Katherine Baldwin

Katherine Baldwin is an English major at Troy University with a minor in Creative Writing. Since 2012, she has has published a blog focusing on allergy-friendly cuisine and food photography. Her blog may be found at liveruneatgrow.com.

Tasty Proves That You Can Have Your Cake and Eat It Too

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Founded in 2015, Tasty is an online food blog with a global reach across the US, UK, and numerous European countries that is best known for its viral food videos of trendy, unique, and easy-to-follow recipes.

Buzzfeed, one of the leading digital media companies specializing in news and entertainment, originally published Tasty as an effort to expand its digitized content strategies to resonate with its millennial audience. Buzzfeed quickly learned that the fastest way to its online audience’s loyalty was through their stomachs. Within fifteen months of its creation, Tasty collected a staggering 1.7 billion views from its recipe videos and became the leading revenue generator for Buzzfeed.

Tasty’s success in the food blogging industry relies on making seemingly complex recipes simple and available to the average person. Itsfun and creative dishes continue to wet the appetite of an increasing number of millennial readers, providing them with a sense of culinary success previously offered only by professional chefs.

Ashley McCollumTasty’s former general manager and vice president, explained the reasons behind the company’s popular digital presence:

Our point of view is that 99% of food media is made by food professionals, but 99% of food is made by amateurs. So what is the [difference] between food media and real food? We think that massive gap between media and reality is what we’re filling. I think that’s why we’ve been so successful and why we have a lead in this emerging space.

By focusing on audience desires to be creative in the kitchen, Tasty continually expands the recipe index for its readers. 

Some of the top Tasty recipes include Churro Ice Cream BowlsMozzarella-stuffed Slow Cooker Meatballs, and a Cinnamon Roll French Toast Bake. All of Tasty’s recipes come with a 60 second video, allowing the reader to fully immerse in the culinary side of digital content. Sliders Four Ways, its most popular recipe to date, has amassed over 200 million views on Facebook

This unique approach to food blogging has positioned the brand ahead of its competitors as it consistently innovates its content to fit its consumer’s needs. McCollum told the New York Times :

Really what we’re seeing is how to make a business out of massive intellectual property that was built digital-first. It’s the same model as old-media networks—you make a movie that people love, and then you build a theme park and extend that to products and everything else.

Through this method, the brand has even established a leading position among the top 10 food pages on Facebook

The brand’s proven success of folding in a standard recipe blog with a video has enabled it to expand past its original digital platform. Tasty took the unique step of reverse-publishing and expanded from digital content only to traditional print via cookbooks. 

Its first cookbook, Tasty Latest and Greatest: Everything You Want to Cook Right Now , sold more than 100,000 copies in the first month of publication. Due to its outstanding success, Tasty soon dished out two additional cookbooks, as well as a Tasty-branded line of cookware at Walmart  and a snazzy new seasonal subscription service with LG Electronics called LG Tasty Cookie Club.

The LG Tasty Cookie Club subscription service provides readers who have a sweet tooth with seasonal boxes of cookie baking kits. Each box contains pre-measured ingredients and baking tools that allow customers to easily recreate their favorite online recipes from the comfort of their own home. The box for the fall season includes The Pumpkin Spice & Everything Nice Cookie Kit, followed by The Ultimate Mini Gingerbread House Cookie Kit, which will roll into subscriber’s kitchens just in time for the holidays. 

Tasty has also launched more niche-focused content in its foreign versions, including Proper Tasty  for its British audience, and Tasty Miam  for the French readers. Recipes include Hash Brown Benedict and Risotto Pissaladière. By incorporating foreign cuisine on its blog, Tasty adds a personal touch to its marketing strategies. As Buzzfeed’s CEO Jonah Peretti said, “We’re always thinking about not just generating traffic but reaching [our audience] in a real way.” 

Tasty has raked in a lot of dough from this authentic approach, earning nearly $3 million in revenue  from its viral recipes alone in 2018. Frank CooperBuzzfeed’s former chief marketing officer, talked about the success  that comes from Tasty’s unique content, saying, “It taps into a simple truth: People love tasty foods and the kind of foods that remind them of their childhood, comfort food, or food that reminds them of an experience.”

Tasty’s digital strategy of combining traditional blogs with media content delivery has spiced up the digital publishing market focused on food. The brand provides its 500 million monthly viewers with virtually unlimited access to easy recipes, thanks to its multiple digital platforms.  

