For #WhatsOnYourRadar this week we converse to PPA Decodes panellist and Digital Director of Rolling Stone UK, Charlotte Cijffers. She began her spectacular profession as a journalist earlier than embarking on a brand new position in journal media, that of the digital strategist. We speak about methods to go about bringing an iconic American title throughout the pond, the dos and don’ts of digital covers, and Tik Tok. After all Charlotte additionally expanded on a number of the nice factors raised the ‘Paid or Natural’ PPA Decodes session too.
Chart your profession from the begin to now.
I started my profession as a music journalist, working as Digital Editor of DJ Journal for 5 years, the place I additionally edited the North American print publication for nearly a yr. I then moved to a newly-created position as Head of Digital and Viewers at Dazed Media, driving viewers progress for titles together with Dazed, Dazed Magnificence, One other Journal and Nowness, plus engaged on artistic company initiatives as a part of Dazed Studio.
On the finish of 2021, I left Dazed Media to launch Rolling Stone UK — the brand new British-based outlet for the enduring American music journal — working with Stream Publishing and PMC on establishing the title within the UK market. I’m additionally at present engaged on the continuing digital transformation of Stream Publishing’s LGBTQ title, Perspective Journal, with the model set to re-launch digitally in Q2 2022.
What sort of experience do you assume your background as a journalist has dropped at your new position?
It made me a content material evangelist and a top quality custodian! It’s additionally helped me have an in-depth understanding of the day-to-day workflow of journalists, editors and producers — and in addition be capable to step in and get my arms soiled when issues are actually all the way down to the wire! I believe it’s necessary to not lose contact with what your content material crew’s every day duties entail and attempt to continue to learn new abilities and instruments in tandem along with your crew.
You mentioned within the PPA Decodes ‘Paid or Natural’ session that ‘content material is the engine that drives the enterprise,’ may you increase on this?
It’s straightforward to get wrapped up within the tech, knowledge and monetization challenges round content material — there’s quite a lot of buzzwords and store discuss that go on. Any form of content material amplification, whether or not natural or paid, is contingent on revolutionary codecs, authentic leads and nice journalism. That’s the engine! The goal for any writer must be for customers to have the ability to cowl up the URL and nonetheless know instantly what web site they’re on — from UX and digital design, to editorial codecs, to tone of voice — everybody must be aiming to reject content material homogeneity.
How as a writer do you overcome the challenges of translating an engaged social media following into readers on web site, and certainly consumers of print magazines?
It’s pure that a few of your customers will likely be extra informal/drive-by customers of your content material whereas others will likely be hyper-loyal, ultra-engaged readers with a excessive propensity to transform to an finish purpose (classes on web site, newsletters, tickets, subscriptions, and many others). Understanding what audiences reside the place inside your digital ecosystem allows you to converse on to your demographic segments and current them with the alternatives that really feel principally pure to them. Do I count on everybody who follows us on Instagram to subscribe to the print magazine? After all not, but it surely’s about in search of out what phase of our viewers is more likely to convert after which making them a focused provide they merely can’t refuse!
The metric of success for a writer shouldn’t simply be scale or gross sales, though that is necessary financially, but additionally what sort of model fame you’re constructing past your individual channels and media. Model advertising is simply as necessary as clicks and publishers who perceive this are in a position to remodel from “magazines” into “manufacturers” and open up superior income alternatives that really feel respectable to their viewers and the broader world. Rolling Stone is an ideal instance of this, the resonance of RS as a model reaches far past our editorial operations, into every part from festivals and award exhibits, to merchandise, to documentaries and TV, and a lot extra.
You at the moment are Digital Director at Rolling Stone UK. Are you able to inform us a bit concerning the means of bringing an iconic American title, and its engagement, throughout the pond?
The necessary factor for us is that we proceed to uphold the tenets of the model which have enabled it to stay an authority in all issues music, movie, politics and tradition. That mentioned, we additionally need the UK providing to really feel completely different to our US counterparts — we’re specializing in tales and artists which can be iconically British and replicate the UK’s numerous soundscape and wider tradition. We’re simply as focused on what’s new and subsequent as we’re in legacy acts and we’re aiming to champion a mixture of business and underground expertise, plus not shying away from the political and social points that matter to our readers. There’s not many magazines within the UK market proper now the place you’ll be able to learn an opinion piece on the way forward for privatisation within the UK, a retrospective on the golden age of British Youtubers, an explosive cowl characteristic with Sheffield rockers Carry Me The Horizon, a long-read on the historical past of the South Asian membership scene and unique interviews with everybody from the likes of Korn to Katy Perry. It’s our content material combine that differentiates our providing and that’s what customers are actually responding to.
Rolling Stone UK’s most up-to-date challenge options cowl star Charli XCX, are you able to inform us concerning the technique behind doing a print and a digital cowl?
The concept of a digital cowl has been accomplished to demise by publishers so it’s been necessary for Rolling Stone UK to essentially nail our technique on this. For our digital covers, customers can count on the identical stage of unparalleled entry and enthralling storytelling as any iconic Rolling Stone print cowl. We’re additionally trying to handover the metaphorical keys to the Rolling Stone UK universe to artists that don our digital covers. We wish our digital cowl stars to have the ability to inject their very own creativity into RS UK’s channels, whether or not that’s by way of commissioning a collection of collaborator interviews, an unique AMA on our official Reddit account, a self-shot BTS tour diary delivered on to readers’ inboxes, a listening social gathering of their subsequent launch through Twitter Areas — we would like every digital cowl to really feel unguarded and extremely private… and the chances are infinite!
What’s in your radar?
Tiktok is on my radar, accurately for each writer, significantly now they’re increasing to 10 minute movies (Youtube is quaking!). I’m additionally eager about how we are able to break new floor organically and commercially with different social networks exterior the massive 4 (Fb, Twitter, Insta, Youtube). I believe there’s an enormous alternative for publishers with platforms like Discord, Twitch, Pinterest and Reddit, plus no matter new alternatives would possibly current themselves within the metaverse. Clearly modifications to knowledge privateness rules and third social gathering cookies are a consideration for each writer proper now, in order that’s one thing that’s additionally occupying my thoughts.
What journal do you stockpile?
So many, I completely love magazines and I can’t cease shopping for them. In the mean time I’ve subscriptions to Vogue, Wired, New Scientist, Monocle, Dazed, Wonderland, Magnificence Papers, New York Journal, Crack, Perspective …and Rolling Stone UK, after all!