Philip Hemme, a young French-German biotech entrepreneur, is the co-founder & CEO of Labiotech.eu, Europe’s biggest digital media platform for biotech. The company was founded in Berlin in September 2014, five days after he graduated from Boston University and Sup’Biotech Paris. Philip has been invited to come onto the stage at many conferences, including BIO, Sachs, Science Disrupt, to share his passion and knowledge about biotech, entrepreneurship and/or digital media.
Ahead of his presentation at the Digital Publishing Innovation Summit this June 26 & 27 in London, we sat down with Philip to discuss digital publishing, click-bait, and the incoming GDPR regulation set to move the goalposts altogether.
We have seen an explosion in content marketing in recent years, what effect has this had on your content strategy?
We’ve been using content marketing for several years now mostly for our paid customers (sponsored content) and to promote internal products such as our own Refresh events (meetup.com/Labiotech-Meetup/). Editorial content and content marketing was originally written by the same team, which could result in conflicts of interest and prioritization issues. We solved these once we split the content across the different teams: sponsored for business development, product promotion for marketing, and journalistic content for editorial. Our product manager oversees the different content pieces and makes sure it’s coherent across the platform.
With all the recent changes across social media platforms, how are you ensuring you create a robust digital distribution strategy that isn’t reliant on these third-party publishing channels?
We’ve always seen social media as one of the platforms where our we have many readers and have always approached them alongside all of our other distribution channels, whether it’s our website, our apps, google news, RSS feed readers etc. Our content being for a B2B audience, we have never relied heavily on B2C platforms such as Facebook, where most of the algorithm changes have recently been made. Actually, the algorithm change has been beneficial for us in terms of impressions and engagement as we focus on connecting with our community and providing them with amazing content.
How are you maintaining content integrity in an environment filled with fake news and click-bait?
Fake news is less an issue for us in a science-based B2B industry, but click-bait is. Fundamentally, the attention span of online readers has diminished and a clicky title is now the rule. But this doesn’t mean that the content behind has to be of low quality. Our most click-baity articles are usually our longest articles, typically reviews, and are also the most shared articles across our platform.
GDPR comes into full effect in a matter of weeks - what effect can you see it having on digital publishing as an industry?
It’ll have a massive impact on the digital publishing industry, especially on the marketing and monetization side of things. I believe some of the actors, including mass media, went too far in selling the data of their readers or subscribers and the new regulation seems to be a fair adjustment. In our case, we are not selling any data to third party networks or to our customers, and we care too much about our readers to spam them or subscribe them to our newsletter without having them opting in. So we have a few changes to make on our platform by May 25th and have good lawyers to support us in the process.
What tools/software do you find most useful to measure audience engagement?
We rely mostly on Google Analytics to measure audience engagement on our platform. We have added custom tags to it to make it more precise which was a key moment for us in being able to better measure the engagement of our audience. Thus, we’re able to precisely track our power users, readers vs. scanners, sort our content, etc. We’re constantly improving it this as well as looking at other analytic platforms that could replace/complement Google Analytics.
What success have you seen from branching out into multimedia content production?
We’ve been focusing on multimedia content since we started as it seemed obvious to us, as it is for most of our users. We’ve produced hundreds of quality videos, dozens of infographics, and for the 3000 plus articles we’ve published, all include multimedia in order to be more attractive to our readers. This strategy has contributed significantly to the growth of our community and is a space we’ll invest on as much as possible in the coming months and years.
Technology continues to innovate and develop at an incredible rate, what steps are you taking to ensure success across different devices?
The fast pace of technology development is a chance for those who are not afraid of it. As digital natives, we were always able to stay on top of technology and adapt with the best solutions for our business, whether it being WordPress, app development, custom analytics, automatic sales processes, marketing automation and much more. In the B2B space, where a lot of publishers are less tech afine, it’s one of our key assets, and this has made us the biggest platform for the biotech industry in Europe, and soon worldwide.
What can the audience expect to take away from your session on multi-platform engagement at the Digital Publishing Innovation Summit?
A media platform in 2018 needs to be multi-platform, and profoundly, from content creation, to distribution and monetization. Instead of seeing multi-platform as a thread, we embrace it and profit from the opportunity. We’ve tested dozens of strategies over the past 3 years and I’ll be happy to share our key takeaways at the summit, in full honesty and transparency.