Four short years ago, Buzzfeed launched Tasty as an online experiment, not realizing that it would rise to the top of revenue generation for its company. Since then, Tasty has certainly satisfied the internet’s insatiable appetite for food content by making simple and creative recipes available to online users everywhere.

Top Digital Publishing Trends from FIPP Insider Paris

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FIPP (International Federation of Periodical Publishers) held its highly anticipated conference in Paris on October 1st. Notable members of FIPP include National Geographic, Business Insider, Marie Claire, and Buzzfeed. Networking and digital publishing experts from around the globe attended the event to discuss the top trends in data journalism and the future of digital media: 

This exciting initiative from FIPP combines a select group of world-class speakers from the local region and across the globe, sharing their knowledge and insight. Delegates will have plenty of opportunities to network with their peers across the media industry.

FIPP puts on more than ten international events each year called FIPP Insider. During these conferences, media leaders are encouraged to come together to build marketing techniques and pursue partnerships that will better improve the publishing industry. At this year’s Paris’ conference, James Hewes, President and CEO of FIPP outlined some of the top industry trends impacting the publishing industry in 2019.

Platform-Focused Content & Why Print Matters

Hewes reminded publishers that the rise of digital platforms is highly notable. To keep up with GAFA (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon), publishers are cautioned not to rely solely on the success of these leading platforms. They need to focus on the needs of consumers and the relevant content created within the most reliable frameworks.

With expanding video content, podcasts, and the preponderance of online media, some media users have turned back to print. Rebekah Billingsley of John Brown Media says , “In a world of fake news and uncertainty, print brands feels like a tangible trustworthiness.” Tapping into the tactile nature of print creates a nostalgic feel with consumers that proves to be a useful marketing tool.  Reverse publishing is a tool that publishers use to adapt to specific online content for a print resource. 

John Watkins , a content marketer and media consultant for FIPP, focused on the digital age and benefits of reverse publishing. In his FIPP Insider presentation , “The Future of Media: How digital-to-print revenue models continue to shape the industry” Watkins noted:

Some traditional digital-first brands have gone as far as to launch a new print offering for a specific audience, filling that print product with repurposed content originally created for digital channels.

In 2013,  Allrecipes made one of the first major web-to-print moves by announcing the launch of a print edition of their online magazine. Later, the company integrated SmartCode technology  within its printed versions. Readers can use their smartphones and print copies interchangeably to access information from Allrecipes. Jennifer Darling , editor-in-chief of Allrecipes, explains the introduction of QR-code SmartCode technology:

Whether it’s launching the first Skills on Amazon Alexa devices or blurring the lines between print and digital and audio with this latest SmartCode issue takeover, we’re reaching home cooks everywhere and are helping them connect with us across channels in fun, informative ways.

The State of Advertising

Hewes proposed that companies pay particular attention to content and trust in their advertising strategy to provide a better consumer experience on a website. Bernard Glock, senior VP of MediaLink, encourages companies  to “focus on the areas which have been proven in the last one or two years to help publishers and advertisers to grow their business, namely data proficiency, partnerships, and trust.”

Just last week, the two largest chumbox providers, Taboola and Outbrain, merged under the Taboola name. Together, their expected annual gross revenue will be more than $2 billion. Outbrain’s former marketing chief, Eric Hadley, told The New York Times , “This is clearly working, somehow. You may laugh at these ads, but people click on them.”

This method may be effective in the short term results, but it lacks a personal connection between the publisher and consumer. Other companies have even included ad-blocking technologies to protect the integrity of their content and relationship. This relationship expands its audience’s desire to be loyal to relevant and specific advertisers within the publisher’s content.

The Importance of Artificial Intelligence

Hewes explained that publishers should research the potential benefits of utilizing an AI strategy on their websites. Organizations that adopt the approach are expected to see exponential revenue growth within the next five years. Margaret Ann Dowling explains,

The heavy lifting of duplication and generic content creation can be automated, leaving more time for creative writing and effective storytelling. 

The use of integrated AI reflects the continual progression of the digital publishing industry.

While Hewes encourages publishers to assimilate AI into their work, he cautions the reliance on these powerful data strategies before understanding the impacts, both positive and negative, of implementing these technologies. In her article, “I, Robot Author, ” Myia FitzGerald writes, “AI can be incorporated more into the writing and publishing world, but only at the writer and publisher’s discretion.”

Many companies embrace new ideas and creative partnerships to position themselves ahead of their competition. Hewes’s biggest takeaway from the Paris conference was for publishers to embrace a commitment to continuous learning 

FIPP’s dedication to keep pace with a rising media industry and help companies pursue the smartest solutions for their businesses will continue to lead and shape the future of digital publishing. 

