Magazines Reinvented: 12 Lessons from Hearst’s Troy Young, Part 1.


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Troy Young has recently joined Hearst Magazines as President of Digital Media. Young is formerly president of SAY Media, the San Francisco media startup that produces cutting-edge brands such as leading tech blog ReadWrite.

With two decades of digital experience under his belt, including several co-invented advertising patents, Young has built a reputation for launching innovative media brands and award-winning ad platforms.

Under Young’s direction, SAY Media became a $100 million company in just two years. Now, Young will participate in Hearst’s digital direction.

For a publisher serious about accelerating its focus on digital revenues and social-mobile engagement, what, according to Young, are the critical first steps?

I recently had a discussion with Young. It’s clear that for Young, creative problem solving is a passion.

Young provided 12 essential lessons for magazine publishers everywhere. Here’s a look at key highlights from the first six – the next six to be found in part two.

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Magazines Reinvented: 12 Lessons from Hearst’s Troy Young, Part 1.

  1. 1. Magazines Reinvented:12 Lessons from Hearst’s Troy Young, Part 1Malcolm NetburnChairman and CEO of CDS GlobalWITH MALCOLM NETBURN
  2. 2. FORWARD: with Malcolm Netburn© 2013 CDS Global.All rights reserved.June 20132Magazines Reinvented:12 Lessons from Hearst’s Troy Young, Part 1“When distribution is earned, you think differently about content.”– Troy Young, President of Hearst Magazines Digital MediaOverviewI recently spent some time with Troy Young, president of Hearst MagazinesDigital Media and formerly of Say Media, the publishing startup boastingcutting-edge brands such as top tech blog ReadWrite. With two decades ofdigital experience under his belt, Young has built a reputation for developingnew media brands and award-winning digital advertising platforms.As president of Say Media, Young developed their editorial,marketing and advertising strategies, successfully catapulting theSan Francisco-based startup to more than $100 million in revenues injust two years. Young is also the co-inventor of several U.S. advertisingpatents, which speaks to his industry-leading mastery in interactive,video and interstitial ad innovations.So when it comes to re-creating magazines as a medium, what,according to Young, are the first steps the industry must employ?Young provided 12 thought-provoking insights. Here’s a look athighlights from the first six – the next six to come in Part 2.• Businesses and consumers are redefining paid,owned and earned content.• Earned content, which includes shared content,is the most trusted, powerful form.• The real distribution power behind owned andpaid media lies with the consumer.• Content must be designed with earning itsdistribution in mind.• The goal for all paid and owned content must be tobecome earned, shared content.• Earned content generates the greatest engagement and social shares, perpetuating itsearned status.Young has built anenviable reputation fordeveloping disruptivemedia brands andaward-winning digitaladvertising platforms. 1. When Distribution Is Earned, You Must Think Differently About Content.Earned DistributionPaidMediaOwnedMediaEarnedMediaShared Media
  3. 3. © 2013 CDS Global.All rights reserved.FORWARD: with Malcolm Netburn June 20133• In the past, magazines were limited to producing one-way dialogue. Editorial and advertisingteams designed content to be consumed by a passive readership.• Current digital and social technologies generate content capable of supporting ongoinginteractions between creators and audiences.• Magazines should embrace the real-time interactive capabilities of emerging content tools todesign experiences that inspire shareable, co-created engagement.• Content, including advertising, can retire the old push approach. Content must pull its audiencein, and deliver on consumer demand for participatory experiences.• Study Business Insider, The Huffington Post, BuzzFeed and Refinery29. These media propertiesexcel at inspire-connect.• Gawker Media founder Nick Denton is a great example of masteringwrite-read-inspire-connect.• Measure participation at the individual level, as well as across the audience,to evaluate the quality of relationships – the key indicator of success.• Metrics must identify what the audience finds most engaging and why. These insightsmust guide the design and production of future content.• Typical analytics, such as unique visitors or number of page views,fail to reveal anything about the quality of consumers’ engagementwith the brand.• Analyzing duration of engagement identifies what theaudience most reacts to, and helps assess the status of thebrand-consumer relationship.• For a growing number of media brands, social is surpassing search as the leading source ofreferral traffic.• The continued proliferation of mobile devices is a major contributing factor.• Social’s influence over the consumer is greater than search.• Connected consumers, especially the incoming Millennial and Gen Z segments, seekrecommendations from their social interest graphs first and foremost, not from search engines.• Media companies must build shareable, social content experiences in order to maintain visibilitywhere the consumers are.• Publishers must go deeper than social at large by connecting with consumers in communities ofinterest that are highly relevant to the brand.Metrics must identifywhat the audiencefinds most engagingand why. 2. Magazines Need to Abandon the Write-Read Model foran Inspire-Connect Strategy. 3. Duration of Engagement is Now the Biggest Measure of Success. 4. Social Trumps Search.
  4. 4. © 2013 CDS Global.All rights reserved.FORWARD: with Malcolm Netburn June 20134• Digital has empowered consumers to find exactly what they want,when they want it.• Digital media enables niche audiences to find – and be found by –hyper-focused content.• Content that delivers value to passionate communities of interestdrive the greatest engagement and brand advocacy.• Insights derived from big data empower content producers tointelligently design hyper-relevant content to serve the needsof passionate, highly-engaged audiences. • Video content is positioned to explode in coming years – and willbecome the leader in digital, shared content.• As with social engagement, the proliferation of mobile devices isthe driving force behind the rapidly increasing importance of video.• Social video referrals surpass search – affirming video’s invaluableengagement potential.• Videos consistently drive the top search engine results.• Publishers must prioritize mobile-optimized video as a regularcontent medium.• Look to SpinMedia (formerly BuzzMedia) as a publisher that hasmastered the use of video.Digital media enablesniche audiencesto find – and befound by –hyper-focused content.Videos consistentlydrive the top searchengine results. 5. Digital Media Is Ideal for Super-Serving Passions. 6. Every Media Brand Needs to Make Video a Priority.