Video: HuffPo’s Lauri Baker on social as the new front page

Publishers need to “think social” when creating content, according to The Huffington Post’s vice president of brand strategy and sales Lauri Baker.

At the Future Forum, hosted by The Newspaper Works in September, Ms Baker said to win in content, publishers needed to know their consumers’ mindsets on Facebook.

“It’s different from a mindset on Twitter,” she said.

Publishers should understand the differences between social networks, and tell their stories with a “headline and an image” to engage that audience.

For The Huffington Post, the biggest lesson learnt is that “social is the new front page”.

“When we launched 10 years ago as a digital-only newspaper, we knew that we didn’t have the traditional publishing audience that we could rely on,” Ms Baker said.

To engage news consumers online, it had to reinvent the way publishing worked.

The Huffington Post built its own content management system that linked with Google Analytics and search engine optimisation.

“When we were publishing content, we knew in real time what people were searching for,” she said.

“And we could change that, and optimise that, every five minutes, every day, two days later, a week later … so every day those stories were relevant.”

Another result of the rise in social media was that consumers had become creators. “They’re sharing their own content with their friends,” Ms Baker said.

“So, if you think about the competitive landscape of us as a publisher, we’re not only competing with other publishers, we’re now competing with our readers and consumers who are also creators,” she said.

The Future Forum is an annual symposium for news media professionals and this year featured presentations by WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell, News Corp vice president of strategy Raju Narisetti and veteran media designer Mario Garcia.

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