Is Niche Publishing the Secret of Atlantic Media’s Success?

Kik-ing the tires on a new social platform, the Onion does video, & Atlantic Media’s embrace of niche publishing

Another week, another new social platform! Plus more video models and one of our favorite topics: niche publishing.

Let’s take a look at three articles tackling these trends from the always timely Digiday.

Atlantic Media Enamored With Niche Publishing

Atlantic is narrowing down new niches as well as anyone in the business, recently announcing Route 50 for state and local government execs, itself an offshoot of federal mag Government Executive.

With just 50,000 uniques, the title’s audience is small but engaged, Digiday reports, and tech advertisers in particular are keen on their attention. Mobile consumption and native ads are both priorities for Route 50, a B2B publication with strong design and a well-defined readership, according to Lucia Moses – one of our recently named 8 Niche Publishing Thought Leaders to Follow.

Publishers Focusing on Kik’s Messaging Potential

Is a publisher’s social strategy only as good as its grasp of the latest platform? To an extent, yes. But that doesn’t mean you have to integrate every flavor of the week – it simply means you have to understand it. If you believe you can cultivate readers via the latest streaming video app or messaging app, you owe it to your business to give it a spin.

Kik is an example of the latter, and publishers like the The Washington Post – among 60 others – believe they can tap into the service’s self-reported 200 million users (70% between 13 and 25), according to Digiday, which says comScore pegs those numbers at more like 16.4 million uniques and 42% ages 18-24.

“Publishers have embraced the practice of publishing straight to platforms like Facebook and Twitter. But the practice is the subject of some controversy, because the publisher has limited ability to make money off that distribution. With Kik, on the other hand, when a publisher sends a user a story link, the publisher can opt to have users read the article in the Kik ecosystem or on its own mobile site. But either way, the publisher controls the ability to sell ads against its content. Kik gives publishers data like number of users and how many of their messages are read and shared,” Moses writes.

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“The success of publishing on private messaging apps depends on a publisher’s ability to be relevant to the user, though. With that in mind, Kik has gradually been rolling out features that let publishers customize their approach. Last year, it introduced Promoted Chats to make it easier for brands to be found by consumers on the app and keywords to make conversations more relevant.

“BuzzFeed and NBC News are both using keywords to drive people to their mobile sites by pushing them links when the user texts topic-based keywords (such as ‘LOL’ or ‘WTF’ in the case of BuzzFeed or ‘health’ or ‘politics’ in the case of NBC News). Kik has fine-tuned its keyword system so that a user who repeatedly types ‘health’ will get a new health-related story each time. It’s also figuring out how to understand natural language, so that users’ requests aren’t limited to just certain keywords.”

The Onion’s Video Strategy Is No Joke

Hard to believe that The Onion was once just a free weekly in Wisconsin. The satirical magazine has moved well beyond its roots: Today, it’s digital-only, and tomorrow, it might be video-only if its recently released strategy plays out!

Digiday reports that The Onion is launching a studio arm, which will produce a new batch of programming, distribution across its properties, a spate of hires, and the capacity for outside collaboration. The content will also pair nicely with the work of Onion Labs, the company’s in-house ad team.

The Onion currently pumps out 40 videos a month, a number sure to jump. The brand already boasts 800,000 followers and 2.7 million views a month on YouTube, according to Eric Blattberg.

You might say that niche publishing is kind of our … niche. Contact us today with any questions whether you’re just starting – or stalling – out. 

To read more about niche publishing, social media, and video, visit Digiday.


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