To be a content creator, it certainly helps to be an avid content consumer. As such, we’re looking at what content the IMMedia team consumes on a regular basis. How has our media diet changed during COVID? What do we consume regularly? And what content marketing lessons can we learn when we think as a consumer and not just as a creator?

Mary Weaver, Head of Editorial

Describe your media diet. What do you consume regularly?

I’m a content junkie! Before Covid, my mornings started with a quick scan of the news headlines on my phone before the school run; listening to a podcast on my drive to and from the office or reading a book on the bus. Now, I’ve slowed my mornings down a little so I’m finally getting the chance to read my home-delivered print copy of the Financial Times newspaper every day — not just the weekend edition. On my way back home from my morning walk/jog I try to fit in a short podcast, such as the BBC Minute or the opener of The Daily. If I miss that, I try to catch news updates via CNN or ABC World News and I read The Straits Times, The Guardian, The Sydney Morning Herald and New York Times to keep up with local and global news. I love scanning Twitter for news commentary.

What’s your reading strategy when you pick up a print publication?

I usually flick from front to back first and peruse the headlines, captions, pull quotes and opener. Then I go back to my favourite sections and read them in full. I was a magazine editor for a huge part of my career, so printed publications will always hold a special place in my heart. I appreciate the work that goes into creating a polished, finished product that I can hold in my hands.

Do you read a lot of magazines?

I have rationed myself to just one glossy magazine subscription — to the UK edition of Grazia, which I have home-delivered every week. It’s the perfect mix of news, fashion and pop culture. I take my time leafing through it over the week, and I often rip out recipes or book suggestions and stick them on my fridge. I also love newspaper supplements, particularly How to Spend It from the weekend edition of the Financial Times. I used to subscribe to Vanity Fair and love reading features online from The Atlantic and The New Yorker, but hello, content overload!

What’s the last great book you read?

I adored Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout. I devoured the prequel Olive Kitteridge years ago so the sequel feels like the completion of a perfect circle. Strout’s writing is deceptively simple; she has the most unbelievable way of setting scenes and establishing characters so quickly. She focuses on the oft-written themes of life, death and loneliness in the most beautiful, evocative way.

What are you reading now?

I just finished Dear Edward by Anne Napolitano about a boy who is the lone survivor of a plane crash. I have two more ready to go: Severence by Ling Ma and The Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Marra. As soon as I finish a book, I like to start another one immediately so I keep my reading momentum going.

Favourite app on your phone?

I use Goodreads to bookmark and track the books I read or want to read, and then I reserve them on the NLB app from the Singapore National Library Board. I much prefer borrowing books to buying. I’m also addicted to Spotify, WhatsApp, Instagram and Pinterest. And I’m always buying groceries on the Redmart app.

Favourite podcast?

The High Low with the British authors Pandora Sykes and Dolly Alderton is wonderful. I feel like I’m hanging out with my two most well-read pals as they muse about news events, pop culture, books and more. I also love Desert Island Discs for the most incredible interviews. And I’m a huge fan of Watch What Crappens; the two hosts recap every Real Housewives episode. Their impersonations are hilarious. I also like Keep It for pop culture discussions and Pod Save America for political commentary.

What are you watching now?

“Gritty drama” seems to be the most favoured theme on my Netlix account. Think Fauda, Narcos, Trapped, Ozark, Line of Duty. But for something a little different, we just finished season one of After Life, a Netflix series written and starring Ricky Gervais about a recently widowed newspaper editor. I didn’t really know what to expect, but it is one of the best shows I’ve seen in a while. A perfect blend of savage, crude humour mixed with incredibly moving moments. I really hope season two and three maintain the same standard.

TV shows: binge or watch slowly?

Binge! And if a TV series is not working for me, switch quickly.

Kindle or book?

Library book. I love the pressure of a looming due date!

Cinema or movie at home?

Cinema date nights with my husband, particularly IMAX movies like Tenet. But family movie nights at home. We’ve been going back to the Eighties lately as my kids just love Cool Runnings, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Clue. So good!

Favourite platforms/ways to keep up with industry news?

LinkedIn, newspapers, EDMs, podcasts. I also love doing workshops and webinars to keep upskilling and learning about new digital marketing strategies and tools.

What content marketing lessons do you learn from your media diet and your own experience as a consumer in your everyday life?