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Using Tags in Digital Content

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With the continued expansion of digital publishing, it is of the utmost importance to be proactive with online content.

Tags are used as a navigation tool to locate and specify content on a website. For example, a specific word such as “kayak” can be used to shortcut or direct a person’s web search toward a focused group of websites. To optimize a website’s visibility and enable traffic growth on a larger scale, its best to use SEO (search engine optimization)  tags. Using the example, “kayak”, the SEO tag would return to a website where the content surrounds watercraft and outdoor activities.

According to Statista.com (Links to an external site.), “digital publishing revenue grew to nearly 18 billion U.S. dollars in the United States in 2018.” Could the use of tags have played a part behind this exponential growth?

Digital publishing continues to expand across many platforms. Implementing the use of tags helps to compact and organize information on a more manageable level.

Creating Tags

Google Tag Manager  (GTM) is a tool that enables users to manage and create personalized marketing tags for their websites. Digital publishers can use this tool to customize the analytic data they are producing and gain more traffic for their website. Depending on how many tags are used, websites will also load faster and track scrolling from the audience.

One of the major benefits of GTM is that it frees users of the complications of setting up the technical sides of their websites. Its user-friendly interface can be attributed for this. Digital publishers using GTM can create marketing content through tagging without having to get involved with the source code of their websites.

These tags are crucial for companies using digital publishing because they help search engines identify content specific to the companies’ web pages. Keeping tags short and relevant will also distinguish them among repetitive titles. Identifying and creating the right tags will increase the probability for people searching for a topic to be directed to the tagged and targeted article.

Categories vs. Tags

Categories group content and are primarily used in blog posts. They enable authors to neatly organize their posts while maintaining a professional look for their websites. Pete McPherson at Do You Even Blog explains the importance that SEO categories play in site structure and suggests that users, “[o]ptimize the category titles and descriptions” in order that their sites efficiently show up in search engines.

However, McPherson warns against using duplicate tags in individual posts, saying , “Under no circumstances should you have duplicate category names, OR have the same category and tag names for any piece of content.” These duplications confuse search engines on which tags need to be prioritized, thus minimizing the meaning of website’s intended information.

One of the biggest differences between categories and tags is how they are used. Categories are used as a generalization of the information provided, while tags are used to indicate the individual subject matter of a post.

Food bloggers may have categories relating to meal prep and recipes. The author would then use tags to specify food resources and ingredients. Using these distinct tags creates pertinent information that sets this data apart from other digital media.

Content Relevancy

Keeping tags relevant to the content will strengthen articles. However, overusing tags can diminish their value. With so much information being uploaded regularly, tags create relevant searches and alert these search engines to provide concise and valuable recommendations to readers.

The New York Times  uses tags to provide related content for their news readers. The Times’ Open Team  works to collect data on a more efficient level and build digital products for the company. Their goal is to promote website growth from an organic reach across multiple online platforms. Tags serve as the building blocks behind many of the teams’ digital inventions.

According to the Times’ Open Team :

“We built our own tag management system because we needed to have easy access to our back-end data — data regarding website visitors and data from our content management system — and there weren’t any commercially available systems that provided that level of access.”

In 2015, The Times’ Research & Development group created the prototype called Editor , which would automatically tag relevant content in future news articles. The R&D group describes Editor as an “editing interface that explores how collaboration between machine learning systems and journalists could afford fine-grained annotation and tagging of news articles.” By using tags, this prototype allowed the Times to publish and communicate online content across multiple.

Audience Engagement

Distinguishing content from the plethora of internet data proves to be a difficult task for readers and content creators alike. Thus, taking one step further to categorize digital media using tags ensures individuality and guaranteed website tracking. Tagging is not only beneficial to news platforms and online blogs, but also to social media users. These users have integrated the use of hashtags to better market their content.

Lauren Aston  encouraged her readers to “[t]hink outside of the box and do your research to find the best and more appropriate tags for your posts.” Putting more thought and research into tags will ensure a user’s posts are seen and more likely to reach their intended audiences. By using these tactics, these tags will also bring higher engagement levels.

However, content creators must avoid haphazardly using tags. On Instagram, there is a rumored shadow ban  for those who overuse hashtags. Their posts are removed from search engines and hidden from fellow users to weed out spam profiles.

