Publisher, Bitch Media
Folio: What’s your main area of focus for the new year?
Kate Lesniak: We’re focused on deepening our relationship with our community of feminist readers, listeners, and contributors. Clearly, no one knows exactly how hostile the political climate will be to independent media outlets, but we’re preparing our organization for the worst. Part of that is making sure that the resources we’re providing—feminist analysis, news roundups, classroom materials, reviews, etc.—are available to folks across all platforms. We want to be sure that if you’re having trouble with your Facebook newsfeed, you can still find us in your podcast feed, or if you’re more into print, you can find us on the newsstand. We’re focused on meeting our community where they’re at, with the kind of feminist news and analysis that they actually need in order to function in their own circles.
Folio: What will you be doing tactically to meet that goal?
Lesniak: For the last several years, we’ve been developing programs that help distribute our content to those who want it most, in formats that are most convenient for them, in routine ways. We’ll continue to do that with our weekly podcasts, daily emails, content, sharing to social platforms, and quarterly magazine. But we’re also adding in a weekly Facebook Live broadcast called Feminist Snack Break to offer our community a space to come together every week and actually connect with us—and each other—for a few minutes of feminist response to pop culture in real time.
We’re also using Hearken, which is an innovative engagement tool that helps outlets like ours ask our communities what they’re curious about and then respond to those queries by publishing articles. Part of what we can do to change dominant and destructive narratives in mainstream media is actually ask our readers to drive the conversation by asking the questions that they feel like are most pressing in feminism, pop culture, and mainstream media, and then publishing work in response to those concerns.
Folio: Which channel is your most important, both as a source of revenue and for its value in supporting your marketing efforts?
Lesniak: We hate to tell you this, but they’re all equally important for different reasons. For Bitch Media, which is really a community of feminist readers, listeners, writers, contributors, and the like, each of these mediums serves a different purpose in helping folks navigate their way through our feminist response to pop culture.
Folio: How much does technology play a role in your marketing? Will you be further investing in technology to support your marketing in 2017?
Lesniak: It plays a massive role, and yes.
Folio: Are you engaged with marketing automation or account-based marketing?
Lesniak: Automated marketing sounds pretty corporate, and that’s not really Bitch’s style. We do, however, use some automated engagement tools available to organizers and outlets like ours to make sure that folks are getting notices about when their digital products are available, or are receiving key messages that have to do with their relationship to our community on time (for example, “it’s time to renew your membership!”).
Folio: How will data continue to evolve your marketing operations in 2017?
Lesniak: Data continues to be a driving force in all of our communications and engagement. We’re completely committed to opt-in data, though—so, when a reader wants us to know something, we do, and we use that data point to deliver the most relevant content to that person without inundating them with emails that they don’t want or can’t use. Also, data and analytics helps us make better decisions related to the focus of meeting our community where it’s at. So if we know folks are more interested in engaging with us at a certain time of day, or in a certain way on a given platform, we’ll make sure we create content and a distribution schedule that meets those patterns.