28-year-old BuzzFeed senior editor Matt Stopera is explaining how he and his 500-plus peers in the editorial department define success. They rely on an internal proprietary metric, known as “viral lift,” that quantifies how much and how quickly a piece of content is shared. “If something has a 1.5 viral lift and 100,000 views and above, that was worth doing,” he tells me. “It’s a failure if you have 400,000 views and a 1.1 or 1.2 lift. That’s a flop.”
Most publishers would perceive the post with 400,000 views to be the success, but at BuzzFeed sharing is paramount. As Stopera explains, “It wasn’t shared. It was all seed. The fun in the game is getting people to share something. I click on shit all the time. ‘Oh, let’s look at what this person posted on Instagram,’ and you saw their butt cheek. It’s like, click, but I’m not going to share it.“
“When media companies think of growth, they tend to think of it as a marketing function. We talk about growth as a technology function—building tools and products, and making changes in your platform. That’s more lasting than a marketing campaign. Marketing campaigns end after you run out of money.”
I agree 100% with Buzzfeed’s publisher Dao Nguyen. She said this in an interview with Wired.
On the must-read Monday Note blog, one of its authors describes how Facebook and Google now dominate media distribution and why – as a publisher – you shouldn’t solely rely on them (they’re uncontrollable and the users they’re sending you aren’t loyal). He ends with a good recommendation: improving the recommendations on your own site and thus getting more people to directly access your publication:
Taken to the extreme, some medias are doing quite well by relying solely on direct access. Netflix, for instance, entirely built its audience through its unique recommendation engine. Its size and scope are staggering. No less than 300 people are assigned to analyze, understand, and serve the preferences of the network’s 50 million subscribers.
This is one of the greatest priorities at De Correspondent, where we’re building a new front page, filter methods and collections for stories. We believe we can provide a unique insight in the subjects we cover by connecting our previously published (and quiet timeless) stories.
(with the small difference that our budget isn’t as impressive as Netflix’)
We currently have 30,200 paying auto-renewing subscribers. Our monthly traffic is between 700,000 to a million uniques, our subscription renewal rate is 83 percent. We also have a pay-what-you want model above a certain baseline. The average subscription when we launched was $34; this year it went up to $39, but with fewer subscribers
Andrew Sullivans reader-funded publication is doing great.
Link to everything you create elsewhere on the web. And if possible, save a copy of it on your own blog. Things disappear so quickly, and even important work can slip your mind months or years later when you want to recall it. If it’s in one, definitive place, you’ll be glad for it.
Longtime blogger Anil Dash shares his 15 lessons from 15 years of blogging. You should read all his lessons but I wanted to highlight this one.
Except for the articles I’ve written during my time at The Next Web, I’ve always imported the blog posts I wrote for other blogs into this one (such as nrcnext.nl, spotlighteffect.nl and several old tumblrs). It serves as an archive of (almost) everything I’ve ever written, thus making sure I’ll never lose those musings and thoughts.
I advice you to do the same (if only for the feeling of accomplishment it will probably give you).
“Solitude did increase my perception. But here’s the tricky thing—when I applied my increased perception to myself, I lost my identity. With no audience, no one to perform for, I was just there. There was no need to define myself; I became irrelevant. The moon was the minute hand, the seasons the hour hand. I didn’t even have a name. I never felt lonely. To put it romantically: I was completely free.”
Christopher Knight aka The Last Hermit
Fascinating and detailed story in GQ about a man who wandered the woods of Maine from 1986, until he got captured in 2013.
Michael Bloomberg (72) leads Bloomberg again. He planned on focusing on philanthropy, but had too much fun walking around in the Bloomberg building. Here’s what the former CEO has to say about it:
“Mike is kind of like God at the company. He created the universe. He issued the Ten Commandments and then he disappeared. And then he came back. You have to understand that when God comes back, things are going to be different. When God reappeared, people defer.”
No great speeches to empty rooms. No finding a great piece of content but not doing the work to draw people’s attention to it. There’s a strange disconnect where you’re not supposed to care if anyone reads your thing, that it’s all about the intrinsic quality of the piece of work.
‘l’Homme c’est rien – l’oeuvre c’est tout.’
Prachtige uitspraak van Flaubert. Gevonden in een literair stuk van correspondent Joris van Casteren over Hafid Bouazza, de schrijver die na jaren van ziekenhuisopnamen, geploeter, drank-, drugs en medicijnverslaving het toch voor elkaar kreeg een nieuwe roman af te schrijven.
Ze dachten dat ie dood was, bij café De Zwart. Maar wat maakt het uit.
Vergeet het café, vergeet de presentaties, de avondjes, de sociale verplichtingen. Aan de arbeid. Laat het werk spreken.
“The reason to read Blake and Dickinson and Freud and Dickens is not to become more cultivated or more articulate… The best reason to read them is to see if they may know you better than you know yourself. You may find your own suppressed and rejected thoughts flowing back to you with an “alienated majesty”
The stories themselves must become platforms. Once the story is realized as the central force for reader attention, you can build an experience around it. That experience might include ads, but it might also include software applications, shopping opportunities, financial transactions, and donations.
If you’re always under the pressure of real identity, I think that is somewhat of a burden.