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Just because you can’t overnight clothes to Paris anymore doesn’t mean media is dead

Just because you can’t overnight clothes to Paris anymore doesn’t mean media is dead
Neil Vogel and Joanna Coles [Photo: Celine Grouard for Fast Company]

Bleak headlines about the demise of the media world seem to appear almost daily. Is it possible for digital media to even survive?

“It’s super simple. Just make good shit that people care about and you’ll be fine,” said Neil Vogel, CEO of Dotdash, at the Fast Company Innovation Festival.

And to do that, Vogel says, involves just making stuff people want to read, not gaming search engine optimization.

[Photo: Celine Grouard for Fast Company]

“We have two customers—the human being customer and the algorithmic customer,” Vogel explained. “Google is not our concern. If you make great stuff for humans, Google will be fine.”

His panelmate, author and producer Joanna Coles, formerly the chief content officer at Hearst, joked that she came to each of her careers at the end of the heyday of print media, in the glory days of fashion magazines, when editors overnighted their clothes to Paris for fashion shows. Those days are over, but Coles said the digital-media landscape is much better.

“You’ve got access to anything you want with three words tapped into Google or Bing or whatever your search engine is. That’s exhilarating,” she suggested, though she bemoaned all the good stuff people are missing on page 7, 8, 9, or 10 of the search results. “This is a wonderful time to be a consumer of content. . . . The journey of discovery has been lost somehow.”

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