On Wednesday, February 20, 2013, OLC attended Content Conversations: Can Content Help Us Find Love? An Evening with How About We at Outbrain HQ. Chris Lavernge, founder of Thought Catalog moderated the event, with Melissa Wall, the new Editorial Director at How About We's Date Report and Chiara Atik, Dating Expert and regular contributor to The Hairpin, Gawker and The Huffington Post as the experts.
"How does How About We create content—what are its strategies?" Chris Lavergne asked. "All it takes is a good brand with a strict mission," Melissa Wall said. "You're writing for the people."
"Well, what is its core philosophy that informs How About We and informs the content?" Lavergne asked. "How do you create content that readers really deserve? On the internet, content about relationships and dating turns into griping a lot. A lot of it is focused on what went wrong and not what went right. As a human being, you want a deep connection with a person and giving it a way to project that, the way it deserves to be, it's a great place to create content. If you can create a place that can help people feel not alone, feel good about themselves, it's a great place to do so."
Chiara Atik said, "One thing we did was to create a place where there is a sense of camaraderie about dating. It's a place where you can read fun experiences, grave experiences from the experts on dating. It's encouraging people to go out there and try online dating. It's a positive place and talking about it certainly helps it out."
"What conditions does there have to be to create 'love content'?" Lavergne asked. "It has to be edgy," Wall said. "It has to be authentic. Readers can smell what is fake and what isn't." Lavergne asked Wall what the long-term editorial vision for How About We was—"How are you focused on the product," he asked. "We're not focused on the decision," Wall said. "We're not thinking about it like that. We have editorial meetings and talk about daily news and we figure if you're reading How About We, you're interested in dating and romance. We're not focused on driving traffic."
"Content has been very important in strategy," Atik said. "We can reblog, link to articles and obviously write new content. Our CEOs aren't concerned with agenda. In terms of creativity, we have free reign. Of course, people signing up to use the product is one thing, but we're not concerned with that."
"Do people go on bad online dates? Yes. Do people have great online dates? Yes. It's important to acknowledge that bad things happen in any kind of dating," Wall said. "So much rich content comes from bad dates, but we're telling stories about successful dates too."
"What about How About We's marriage product?" Lavergne asked. "We have a platform to address marriage questions—or even long-term relationship questions. You know, what is the key thing missing in a long-term relationship—it's new experiences. What the platform is, is it's cool people finding and curating things for you and your spouse (or significant other) to do things to create new experiences. The content can be scientific to questions like, 'How can you deal with kids,' or 'How can you deal with your spouse making less money than you?'"
The floor opened to the audience to ask questions. The first was how can How About We leverage online dating—how can it expand its reach. "How About We isn't just about dating online," Atik said. "It's about dating offline." Wall said, "We create videos and we're looking into multi-platform publishing."
Another question that was asked was, "How do you see differences between urban and suburban dating?" Wall answered, "The country is moving into the city. Young people are living in the city more and more now. Because people are moving into the cities, you can't have much content about small towns. It's much tougher. We do, however, want to create content that people want to read."
"How do you write about such a subjective topic?" an audience member asked. "I write it as if I'm in the trenches," Atik said. "What I try to do more than anything is get information from people—any avenue high and low in view with my own views, but not too much. I think you naturally draw from your own dating experience, but ultimately, it's about culling formation from what people—how people are thinking about it."
Last Month's Content Conversations Recap: http://www.officeleasecenter.com/articles/january-23rd-2013-content-conversations-branded-content-in-the-social-realm-with-buzzfeed-andamp-ge.html