Social Is A Dangerous Tool To Use When Marketing Stories: Nicole Sheffield

Social Is A Dangerous Tool To Use When Marketing Stories: Nicole Sheffield

When it comes to pushing out editorial content, Nicole Sheffield, CEO of magazine publishing house NewsLifeMedia, believes using social media in a marketing sense is dangerous.

Emma Mackenzie
Posted by Emma Mackenzie

Speaking at an industry event about digital publishing, hosted by industry body AIMIA, Sheffield said: “I saw the previous speaker talk about it being a marketing tool, I think that’s actually a very dangerous face to put on social.

“For us, it’s actually part of the workflow, it’s part of the newsroom. Everyone’s thinking about social.

“I took social off marketing two years ago.”

For Sheffield, who was a recent winner of the Mentor category for the B&T Women in Media Awards, the social media posts come from the journos themselves.

“Our focus is consumer-led and all of our brands filter social media posts through their editorial teams not marketing, this is something we have been doing for a couple of years now,” she told B&T later.

As it’s the journos who write the content and disseminate it to the audience, they know what works and what doesn’t.

“Our focus is not on generating passive ‘likes’ but on creating content that is shared and engaged with, that actively seeks our users opinion and feedback,” she added. “There is no auto feed of content into Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc, and each social medium has a different objective.”

Speaking to the audience at the AIMIA event, Sheffield explained how a few years ago they’d contacted a social media agency with the hope of upping their Twitter, Facebook and Instagram followers for NewsLifeMedia brands.

The numbers the publishing house were quoting had the agency laughing. “So we sacked them,” said Sheffield, “and we made the responsibility the editorial teams.”

And it just goes to show as many of the NewsLifeMedia brands such as Vogue, GQ and are up in the hundreds of thousands when it comes to followers.

Sheffield pointed out the importance of search engine optimisation and how critical their analysts were to the team.

A few years ago changing a headline or first paragraph of an article to make it more compliable with Google and search would have been ludicrous.

However, now with the plethora of content available all over the place, it’s paramount publishers get their content seen.

“Much to our dismay, our analysts are just as important as our journalists,” she said.

“I can’t talk for other publishers; however, I believe SEO is incredibly important,” she further explained to B&T.

“You want to capture readers’ attention with headlines and come up tops when people are searching for specific news, it makes sense to get your story in front of as many people as possible and good SEO analysts can help you achieve that.

“We have found that organic SEO from a consumers’ point of view when it comes to news content has more credibility than paid search ads which is another reason why good SEO is vital.”