The Outline Is Making Visual, Interactive Content and Ads for a ‘Post-Text’ Internet, from Adweek

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The Outline Is Making Visual, Interactive Content and Ads for a ‘Post-Text’ Internet (excerpt from story that originally ran on Adweek)

“We’re creating content for a psychographic, not a demographic,” said Amanda Hale, CRO of The Outline, a 2-month-old news site meant to serve an “underfed” online audience.

That target psychographic is more than just what the media tends to brush off as “millennials,” said Hale.

According to founder Josh Topolsky, instead of creating content with the idea of a broad, millennial audience in mind, they try to create pieces for people who “start conversations more than they just sit back and add to them.”  The goal is to discover “what matters, by building a meaningful voice with honest storytelling,” said Topolsky, whose previous online success stories include co-founding The Verge and Vox Media.

The Outline’s overall design aesthetic and philosophy is about “not getting stuck in the grooves in the industry,” he said.

“Online storytelling has evolved, but it might be worse from a brand perspective right now,” said Hale.

The Outline, according to Hale, is focused on making “more visual, post-text, bite-sized content,” and wants to extend that same feeling to their ad partners.

“Our current campaigns feel similar to what The Outline was already looking like,” said Eric Perko, the head of media for MUH-TAY-ZIK|HOF-FER, the agency that represented Method. “They’re poppy and playful, and we could see that our material would make a good match with The Outline.”

Perko and his team paid attention to Topolsky’s career trajectory, especially when his next career move became somewhat of a mystery ahead of The Outline’s December debut.

“We were confident he’d be able to launch this successfully, thanks to his track record,” said Perko. “But there’s always an inherent risk when you go with something unproven.”

To Perko, it’s important for brands to support new media companies that try something new, different and innovative because “you have to have the diligence to figure out what will be successful.”

According to The Outline, ads on its site receive a click-through rate, on average, of 25 times the industry average; the site also sees around 13 times the industry average of engagement rates on its ads. Readers of the site have even expressed their appreciation for the ad designs on Twitter.

Read the full story here.