TimeOut Maps Out Their Strategy For Multi-Platform Success

In Time Out’s Print to Digital Evolution Towards Creating an Interconnected Community, TimeOut’s Roman Tagoe, Head of Digital Content, and Terri White, Editor in Chief, hosted a masterclass targeted to individuals interested in learning to achieve a more connected global community via Time Out’s digital initiatives. Tagoe discussed the global content strategy and expansion into new cities, and White discussed the print magazine’s integration with digital and social and the shift in editorial content strategy.

Create a seamless experience through consistency

Readers loved the print edition of Time Out, but weren’t having the same experience online. For the brand to transition from a successful print product to being multi-platform, the ‘print first; digital second’ manifesto needed to go. One of the first things White did when she joined the company was eradicate silo teams. Writers pooled to become one department, each working across both platforms.

When it came to digital the question was, “With editions in 85 cities, how do you create a consistent experience online?” Time Out built a Global Platform, a CMS utilized by all editions worldwide that not only ensures each site has the same landing page and design and navigation aspects, but which also allows for the seamless sharing of content between cities.

Go to your audience

Tagoe stressed the need to be where your audience is, saying “We have to reach people on different platforms, and go to where they are instead of expecting them to come to us.” He noted that in this social age, people look to Instagram for inspirations and restaurant recommendations as much as a magazine.

Find out what the people want

SEO research allows Time Out to create content tailored to their audience. They employ Google AdWords and Google Trends, and take the keyword lists back to the editorial team to see which could inspire a feature.

Social media is content

A key part of the brand’s transition was overturning the myth that social platforms were there to help promote “real” content. Instead, White emphasized the learning that social is content by itself.

Make use of your users

Think hyperlocal user generated content. White noted that it’s impossible for their food and drinks team to know every place in the city, but the brand can reach out to an army of readers to contribute their finds. Their Love Local Awards, as an example,  asks readers to nominate and vote for their favorite local attractions.

Get your readers involved

Making the audience part of the content creation has been a key aspect of Time Out New York’s evolution towards creating an interconnected community. As part of their Food & Drink Awards 2014, the brand partnered with Instagram and asked readers to submit images (using predetermined hashtags) from finalist restaurants and bars. The best image ended up on the cover.

When Lena Dunham was chosen for a cover story, TONY hit Twitter to ask readers to submit questions for Dunham. A selection was posed to Dunham, and the video interview shared on the website before the magazine containing the separate print interview hit newsstands.

Jenni Dawes is the Principal Consultant at COLLABORATEUR, a collective of creative and digital strategists based in New York City.

How to Win at Instagram

Patrick Janelle is a self-proclaimed Man About Town, and with over 340,000 followers on Instagram he’s also the man to ask for tips on how he successfully parlayed his lifestyle into brand opportunities.

In Tuesday’s session “Custom Content: How Publishers and Instagrammers are Leading Campaigns for Brands” we heard from Melanie Altarescu, Head of Strategic Initiatives, WIRED and Patrick Janelle, Executive Director, Spring Street Social Society. Patrick outlined some of his best Instagram advice.


What’s your story? What’s the world that you’re sharing with followers? Janelle treats his feed as a journal, posting 2-3 times per day, always chronologically. He adds context to his photos – and further insight into his world – through always including captions, saying “Instagram is a personal platform, and it’s important to connect your photos to your story.”


For Janelle, it’s food, fashion and travel. He’s had success portraying those aspects for brands in those specific industries, as well as on broader campaigns for companies such as Capital One and Amex.


Janelle noted that one of the key reasons people follow him is to see the streets and cafes and restaurants around New York. He creates scenes that people can project themselves into, allowing his followers to imagine that it’s them taking New York by storm.


While Janelle uses his iPhone to take all his Instagram images, he doesn’t skip on the editing process. Images are run through at least one, and typically several, editing apps before being posted. Janelle’s top three recommendations are Snapseed for the selective adjust feature, VSCO Cam for its filters, and Afterlight for adjusting midtones and highlights.

Altarescu noted that, from the brand perspective, one of the key aspects of working with Instagrammers is receiving images they can use on other platforms. The brands leading the field, such as Park Hyatt and Victorinox, are tapping influencers and taking the content they create and crafting it into campaigns for their website, social media channels and even print initiatives.

Jenni Dawes is the Principal Consultant at COLLABORATEUR, a collective of creative and digital strategists based in New York City.