Media companies whose main focus is producing content are still delivering a product to consumers. Knowing how to navigate the waters of product development, operations, and management are equally important in the media industry as in the product world. So, how do media companies redefine their playbook? This week, Product Talk host and Transfix Director of Brand & Sustainability, Patrick Blute, interviews Morning Brew VP of Product Emily Diamond who shares insights on how content and product management interplay in a media company. 

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On How Product and Content Interplay at a Media Company

Product and content development go hand-in-hand. No matter the company’s focus, the end goal is to deliver something to customers that transforms their lives. Without engaging and informative content, there can be no product. As product managers and leaders, we need to think about content as a product with a purpose and a function. Remember the following when creating a product in a media company: 

“[Content is] the thing that users engage with, what they subscribe for, what they follow, and what they seek out. Our team is really responsible for creating the stage or the ecosystem where that content can shine.”

“Without wonderful content, there is no product. It’s our job to ensure that the witty tone and the brilliant writing takes center stage.”

“We’re really thinking about content more broadly. Whether it’s a show on YouTube, a podcast, or a newsletter, we’re really thinking about the best way to deliver great engaging content.” 

On How to Explore and Learn as a Product Leader

Product Management is a relatively new field, especially if you work in a media company. So, it is extremely important to actively search for the right tools and resources to help you be successful. Product managers and leaders need to be resourceful. Understanding media and advertising, engineering, and product and content development, can help develop you into a great product leader. Focus on these principles as you develop your skills as a product leader: 

“When I wanted to know how something worked, I asked about it. If you’re hungry and curious, and you ask questions, you can really learn anything in this field.”

“I have been able to sort of piece together these different sides of understanding from advertising, to engineering, to product, to working really closely with editorial teams. That’s what makes me a good product person.”

“What makes product people special is being able to speak different languages to different people. And to be able to bring all of those different perspectives to the table and to explain things to different people in different ways.”

On the Future of Product in the Content World 

Media companies have a unique opportunity to both connect their consumers with great products and to create them. When Morning Brew conducted a survey, they found that 80% of their subscribers were looking to change jobs. So, they launched a job board where marketing professionals can seek job opportunities they trust. Morning Brew is adjusting the media company playbook by thinking about what their users need, and by asking themselves how they can add more value to their users’ lives. This is what Emily had to say about the new media company playbook: 

“I see media companies stepping outside of the legacy roles that they had had in the past, [and] thinking about how they can add new offerings to deliver more value to their audiences.”

“Morning Brew can not just deliver the news to you but can offer value to you. And [can] really support your professional development goals through all these different opportunities.”

“Morning brew is an educational company, and we teach and educate through content.”

On What Makes a Great Product in a Media Company

How do we know when we have created a great product? For a product or a media company, a great product is one that excites and respects the user. A great product is one that is created with the end-user in mind. It is creative and informative. As well as functional and easy to use. The overall experience of the user should be pleasant. Here is how to know if you’ve developed a great product: 

“A great product is one that delights and respects the user at the same time, one that offers a seamless, visually appealing experience.”

“It’s really clear when a product respects the user. Things like showing a progress bar during a checkout flow, not crowding out content with intrusive pop-up ads, and ensuring products meet accessibility standards.”

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve smiled, or chuckled at the writing from one of morning brews emails because I’m truly delighted and pleased with the content and seamless user experience.”

On What Makes a Great Product Manager

A great product manager is someone who wears many hats. They are someone who thinks about things from every possible angle. They need to know past issues, identify current issues, and predict future ones. In a media company, great PMs think about the content as an organization (30,000 ft view) and know exactly what the steps are that a writer takes when producing a newsletter (requirement-level view). So, how do you know if you’re a great product manager? 

“If you are a great product manager, you’re someone who’s able to hold multiple elevations, the 30,000-foot view, and also the requirements level view. [You’re able to hold] multiple tenses: past, present, and future in your mind at the same time. And [you’re] able to think about those things critically.”

“In order to succeed, you have to identify the known past issues, current issues, and the unknown future issues.”

“A great PM is empathetic and curious towards users and stakeholders, and they have a bias to action.”

About the speaker
Emily Diamond Morning Brew, VP Product Member
About the host
Patrick Blute Transfix, Director of Brand and Sustainability

I am the Director of Brand & Sustainability for Transfix, a leading transportation solutions provider, combining tech and a best-in-class carrier network to reshape the future of freight. I am also a host for Product Talk helping bring product leaders together to answer the question: "What makes a great product?"

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