Canadian Magazine Industry News
8 August 2013,     TORONTO
Online content needs substance and value: Get Digital
Agility's fourth Get Digital event focused on creating great online content, touching on a range of topics including reader engagement, creativity, and how to encourage social media sharing.

Hosted July 25 at the Spoke Club in Toronto, the panel included photographer Becca Lemire from SheDoesTheCity.com, brand ambassador and lifestyle blogger Casie Stewart, online editor for Fashion Randi Bergman, and Daniel Reis, the AV Club president at Worn Fashion Journal.

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Left to right: Becca Lemire, shedoesthecity.com; Casie Stewart, casiestewart.com; Randi Bergman, fashionmagazine.com; Daniel Reis, wornjournal.com; moderator Bianca Teixeira, blog.agilitycms.com

While conversation topics ranged widely, each of the panelists stressed the need for finding a balance between creative/personal expression and staying on brand, and having fun in the looser online world while still minding the business end.

One of Worn's more successful bits of digital content are its "supercut" videos, which compile wardrobes from movies and TV shows to examine a character's singular style, or a general style throughout a time period or genre. Reis wants the videos, like this one that smashes every outfit worn by Alicia Silverstone's character in Clueless into a minute-long clip, to be fun and easily shared, but also of enough value that they complement the type of content found in the printed publication. "I want someone to watch a video and feel like they just read an article in the magazine," Reis said, noting some of his favourite clips aim to make viewers explore and think about a trend or moment in pop culture history.

Bergman takes the relationship between print and online properties a step further at Fashion, noting that while FashionMagazine.com is technically the website of a magazine brand, its goal goes beyond just selling the magazine. "The mag is for Canada, while the website is worldwide," she said. St. Joseph Media's digital departments are housed on the same floor, meaning the website and magazine teams are actually somewhat separate.

Worn Journal's Daniel Reis (left) chats with moderator Bianca Teixeira, Unbound media editor
Worn Journal's Daniel Reis (left) fields a question from Bianca Teixeira, Unbound Media editor

Bergman has relative freedom to indulge her own tastes, which works because her interests also tend to drive traffic. She, like the rest of the internet, is "obsessed" with Kate Middleton, and she can run wild with coverage of the Toronto International Film Festival (an average of 15 posts a day during festival fever, up from the regular three) in a way the print mag can't, or isn't interested in doing. "We can do whatever we want, within the guise of being a part of the magazine," she said.

Branding for a company or publication is one concern, but so is personal branding. For Stewart, posting as herself drives her success in the business world, but she knows where to draw the line between the two. She will post upwards of 40 tweets a day on her own profile, but curbs that dramatically for business brands she works for, like Canon. "Companies don't want to be like, Hey! It's me!" she said.

Lemire drives traffic to She Does the City's events coverage by curating her social network and tailoring photo albums to those whom she knows will interact and spread the word. "It's good to know who is going to share the photo and tweet about it. It gets you so much more attention," she said. Photographers should immerse themselves in a scene enough to know who to take pictures of at an event, and then follow-up and send them a link for them to broadcast the content to their respective networks, she said.
— Jef Catapang
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