Stronger Strategy

While adding new tags with every post may be tempting, using existing tags will eliminate excessive variations and links and will organize content in a more productive way. This method essentially groups content together, making it easier to find and evaluate. The more traffic these existing tags bring to a website, the more they will increase the relevance of the published content.

The Yoast  blog says the following:

Structuring your website is crucial for both its usability and findability. Many sites lack a sound structure to guide visitors to the information they’re looking for. Having a clear site structure also leads to a better understanding of your site by Google, so it’s incredibly important for your SEO.

Tags are keywords that tidy up websites and make content easier to find. They make up the taxonomy of most web pages and boost users ahead of competitors, while adding value to their digital media. Tags cut across various categories and keep audiences engaged and on the websites longer.

Using tags consistently will enhance website performance. It displays publisher’s content at a higher rank within search engines, optimizing the opportunity for revenues from digital platforms

Glamour Goes Digital-First

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To stay ahead of the proverbial curve, many traditional print magazines have moved to a digital-first approach to publishing. Glamour magazine is one such publication that took the right steps in order to meet their customers’ desires.

Digital-first has become one of the critical decision points impacting print publications across industries. The fashion industry has been significantly impacted by target markets choosing digital alternatives to printed publications. With the advent of high-speed internet and devices that provide instant access to information, the fashion industry has struggled to maintain a leading mind-share position on trends in style with their readers. 

Glamour, founded in 1939, is a women’s magazine with divisions across the US, UK, and various European countries. The magazine is published by Condé Nast , one of the largest fashion publishing groups with a global reach of over one billion consumers across digital media outlets. 

Prior to 2016, management at Glamour recognized that the shift towards a digital market would require a change on their end. The UK branch of Glamour first took steps toward a stronger online presence back in 2017, when they began cutting back on printed issues in order “to become a digital first, beauty-first brand. ” 

As a leading fashion and beauty magazine, Glamour currently holds a strong position across online platforms, boasting more than 11 million online users and a social media following of over 14 million. Thus making the permanent shift toward a digital-first platform a sensible decision for the company’s future growth. 

In an interview with the Jewish Chronicle Deborah Joseph , an editor for Glamour UK, said: 

“For me the exciting thing was: how do you take a brand like Glamour that’s been built over 17 years as one of the most successful and well-known women’s brands across the UK, from a print title of 12 times a year and grow it across multi platforms — social, experiential and, obviously, online?”

The move for Glamour to cease their printed issues was hinted at when the magazine’s editor in chief, Cindie Leive , stepped down after 16 years. Samantha Barry was then hired in January 2018 to lead and accomplish this change in Glamour’s approach to its readers. Barry recognized the demand to secure a strong digital presence for the publication, and her role as editor in chief has allowed Glamour to transform their brand in the expanding world of digital media.

Upon Barry’s arrival, the plan to relaunch the US branch of Glamour on a digital platform was officially set in motion. In an interview for The New York Times , Barry said, “It’s where the audiences are, and it’s where our growth is. That monthly schedule, for a Glamour audience, doesn’t make sense anymore.” 

In October 2016, In Style UK made the decision to close their print editions permanently as a result of falling circulation patterns. Marie Claire UK  reacted to market pressure in the same manner. The magazine announced in September 2019 that they plan to cease print publication after November. A spokesperson from Marie Claire UK told BBC News , “A strategy focusing on Marie Claire UK’s digital business will give the brand the best opportunity to secure a profitable and sustainable future.” 

While these two popular UK magazines made the switch to digital in order to stay afloat, this was not necessary Glamour at the time.Unlike In Style UK and Marie Claire UKGlamour’s print publication was highly successful when they announced their digital shift. What this seems to indicate is a keen sense of market movement and the corresponding flexibility to accomplish a significant change in business direction.

Camilla Newman, Glamour’s publishing director, spoke about the magazine’s decision at the PPA (Professional Publishers Association) festival  in May 2018 saying, “It’s really important to point out that the print circulation of Glamour was really healthy when we were looking at changing the format to a digital-first brand.” In fact, the company’s 2018 market value  was ‎€15.5 million, or $17 million, with an estimated growth forecast up 21.1% over the next five years.  

At the time of their decision, Glamour indicated a revenue growth model for the next twenty quarters. However, it’s not apparent whether the marketing impact that drove other publications into digital publishing to avoid significant loss was a part of their consideration.

