How do we get people to read?
That is the question that drives media.
Increasingly, content providers are at the mercy of search engines that only get smarter.
But take a step back and remember that traditionally a media property got readers by producing quality work and using that reputation to build an audience.
Recent tweaks to Google’s algorithm promote that attitude, and for good reason:
We have too much to read on the internet. We need search engines to filter through the crap.
Taking this to heart, B5 media — a Toronto-based network of blogs targeting the sophisticated urban female — launched two new websites Tuesday, Mommyish, and the Grindstone. The latter focuses on younger professional women who are established in their careers, while the former targets their elder peers with children.
(Full disclosure, TheGrindstone editor-in-chief, Meredith Lepore, is a former reporter for Business Insider).
What B5 — a media network of about 25 employees, almost all women — promises is that these new sites will be driven by original, interesting stories with strong voices.
The Grindstone features stories such as “Office Confessions: I Slept With My Coworker,” written by Amanda Chatel, an associate editor on the site. Yes, her actual name on this story — original work with a real writer’s name in the byline.
The site will have columns including “Executive Suite,” a “weekly interview series featuring a female executive who gives advice on a specific aspect of her career path.” This week they profiled real estate giant Barbara Corcoran.
Mommyish will have columns like “The Whine Bar,” amusing complaints from children, and another column about the experience of spending a big chunk of one’s salary on nannies and other childcare. The hope is that plenty of professional women in this situation will read and contribute their own thoughts to the site.
As SEO tightening increases, websites like Mommyish will have to focus on features and real content, and that is a good thing.
“Mommyish and The Grindstone stay true to our mission of offering genuine dialogue for our community of readers, with a focus on producing highly original content.” said Elaine Kunda, the B5 Media CEO in a press release today.
Kunda’s goal of “creating community,” that is, getting readers to regularly comment on stories and have online conversations with other readers, is an example of propagating that new media phenomenon which echoes old journalism: getting a faithful audience.
However, what makes it “new” media is providing the forum for readers, in this case professional women, and getting them to talk to each other. In properties like the Huffington Post, the comments section can be as compelling as the stories.
Kunda hopes for the same in the new properties.