Floors in Africa managing editor, Liezel van der Merwe, welcomed the opportunity to learn first-hand what some of the most influential media companies are up to.

FLOORS in Africa managing editor, Liezel van der Merwe, welcomed the privilege to attend the FIPP New York Media Tour in 2016. The tour took Liezel to some of the most influential media companies in and around New York to see how they are responding to new challenges in the media industry, how they continue to innovate to engage and connect with readers and how they are shaping the future of publishing.

“The FIPP New York Media Tour was a thrilling and highly educational experience. I got to visit media powerhouses like Times Inc., The Economist, Forbes, Huffington Post, Bloomberg as well as innovative digital companies like Refinery29. I was also able to hear first-hand from digital natives as well as Facebook and Instagram gurus on how they go about using online tools, platforms and technologies to connect with their target markets in profoundly creative and forward-thinking ways,” says Liezel.

Liezel found that some of the most interesting presentations were from companies who have made huge leaps into the digital realm. The information provided during these sessions has proven that FLOORS in Africa, along with other titles in the Media in Africa group, are moving in the right direction with regards to digital publishing, social media marketing and the online web properties that the company has been developing over the past few years.

“At Media in Africa, we are continuously optimising and refining our digital strategies to understand our audience better. Our goal is to understand what makes our readers curious and focus on providing the information, advice, educational content and inspiration that they are looking for in our publications. Learning from the digital movers and shakers in The Big Apple will help us to spread our clients’ messages further by reaching their customers on their preferred platforms and in ways that speak to their customers’ challenges, wants and needs,” says Liezel.

One of the things that Liezel enjoyed most about the FIPP New York Media Tour was the site tours.

“The editorial teams are very young and mobile, with staff members switching jobs at a rapid pace. This is very different to our situation here at Media in Africa, where some of our team members have been working together for over a decade!” laughs Liezel.

“I particularly enjoyed visiting Time Inc.’s offices, where huge television screens broadcast breaking news from around the world so that journalists can spread the message as quickly as it happens across the globe,” says Liezel.

If you have an audience, you have a business
One of the key takeaways from the tour was that magazines and publishing companies who have an audience, have a business.

“There are so many new and highly effective ways to connect with audiences, but you need that audience to be there in order to start and contribute to the conversation. The audience needs to trust the publication and the media companies who are succeeding are doing so by creating more touchpoints and focusing on providing relevant, interactive and engaging content. This is what Media in Africa, as a multi-platform company, does best and we are looking forward to helping shape the South Africa media landscape and contribute to our clients’ success in future,” concludes Liezel.