NEW YORK – At DMA’s Circulation Marketing Day, Meredith National Media Group’s EVP and chief digital officer Liz Schimel’s opening keynote reflected on what the recent slew of devices really means for content creation, retaining readers and gaining new ones.

With this advent of tech comes changing business models, in editorial and beyond. At Meredith, Schimel says the publisher’s consumer marketing sector is un-siloed from the traditional circulation department. “There’s an entire sale transformation going on: off-line marketing needs to converge with audience movements. This has made a huge difference in our success,” Schimel told the audience.

Meredith had a busy 2011, with several acquisitions (including Disney’s FamilyFun, Eating Well and former RDA title Every Day With Rachael Ray) topped off by the $115 million purchase completed in the last week. Schimel says this acquisition doubled Meredith’s digital reach, as the website reaches 25 million uniques.

“From 2010 through 2012, we aimed to increase the scope of our digital audience; not only for digital opportunities, but to support our traditional circ business. These are valuable audiences that we use to attract and retain new customers,” she says.

Schimel highlights several factors in content creation for digital audiences on Meredith’s Web properties and apps, “Who is your audience? How do we cater that content to them? What are the behaviors that drive the optimization for each device? How do you optimize the content itself?”

The publisher’s research finds its target female audience is using each type of mobile device differently: mobile apps are all about utility, communication and seeking information; while tablets are more often picked up for enjoyment and consumption.

In the digital push, Schimel reports Meredith’s team culture is changing with the times. “Digital requires a level of collaboration, more hand-to-hand combat. Not in a conflicting way, but workflows need to be closely tied. Getting from print versions to tablet versions requires a level of technical sophistication by our editorial team,” says Schimel. “It has required us to shift around a little to set up slightly different team structures, how we go to market, new budgets coming from new teams and new directions.”

With 17 apps and a growing portfolio of websites and magazines, Schimel says 100 million women now make up Meredith’s worldwide audience.

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