With the success in printed editions and, at the time, no downward move in print revenue, the shift toward a solely digital platform was both a bold and proactive choice for the company. Not many publicly-traded companies have a management team with the fortitude to make decisions that could negatively impact revenue and stock-holder dividends. However, with the strong positive growth across all digital media outlets, it seems Glamour timed their move well.

Even with the digital-first approach, Glamour hasn’t forgotten about their consumers that prefer print. The magazine produces a “biannual, collectible, glossy ” edition that celebrates diversity among women, while at the same time, reaching their audience with the nostalgia of a physical issue. This decision to blend the “old with the new”, shows the sensitivity of Glamour management to their customers. Further, these special editions hold the potential of becoming collectibles which will contribute to cementing Glamour as one of the leading fashion brands since 1939. 

While Glamour isn’t the only magazine to make the digital-first transition, they are one of the few companies to take a proactive approach in the world of digital publishing. Since Barry’s rise to editor in chief, Glamour’s online views  “have risen 12 per cent, to 6.3 million.” “Glamour is a brand – it’s not just a magazine ,” Barry says, and this approach has truly transformed the iconic publication while still managing to maintain the integrity it held before a digital shift.

How Digital Publishing has Enhanced Education

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Innovations in digital publishing have created a veritable science-fiction for consumers and students. Textbooks and magazines have given way to learning mediums that can be accessed through mobile devices at one’s fingertips. Digital content now allows for a more immersive and accessible learning environment for students. 

When a student was doing research in the past, they had to manage a variety of outside factors. They had to be cognizant of library hours, the availability of subject matter experts, and have a good working knowledge of the library system as a whole. Now, students have the world at their disposal with built-in search engines and mixed media e-delivery tools. These tools, coupled with inexpensive, high-speed, and widely accessible internet, provides instant accessibility to subject matter experts worldwide and their knowledge.

Many manufacturers have been developing inexpensive computers to facilitate the delivery and consumption of e-content. Companies like Intel, HP, Dell, and Toshiba have manufactured devices specifically for consumers in the field of education to better utilize digital content. An example of this is seen through the Chromebook’s presence in K-12 schools. Further, Amazon’s Kindle has made educational materials accessible to a general consumer market. 

Beginning with the release of Kindle in 2007, consumers saw a new way to access written content. They could now purchase most novels and online magazines at home. The benefits of e-publishing became quickly apparent to the education community. This resulted in a large number of publishers beginning to focus on e-textbooks.

Publishing companies that specialize in digital content delivery and customizing dashboards specific to educational fields are entering the market and shaping the ways that students learn. (Top eLearning Content Development Companies.)

One such company is Cengage. Cengage, Inc. is an online textbook supplier. Something useful about this company is that they allow students to pay a single fee which grants them access to a large number of educational resources.

One of Cengage’s most popular tools is Cengage Unlimited, which provides students with access to over twenty-two thousand (22,000) e-delivery titles covering seventy (70) disciplines for educational material. This cost and time efficient tool saves students hundreds of dollars and hours of research. To put this in perspective, a student at a typical four year school like Troy University, which has 200,000 volumes in its physical book collection, can utilize Cengage Unlimited and potentially carry up to 11% of Troy University’s physical library on their laptop.

Alleviating the need for students to be in the same location as a physical book has also made learning available to students at any time and location. To address this new learning model, college campuses are being reconfigured with open-air study environments, high-speed Wi-Fi, and extended hours in various buildings such as libraries. Further, a student can attend classes carrying a laptop instead of toting a stack of textbooks around campus.

Another benefit of e-textbooks is that revisions of e-books can be accessed without the purchase of brand-new editions. With the licensing arrangements offered by many e-publishers, students receive many of these updates with no additional costs.

Students are also being exposed to new digital mediums as early as elementary school. This early exposure to digital media has transformed learning. As students move through elementary school, highschool, and matriculate into university, they are more adept at the use of these tools and are more open to exploring them as they become available. 

This shift in learning trends has provided students with the ability to delve deeper into specific topics and interests in a way that prior generations would not have been able.  Students may utilize assigned e-texts, as well as easily accessible online content to enrich their learning experience. Digital publishing also gives publishers the ability to intersperse different styles of learning content inside a specific learning segment; thereby, maximizing the learning for the student. 

Digital publishing in the field of education has transformed the ways that students learn and has made significant improvements in both the lives of university students as well as educators. Limitless opportunities have been enabled for students and educators to tailor education content in a variety of ways to maximize the learning experience. With the ability to access information in the blink of an eye and customize the delivery of learning material, digital publishing has created an unprecedented, accessible, and efficient learning environment.