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PinkNews’ Head of Platforms Ellen Stewart on the world’s largest LGBTQ+ news site

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On this week’s episode of Media Voices, PinkNews’ Head of Platforms Ellen Stewart tells us why Snapchat is a priority for the world’s largest LGBTQ+ publisher, why video is a solid investment for a site with a highly engaged audience, and why it pays to be as much a resource as a news source.

In the news roundup, the team discusses why Spotify is investing in podcasting as the future of audio revenue, Facebook’s Campbell Brown telling publishers they can’t rely on the social network to survive, and examine whether other publishers can learn anything from the NYT’s latest good results. A flock of seagulls and a puppy guest star.

The transcript for Ellen Stewart is now available here.

In our own words:

by Chris Sutcliffe

You don’t have to search hard to find a reason to cheer PinkNews’ success. Its campaigning journalism, born out of the campaign for marriage equality, has demonstrably helped LGBTQ+ people in the UK in the fight for representation. Its editorial and social headcount has increased dramatically over the past year as a result of some smart bets by its Head of Platforms Ellen Stewart. Its existence has proven beneficial to its audience, members of whom have found a sense of community among their fellow users.

Perhaps the best reason to be happy for PinkNews’ existence, however, is that it is proof that one man’s “side hustle” can grow to be the world’s leading LGBTQ+ publisher, which receives over 30 million users a month across its platforms.

Stewart attributes some of that success to the title’s smart use of platforms. She notes that while PinkNews’ publishing strategy used to be primarily focused on Facebook traffic, the social network’s decision to de-prioritise publisher content taught the Pink News team to be more strategic in their use of third-party platforms:

“That transition really allowed us to uncover the dedicated readership that was there, that we didn’t necessarily know about…It reminded us that not only are we a news publisher, but we’re a resource. That has really helped us hone in on our strategy across a whole collection of platforms.

While the use of platforms as a tool with which to attract new readers rather than for monetisation isn’t unique to Pink News, its success is rare. Even as other publishers sought to extricate themselves from Snapchat, for instance, in the face of a falling user base, Stewart argues that Pink News has found a way to make the ephemeral social network work through a combination of a revenue share ad model alongside traditional commercial takeovers and creative services. 

Republished with kind permission of Media Voices, a weekly look at all the news and views from across the media world