The Marriage of Print and Digital Works in Real Time at Hearst

Clearly the years she spent working in digital media helped Kate Lewis gain some incredible perspectives on consumer behavior.

“That instant feedback that you get from digital is extraordinarily valuable, and I felt like that this would be a great chance to bring the things that I had learned there to bear on print and to see if we could help engagement and connectivity to readers in print as well,” Lewis told Samir “Mr. Magazine” Husni in a recent interview.

In her new role as Chief Content Officer for Hearst Magazines, Lewis brings an unabashed love of print magazines to the role … and a clear understanding of her audience’s behavior and why she’ll never “give up” on the young audience.

“I grew up as a kid reading every magazine under the sun, because I walked by 15 newsstands on my way to school every day,” she explains. “They were very much in my face. And kids today, even if they do walk by a newsstand, of which there are very few, you have to go all the way to 55th and Third to find yours. And even if they are walking by a newsstand, they have their faces in their phones anyway. So, I don’t think giving up on them is the right phrase, because I think they have an appetite for this kind of content packaged in this way, but I think we have work to do around how they discover it.”

This is where digital is a key part of the new marketing power couple, and a large part of her job is leveraging digital to drive readers to print. She sees media brands having a secret weapon in this admittedly tough challenge.

“The difference for me between influencers and media brands is that influencers have usually one platform on which they exist,” Lewis tells Husni. “So for example, if we put a YouTube star on Instagram or an Instagram star onsite, it doesn’t translate. They have a platform that is their natural habitat and that’s where they belong.

“A brand can traverse any platform,” she continues. “You can have a brand be executed across any of the places that we publish and be pretty darned successful in those places with the right ambition. So, I think that’s one way in which we are really different than influencers.”

Lewis is carrying on a tradition at Hearst, a brand that seized on the multi-platform approach in a coherent way.

“Hearst Magazines stands almost unrivaled in its array of successful and engaging magazine titles, both nationally and internationally,” Husni writes. “And no one does it better than Hearst when it comes to the marriage of print with digital.”

We wish Lewis much success in her new role and look forward to seeing her own special brand of magic.