Eight Things We Loved At The International Content Summit

Did you know that “data is the new soil”? Seriously! That was just one of the things we learned at this week’s International Content Summit in London, as top marketers from across the globe gathered to identify fresh trends. We spotted one straightaway – if you’re a middle-aged social media expert, jeans and a v-necked jumper are now absolutely de rigeur.

The standard of speakers at the Summit, organised by the Content Marketing Association, was astonishingly high, and the level of jargon and waffle refreshingly low. We noticed just one ‘church and state’ – and not a single ‘granular’. There was much to admire and lots to learn. Here are eight things we particularly liked.

1 Matthew MacGregor of Blue State Digital, and a former campaign advisor for Barrack Obama, talked of the importance of bold thinking. "Too often we are lame, boring or too focused on internal stakeholders," he said.

2 Nick Cohen of MediaCom warned of the “froth” around the fashionable “content marketing” debate and wondered how the best agencies will respond when the phrase loses its topical lustre.

3 Time and time again, speakers emphasised the importance of authentic content created by skilled writers. Alistair Cotterill of Facebook observed that the best branded content is “part Bill Bernbach, part Anna Wintour”.

4 “The difference between persuasion and manipulation is positive intent,” said web psychologist Nathalie Nahai in one of the most compelling presentations. Many of her mantras for online copy echoed the wisdom of old-school copywriters.

5 “It’s not all about algorithms and scale,” said Matt O’Mara of Vice. “There has to be room for creativity.” And boy did he show how, in a fascinating summary of Vice’s ‘rules of engagement’.

6 Nick Blunden of The Economist agreed, identifying the hooks that make the best campaigns a big success. "Thankfully, as human beings, we still have an insatiable appetite for stories," he said.

7 Jonathan Mildenhall gave a jaw-dropping presentation of Coca-Cola’s “liquid and linked” marketing platform strategy that was impressive and scary in equal parts. The creative thinking was as immense as the power the brand wields – but it was refreshing how he revealed and even “celebrated” mistakes the brand had made.

8 And finally, Dara Nasr from Twitter played a memorable video featuring the late Steve Jobs and one of his best quotes: “The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones that do.”

10 gems from The Modern Magazine

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“The best magazines are achieving more than ever before,” said Jeremy Leslie of magculture.com, kicking off the Modern Magazine, an inspirational conference for the new generation of magazine makers.

White Light Media was in the audience for a day of fascinating insight from free-spirited publishers, designers and editors bringing passion, creativity and a much-needed kick up the butt to the magazine establishment.

There were many highlights, but here are 10 (paraphrased) gems of observation that stood out for us.

1 We live in a pessimistic era but creativity always prevails. While we still connect as people, magazines will always have a future.
Justine Picardie, Harper’s Bazaar

2 Monocle has flourished by thinking differently and embracing the ‘consultancy of common sense’. Many big publishers have encouraged a creep of consultants onto the editorial floor figuring out how to monetise content, but focus groups never lead to interesting editorial solutions.
Tyler Brûlé, Monocle

3 We have big plans to expand digitally in 2014, including the launch of a paywall-protected travel site. But print remains at the heart of our strategy. There’s a permanence and gravitas about print that I'm perpetually drawn to.
Rosa Park, Cereal

4 London Mayor Ken Livingstone used to have a saying: ‘Seven million Londoners, one London’. What a load of bollocks. We focus on the individual rather than the group.
Davey Spens, Boat

5 Often when a client comes to us and asks for a new typeface, the first thing we do is to persuade them that they don't want a new typeface.
Paul Barnes, typography consultant

6 Many modern magazines are more like books. I walk round WH Smith and, instead of looking at the covers, I look at the thickness of their spines. By their spines, ye shall know them.
Simon Esterson, Eye

7 Intelligent content is at the heart of our success – it's amazing how many magazines are made not to be read. People love The Gentlewoman because it provides an oasis of thoughtful reading. Digital is so intertwined with our working lives that it's the thief of time.
Penny Martin, The Gentlewoman

8 You need 1,000 true fans to make a sustainable magazine and 5,000 to start making a living.
David Jacobs, 29th Street Publishing

9 Issue by issue, Colors magazine explores themes such as ‘shit’, ‘happiness’ and ‘apocalypse’, all underpinned by a belief that: ‘globalisation = diversity = good’.
Patrick Waterhouse, Colors
[Political leaders around the globe, please subscribe today.]

