Atlantic experiments in voice platforms to engage audiences

By Shelley Seale


Austin, Texas, United States


The Atlantic is doing exciting work in audio space right now, said Kimberly Lau, executive vice president of strategy and operations. Lau spoke at the INMA World Congress of News Media about the multiple formats this strategy is taking.

“We’re very focused on investing in podcasts as a new form of distributing compelling stories,” Lau said. “We’re also working on audio articles, which is basically taking existing content and putting it into a format that allows more people to engage with our stories.”

The Atlantic is also thinking about skills or interactive feeds that can work on smart speakers, Lau said: “We’re trying to figure out how we can play in an Alexa/Amazon/Google Home kind of market.”

When it comes to engaging the mobile audience with audio and other content, the most challenging thing the news media company finds is simply the number of platforms available to engage with.

“Everything in the media space these days is 10 times more complicated, there are 10 more opportunities, and so you are constantly having to think about what are your priorities and how do you actually make sure that you’re distributing across the platforms and taking advantage of those opportunities — and how do you do so with limited resources?” Lau said.

For Lau, the real key for any media company is staying focused and building the ability to experiment inside the company. That has to be built across functions.

“It’s not just a product role. It’s an editorial role. It’s a sales role,” Lau said. “One of the things that has been really successful for us is being able to bring all those things together and experiment, while still staying focused and keeping our eye on our overall mission and goal.”

The Atlantic isn’t afraid to try new things, but remains focused on staying on brand. “Focus on the MVP so you can quickly learn, quickly evolve, and continue to move as the markets and platforms evolve.”

About Shelley Seale

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