A New Direction A Branded ContentStrategy for Essence Kathryn Finney - Kathryn. Finney@simplygoodmedia.com Tobias Wright/Kathryn Finney • email@example.com • 347-422-7283 copyright, 2011. All rights reserved.
The Problem: Whats the Voice?The site trying to appeal to everyone, thusappealing to no one. Theres a lack of clarity inregards to the voice and purpose of the site(support of the magazine vs. digital arm of thelarger brand)
The Problem: "1998 Thinking"Essence is the premier print brand for black women, butfaces stiff competition from a series of successful, blackwoman led, cross-platform media start-ups
The Problem: Neglect of the CommunityCommunity is a central reason black women visit websites. AtEssence.com, too much focus is placed on "content" withoutany focus on community. Ex: posts comments have morespam than comments, staff dont reply to comments lefton posts. You want fans, not just passerbys.
The Problem: Lack of LeadershipEssence, as a brand, resonates deeply with its audienceonline. Essences needs a Managing Editor who is well knownin the black women digital community and can bring immediatevalue and traffic to the site and brand.
The Editorial Strategy (aka How KathrynCan Make Essence.com Relevant )
The Strategy: Integrated Content StrategyContent Strategy for the webis not just "editorial", which iseasy. Its about making aconnection to youraudience.Women, especially blackwomen, come to sites to learnAND connect. My editorialstrategy for Essence wouldbe to focus on developingcontent that connects withthe audience through aclear, defined voice.
My Vision for Essence.com Your stylish best girl friend who knows the latest trends, gives onpoint advice, is not afraid to give you a bit of tough love, and, most importantly, helps you to live your BEST life.
Editorial Strategy: Content Goal: Focus on the VoiceBreaking- Hot topics in entertainment, style, politics, with thoughtfulanalysis (ex: "Five Pieces to Buy Right Now", "How to Go Natural VideoSeries" "The Black Women of Occupy Wall Street")Access- Exclusive Interviews with the celebrities behind the headlines(ex: exclusive profile of Herman Cains wife, )Engagement- Expansion of the slide shows and street style sections (ex:City verticals within the Street Style Slideshow Sections, expansion of therecaps of hot "docu-soaps" like Basketball Wives like NYmag.com )Syndication- Syndication of content from smaller sites like Clutch, thatadds value and rapidly expands the size of the site
Editorial Strategy: Content Goal: Focus on the VoiceDiscovery- Essence.com as an "entry way" into the Essence brand fortopics/people not quite ready for prime time (magazine). (ex: NEXT- weeklyseries on up and coming trendsetters like VanJess, sisters who have garneredmillions of views on Youtube for their R&B medleys)Innovation- Access the Essence archives to create posts and slideshows thatexplore fashion and beauty history (ex: "Way Back When" -slideshow of oldfashion layouts from a specific era)Acquisitions- Purchase high-value, content driven sites likeTheBudgetFashionista.com and imported its content into Essence.comVideo- Use "internet superstars" as the talent for "how-to" videos
Editorial Strategy: Editorial LeadershipIdeas: Im an ideas person, who understand how the web works. I woulddevelop a Rapid Response Team (RRT) to rapidly respond to breaking news.Vision- I built a successful brand by remaining focused on a clear vision andthis focus is something I would bring to Essence.com. Every person connectedwith the brand, from the editors to the freelancers to the sales team will be ableto explain the Essence.com audience in a single sentence.Organization- I would streamline the editorial organization structure so it canrespond rapidly to trends/breaking news (ex: RRT team), with a focus on hiringeditors who are more "generalists", that are supported by a strong network offreelance writers.Talent- I would hire talent that understand how to create content for the weband can bring clear value to the brand.
Editorial Strategy: Building the Community Goal: Make Content Social by Being SocialSharing- Better integration of Twitter and Facebook into individual postsand slideshowsEngagement- Staff required to engage readers on the brands socialplatforms and active moderation of site commentsOffline- Presence at offline panels and events (Assembled Fashion,SXSW) AND creation of Essence branded events in this space.Innovation- Developing a presence for the brand on buzz heavy,emerging social platforms like Tumblr.
Editorial Strategy: Content as CommerceSponsored Content - Branded content series that are fun for the reader andgenerate income. (Ex: Bluefly sponsoring a street style photo competition-gets user generated content AND revenue)SEO - Seamless integration of SEO best practices in all phases of the editorialprocessVerticals- Clear content verticals, including the introduction of lifestyle (food,motherhood, finance, etc) online to allow for cross platform ad/partnershipselling
The Opportunity (aka Why ShouldEssence.com Exist?)
OPPORTUNITY: Black Women Are Online● Black Women are Online More Than Black Men (PEW, 2005)● Black Women use Smartphones More than any Other Group of Women (Essence/Time, 2008)● Blacks Use Twitter More Than Any Other Group (PEW, 2011)
OPPORTUNITY: Revenue is OnlineOnline Ad Spending Set to Reach $50 Billion by 2015
About Kathryn Finney - Accomplished and experienced executive leader of women-centered content driven sites - Built and ran one of the first fashion blogs - 11,000 personal twitter followers - An established and well respected member of both in the black and womens online communities as well as the fashion and beauty communities - A "techie" that is as comfortable managing tech staff as she is with managing editorial staff