Kiplinger builds its online audience by going social, mobile

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Kiplinger Washington Editors Inc. publishes business and personal finance information. Among its best known publications is “The Kiplinger Letter,” a newsletter that has been delivering short, crisp sentences that cut through the clutter for more years than the founders of Twitter have been alive. “To me, it was the first blog,” said Wallace Ryland, Kiplinger's director of digital business development, who is charged with translating the company's traditional content to new media and helping shift reader demographics. Ryland spoke with Digital Directions about how technology is pulling Kiplinger content out of the proverbial father's mailbox and delivering it to a new generation of business professionals and investors.

Digital Directions: What is guiding digital growth at Kiplinger?

Ryland: Our content style is geared for mobile devices and even social media. We've been able to get out there and drive our SEO. We've been getting a broad audience, and our traffic has grown dramatically over the last six months. This year, we're launching our mobile site in the second quarter. Clearly that is going to help us go after a new demographic.

Digital Directions: Kiplinger grew page views by 35% and unique visitors by 24% last year. What led to those jumps?

Ryland: We've implemented internal proprietary strategies in the way that we present content and work with groups within Kiplinger. We've done things that have brought in new readers. For example someone views a slideshow on places to retire and shares it through social media. When we do something that is lighter, it is interesting to see how many people come through our transom and stay to become hard-core readers.

Digital Directions: Social media plays a big role in generating new traffic?

Ryland: In terms of our general traffic, a lot of it is in traditional areas—portals, SEO—but social media is the fastest growing area for us. We've promoted an audience development specialist, and we're building our community with Facebook and Twitter.

Digital Directions: How will your mobile site be structured?

Ryland: We want to create a way for readers to choose the content they want without clutter. We'll structure the mobile website to give readers exactly what they want, even though we have this huge database of content. It's going to be “channelcentric.” We'll start with a mobile website so we can cast a wide net. In phase two, we'll develop mobile apps. That's going to have premium content, ways to access channel-focused content. It's going to integrate with our social piece. We may have paid apps, and we also may have sponsored apps. We've had advertisers express interest in that.

Digital Directions: How do you evolve your content delivery strategy?

Ryland: Part of it is finding partners to work with our content management system and our ordering system so we don't do work twice. That's one place where a lot of people stumble, doing double work. We want a one-stop shop.

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