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.