3 Good Media pivot from GOOD, RYOT and Upworthy
Good content leaders from GOOD, RYOT and Upworthy shared their current focus and the latest trends at the Silicon Beach Fest conference this week in Santa Monica. To bring you the inside scoop, we captured insights and pivots (the buzz word at the conference) from these three publishers and content curators.
1. GOOD – Jay Ku, Head of Corporate Partnerships at GOOD, explained their online magazine’s shift in the past year, “We made this pivot where we transitioned a little bit more into a community platform….Our role is to curate, promote and facilitate action. So now it’s really about how do we take a story created by us or created from a community, and create all the drivers that will translate that story into tangible real world action.”
Jay oversees partnerships for profit brands and non-profits, who are plugged into their platform. The goal is to try to return some value to them, and hopefully that value “contributes significantly to the world.” Looking back seven years ago, Jay reflected, “It wasn’t the same space, where now people want to buy TOMS Shoes or buy Mrs. Meyers. I feel like LA is the only place where a Prius is more expensive than a Lexus because it says something…”
There was also a lot of talk about actionable responses to help Oklahoma tornado victims. For Oklahoma, GOOD posted about a designer who took damaged photos, and wanted to create a massive community to retouch photos. Literally, thousands of people put their emails in the comments section, and volunteered to retouch.
2. RYOT – Brian Klonoski from RYOT explained their similar focus on publishing content with actionable items. Brian expanded, “We’re the first news website that attaches action to every news story. Our goal is to be a full-service news website,…but every time you read a story, there’s an action you can take….If you read about the Oklahoma victims, you can donate right on the page….Our content is not all good content…It’s standard news content, but because of the action attached, we make it good content.”
As a pivot, Brian announced RYOT TV will be coming soon with videos of things that are very different. While it will include some “earnest videos,” it will have other stories you don’t expect.
Looking ahead, Brian added that they’re going to be disappointed in five years if people don’t read the news and interact with the news. Brian expanded on how everyone wins with RYOT, “Our model makes non-profits relevant based on current events, and it gives them content to get people to coming to their site and to learn about them.” During the session, we also got RTs and cheers from fans from Ian Somerhalder’s Foundation fans for RYOT News. These fans are highly engaged in ISF’s green projects, and like to take action.
3. Upworthy – Sarah Critchfield, Editorial Director at Upworthy, explained how her company was started by former employees of Facebook, MoveOn.org, and The Onion. With these social leaders, it was no surprise to hear about their goals. Sarah explained, “We focus on making stuff that matters go viral. So we only work with visual content, videos, graphics, photos, that’s different….We don’t do content creation. We do curation… and Caine’s Arcade (whose filmmaker Nirvan Mullick was also on the panel) is one of our big success stories of a video we curation….”
Sarah expanded, “We focus exclusively on social media, mostly Facebook….We bill ourselves as the Comedy Central of the online world, focusing on a target audience of people who are good people, but aren’t necessarily going to be reading hard news stories.” The content curated has an engaging and entertaining tone.
Looking ahead, Sarah gave her prediction, “What I’ve been looking at is the concept of slow media…the craze is Twitter. It’s total information overload….some kind of an internal tremor that wants balance, and so there will be a swing back to long-form content.”
There was also a lot of discussion about citizen journalism with iReports on CNN and more. The group felt that there will always be a need for professional journalists. It will be fascinating to see where this good media story goes as the world gets much smaller with social media, digital entertainment and people who want to make a positive impact.