10 Basically, I just steal other people's ideas.
Richard Turley, Bloomberg Businessweek

Hot Rum Cow among Esquire's 80 things that define our time

US Esquire has featured our very own Hot Rum Cow in a list of the 80 things that define us today - and they know a thing or two about magazines.

Esquire is celebrating going strong for four score years and more in the US. Its first issue featured the writing of Ernest Hemingway and this month’s celebratory 80th anniversary edition includes a photo shoot of 80 extraordinary men that took almost a year to pull together. It also features a list of the 80 things, men, women, technology, books, food, booze, jokes, hunches, notions and bold ideas that define our time (featuring Hot Rum Cow).

Our copy arrived in the post this week and we’re delighted to be keeping such high calibre company. Hot Rum Cow gets a plug in the Esquire 80 as a great example of what can still be achieved with paper. Paper – more specifically, lovingly crafted independent magazines and books – comes in at number four on the list, snugly squeezed between Best-Dressed Man in America, basketball player, Dwyane Wade and Rookie of the Year, Kim Jong-Un.

Tyler Cabot describes Hot Rum Cow as a magazine “with the character and physicality of a classic bar”. He also praises the beauty of Swallow Magazine and the transportive quality of We Are Here magazine. “When a book or magazine becomes an object you can keep and display and pass on, it becomes something different altogether – a luxury item. Digital media won’t die. And neither will our instinct to hold and own beautiful things,” he concludes.

“Hear, hear,” we say. Long live paper and here’s to 80 more years of Esquire (and, if it’s not too much to ask, Hot Rum Cow).

Click here to read the original article.

The White Light Magazine Shop

We love magazines so much we’ve only gone and opened our own mini magazine store. Roll up, roll up for eight top quality, hard-to-get publications that are so good we think the whole world should know about them.

Something odd is afoot in the world of magazines. While sales of many mainstream titles tumble, there’s been a global renaissance in intelligently written, beautifully designed magazines created by a new generation of ‘craft publishers’.

Many of these publications are wonderfully creative – we all have our favourites in the office – and some are also forging ingenious revenue sources. This development is catching the eye of marketers, who have picked up on the influential ‘slow journalism’ movement spearheaded by Delayed Gratification magazine, and the commercial success of independent brands such as Monocle and Vice.

To play our part in this exciting resurgence of creative print, members of the team here have chosen eight magazines that they feel are particularly outstanding. You can now buy these magazines either by visiting our rather lovely studio in person, or online at www.whitelightmedia.bigcartel.com.

The Whisky Issue – Out Now

After months of hard graft the third issue of our drinks magazine Hot Rum Cow hit the shops this week. Taking delivery of the magazines is always a high point for everyone in the studio and we’ve been working excitedly to distribute and publicise the issue with the heady smell of ink in the air.

Issue 3 is all about whisky and we’ve been all over Scotland, England and even to Sweden to meet some of the most exciting producers working today. We’ve not just got spirit though – we’re also covering picnic wine, flaming cocktails, obscure liqueurs and barrel-aged beer.

You can read more about the issue and see some of the beautifully designed and illustrated spreads online. Most of the copy is written by White Light Media editors, all of the design work is our own and even some of the illustrations are done in-house. Drop us a line if you think your business could benefit from quality design and writing like in Hot Rum Cow.

Order your copy now or subscribe in our shop.