This week, Mic’s Publisher Cory Haik talks to us about surviving as a video-first publisher in a platform world, how they retain a loyal and engaged millennial audience, and why she’s not giving up on platform publishing as a sustainable option.

In the news round-up, Peter and Esther discuss missed opportunities to grill the Zuck, why they won’t be flocking to Yahoo News any time soon, Martin Sorrell’s surprise departure and why Flipboard has reclaimed its traffic crown. Chris frolics with hobbits abroad.

We’re reading:

In our own words: Esther Kezia Thorpe

As a video-first publisher who relies heavily on social media for distribution and engagement, Mic should, by all accounts, be in trouble. Yet Cory has an easy optimism about her when she talks about how Mic are coping with algorithm changes and a turn in the narrative about publishers and platform dependency. I won’t spoil what she says about ‘deliberate distribution’, but it’s a must-listen.

What particularly struck me when I was researching for this interview is the sheer force of the audience engagement with Mic’s content. Videos and articles posted on their channels have an extraordinary response from people all across the political and social spectrum, sometimes positive, sometimes not. This by itself will be helping them ride Facebook’s newsfeed changes. Cory goes into detail about this level of interaction in the interview, explaining that they try and get people to think about what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes, with reporters who live and breathe their mission.

Of course, much of this is to do with the content they’re creating. Rather than ‘easy’ or ‘snackable’ content, their focus is on social justice issues; feminism, race, politics and navigating life in Trump’s America. The focus is unashamedly American, but the key to their continued success is in talking about the issues that really matter to young people. I joked that they’re what us millennials would call ‘woke’, but nonetheless there’s a serious lesson here.

Create things that your audience are passionate about, whether that’s in a niche or even more universal issues, and they’ll stick with you. The scale game is over for most of us, so double down on those people who care about you and figure out what makes them tick.

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