There's not a lot of industry news sites that offer the same extent of fresh articles and opinions throughout the day with a real sense of community input. Some of us at Photolibrary already find Mumbrella viewings as habitual as coffee, so we thought we'd throw a few questions to Tim Burrowes the editor of Mumbrella to find out what's in the Mumbrella mix that keeps reeling us back in for more.
Tim Burrowes aka Dr Mumbo - first Studio 33 appearance:
First of all, there are a lot of avid Mumbrella readers here at Photolibrary, it’s a great (and entertaining) way to stay in touch with industry happenings, but I think it’s more so the impression of getting an authentic / non-bias perspective from you guys that really works - is this part of the strategy for Mumbrella?
In truth, it wasn’t something I thought out very much beforehand. But life tends to be more interesting if you can say what you think. I’ve always tended to take the view that you owe it to your readers to speak your mind, rather than to try to make people like you by saying nice things about everyone. It’s what I’d always tended to do when I worked in print, but there, you only got the chance to do so once an edition. With Mumbrella, I can say what I think several times a day.
Can you tell us a little more about how Mumbrella came about?I’ve written about media and marketing in my last three editorships – B&T here in Australia, Campaign Middle East in Dubai and Media Week in London – so it was natural to focus on that subject.
If there was a gap in the market it was for a site that was updated all day, rather than once a day all at once, like the established players. But more importantly in retrospect was the ability to allow people to easily discuss the key topics. The conversation has been the key.
What sort of feedback are you getting from the industry? What do people think of it?
It’s been very positive. Most people seem to recognize that we’re an alternative voice and are offering something genuinely different. Now that we have more traffic than our longer established rivals, those who sat on the sidelines have started to come on board too. It’s been a big year and we expect another.
There’s a lot of talk about the benefits of consumer-centric communication / having a dialogue with customers, especially with the surge of interest in social media. How important is this for Mumbrella?
Social media’s very important to us. A lot of our traffic come via Twitter, and more importantly, many of our most committed commenters – vital to kickstart these conversations – come out of Twitter. As a journalist, the dialogue also produces a lot of fresh stories for me as people send me tips and drop me links.
Do you think monologue-built / product-centric brands are a thing of the past?
You could accuse Apple of that. I think they’ve got a bit of time just yet.
You’ve been powering up the Adage Power150 international rankings for marketing blogs in a very short time. What do you think has contributed to Mumbrella’s success here?
In truth it was more a case of slow and steady progress. But they had a technical glitch which saw us fall away for a couple of months before apparently rocketing into the top 50 when they fixed the feed we were scoring zero on.
Funnily enough, unless they stay on top of things, I think the Power 150 is measure that is going to have to fight hard if it wants to maintain its credibility – I’m already noticing a couple of individual social media stormtroopers who appear to be gaming their blogs (and damaging their user experience) to try to score better on it. The problem is that PostRank (one of the Power 150’s measures) gives too much weight to quantity of comments, meaning that there is an incentive to feed crap into your comment stream just to get your comment count up. Next time you see a blog that republishes every single Twitter reference, no matter how irrelevant, inane or repetitive into its comment stream, that’s probably what they’re up to.
So, what’s next for Mumbrella and Focal Attractions?
We’re back in the print business! We’ve just bought the film industry magazine Encore. Revitalizing the print edition and developing an online strategy for Encore is our next big thing.
In your opinion, whose doing cool & interesting things in the media and marketing sector we should keep an eye out for (locally or on the world stage)?
That too hard for a short-termist like me! I think social media’s rise has a way to go yet though. There are certainly media players I admire here though – Crikey & Australian Anthill leap to mind, and nobody can ignore whatever News Ltd decides to do next with its online strategy.
The Stock Photography industry has moved from selling content solely from professionals to anyone with digital camera can upload and sell stock for next to nothing. Has this had any effect on the media and marketing industry?
On the fringes, yes. But I suspect that few within the industry (except those running picture libraries) would put the effect in a list of the top five issues keeping them awake at night.
Post by David Wall, originally posted on Photolibrary News