We chatted with PlaceWise’s content partner, Jennifer Reitman, who is the CEO of damemedia.com and Founder & Publisher at DameMagazine.com, to learn more how she strategically develops fresh content to the Shoptopia Network everyday.
How do you handle the shift in writing content from print to online, and how do you think it has changed?
While more and more editorial being consumed online, the basic tenants of quality writing have not changed.. Best practices still apply; structure, entertainment, and authentic information. In fact, those things are more paramount than ever. In a world of one man blogs and content farms, quality editorial really stands out and should be part of a winning strategy for any brand, especially retail based.
But there are things that have changed. Word counts are shorter, which is always a challenge because the burden shifts from the writer to the editor to ensure posts clear and concise but still fun to read.
The other major shift is reaction time. In traditional print publishing, especially in monthlies, the planning cycle for stories is 3 months in advance of the magazine issue hitting the newsstands. In online, sometimes you only have a matter of hours (or even minutes) to get a story written, edited and posted.
What do you encourage your writers to stay away from when writing online?
For most stories, we try to avoid first person. While sometimes it’s warranted, in most cases we want the reader coming away feeling like they’ve gotten objective information. What we do however is try to interview and source experts to give validity and authenticity to our articles.
What advice would you give on writing good article titles?
It’s all about the combination of plain language with a twist. The key is to get your keywords in without compromising the creativity that piques a reader’s interest. Boring headlines don’t illicit clicks. We find that puns and pop culture references work great.
How do you stay fresh with content ideas and topics?
Staying fresh is driven by a strong editing team, who has relationships with publicists, brands and trade media so we are on the edge of what is releasing. But there is also an instinctive aspect.
There is so much content out there today and the real magic is how to take a story that you know is being done by multiple outlets and give it a different spin and take.
How do you select who become a writer for you? What are some of the factors you consider?
We have several criteria that determine whether or not a writer can become a contributor.
The first is experience. Does the freelancer have a reputable body of work for media outlets that are aligned with the client’s needs. Can they apply story structure even in the shortest of posts? Are they well informed and full of ideas in the vertical that they are contributing to? So for the Shoptopia Network, we selected contributors who worked for fashion & lifestyle titles.
The next priority to deliver on a client’s behalf is does the contributor understand the tone, point of view and subject matter of the client’s brand. In custom publishing it’s critical that the writer not only deliver content that is interesting and relevant to the audience, but also reflect the brand’s voice, and avoiding infusing too much of their own tone.
Third and definitely not least is professionalism. Does the contributor respect deadlines, instructions and are they enjoyable to work with. We spend a lot of time working with our freelancers and we want that experience to be pleasant on both sides.
PlaceWise currently has close to 100 client sites highlighting content from Jennifer’s team.