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Ask Digiday Careers: Making the leap from print to digital

Welcome to Ask Digiday Careers, where we answer your most pressing questions about working in digital media today, from applying to positions to fielding offers to etiquette on the job. Have a question? Email Caleb Li and we might answer it in future columns.

Q: What are the challenges in transitioning from a print-driven organization to a digitally-driven organization?

Mary Kate McGrath, editor-in-chief, PureWow
Everyone warned me that after more than 10 years in print, that joining PureWow, a digital-only publisher, was going to be a huge challenge. They said, “digital is an insatiable beast.” And perhaps it’s just my experience, but the transition has been seamless.

Sure, our digital-first world has created a demand for not only more content, but also more content, faster. At PureWow it was a priority to structure the editorial team in a way that allowed each editor to have specific areas of concentration. And as opposed to my experience in print, where a story would be set out to pasture after it published, the digital world gives much longer legs to content. Every story we write can be emailed, shared, liked, tweeted, snapped, Instagrammed, or pinned. But we see that as an opportunity—it gives the editor a constant stream of data about the story’s success. We track the life of a story, using vendors like Chartbeat or via real time user commentary on Facebook Live, to not only measure success of a story but to strategically develop the next one.

Kai Mathey, COO, Tasting Table
It’s becoming an increasingly difficult transition as the digital landscape becomes more complex and specialized with its constantly evolving vocabulary, concepts and challenges. The digital media world was much simpler when we launched Tasting Table in 2008. Things like viewability, pixel conversions and DMPs weren’t a part of our day-to-day. Fast forward eight years and the barrier to entry is significantly higher.

Kara Eschbach, co-founder, editor in chief & publisher, Verily Magazine
The biggest challenge is trying to get print people to “think” digital—the flow of information and conversation is just much faster, the style of writing is different, and many people weren’t trained to be data-driven. Another challenge is trying to maintain your identity. An article can “go viral” even though it wasn’t necessarily your best work or the direction you want the brand to go in. Trying to balance all these things in a fast-paced daily-publishing environment is a big adjustment.

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