to systematize that. (But all the sections of Brandopolis are my favorite!)

Special shout-out to Paul Garber and Justin Oliphant at Compound Creative! They helped me in my time of need by recording my Brandopolis promo video. Paul also took this great photo of me in front of the recording camera, and my mother keeps sharing the photo on Facebook. (I love you Mom!)