Think about the audience first. Always. If it’s tech content, how can we make that appealing and valuable to a busy C-suite executive? If it’s a blog, how can we craft an interesting headline and social copy that will lead to better engagement? Is there a better angle? What’s the real story? I also think that the COVID-lockdown has encouraged a new yearning for authentic content. Audiences are seeking and appreciating authentic connections. In my own media diet, I gravitate to content that evokes emotion: whether it be laughter, melancholy, optimism, contemplation, disgust, love. I have always loved reading about real people and real stories. I think brands can take a lot from this approach. Don’t tell a story, show the story, by way of case studies and profiles. This approach doesn’t have to mean “warts and all”, it can be interpreted in a variety of ways.

Peter Bakker, Managing Director and Partner

Describe your daily media diet.

Daily: BBC News app first up, then Telegraaf & the New York Times website scan/read mid-morning. In the evening, SBS World news.

What about your weekly media diet?

I have The Economist delivered and read The Weekend Australian online and in print.

What’s the last great book you read?

Gulag, written by an FT journalist, which provides an insider view of what the Gulags must have been like (and/or still are) under Putin. Puts our daily (so-called crisis) life back in perspective.

What are you reading now?

The Warming, a futuristic read about global warming and the effect on the human race.

What’s your reading strategy when you pick up a print publication?

I usually pick out sections. Or I read the first and last paragraphs of each article. It’s a strategy I picked up during my Economist days when we were meant to read the magazine in full each week. When this raises my interest I will read the full article.

Favourite app on your phone?

It varies. It was the Tour de France (for 3 weeks) recently. Other than that, it’s my bank apps and WhatsApp to keep in touch with friends and family.

Favourite podcast?

None. I have not come across one (yet) that I like.

What are you watching now?

Away on Netflix. It’s the ideal series to fall asleep with. It’s so dull and slow paced.

TV shows: binge or watch slowly?

Billions on Netflix was one of my favourites to binge watch

Kindle or book?

Book! No more screen time please!

Favourite platforms/ways to keep up with industry news?

Pulse from IMMedia Content, CMI Newsletter(s), Industry EDMs, LinkedIn

What content marketing lessons do you learn from your media diet and your own experience as a consumer in your everyday life?

Personally, I am more drawn into content that is exciting and challenges the ‘norm’, which tends to come from individuals rather than companies. Conformity does not engage. Be daring! Interestingly also is the lack of tech and understanding of tech in our industry. Marketing and Marketers are coming to the party very late and have a tonne of catching up to do (including myself)! 

Robert Wilson, Editor

Describe your media diet. What do you read/watch/listen to regularly?

I listen to several podcasts every week, usually while I’m at the gym. Which is quite contrary to what people usually listen to while working out, but it works for me. I also like to read the FT and New York Times weekend editions.

What’s the last great book you read?

The Mailroom: Hollywood History from the Bottom Up by David Rensin

What are you reading now?

I just finished reading The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*CK by Mark Manson. Looking for my next read. Any suggestions?

What’s your reading strategy when you pick up a print publication?

I read the Editor’s note and then I skim until I find something interesting.

Favourite app on your phone?

WhatsApp because I use it to speak to my friends and family around the world.

Favourite podcast?

I have two that I’m really into right now:Positively Chaotic with James Harris and Checks and Balance by The Economist.

What are you watching now?

Cobra Kai on Netflix

TV shows: binge or watch slowly?

Binge

Kindle or book?

Book

Cinema or movie at home?

Cinema

Favourite platforms/ways to keep up with industry news?

Daily newsletters such as the ones from the Content Marketing Institute.

What content marketing lessons do you learn from your media diet and your own experience as a consumer in your everyday life? (could be an example, could be a summary)

Keep your content as personalised and relatable as possible.

Radhika Dhawan Puri, Senior Editor

Describe your media diet. What do you read/watch/listen to regularly?

I watch shows on Netflix plus The Graham Norton Show and Saturday Night Live regularly.

I read the New York Times, the Guardian and BBC. For podcasts, I enjoy Checks and Balance by The Economist and Intelligence Squared. I also watch and rewatch Marvel movies regularly, yes very regularly.

What’s the last great book you read?

Fiction: The Sound of One Hand Clapping by Richard Flanagan. Non-Fiction: Poor Economics: Rethinking Poverty and the Ways to End it by Nobel Laureates Abhijit Bannerjee and Esther Duflo. 

What are you reading now?

Just started reading Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond. The book is on Bill Gates list and I figured I should try and read one at least.

What’s your reading strategy when you pick up a print publication?

I read from the first sentence to the last and I speed read a lot. My reading has two goals. First, is for information where I tend to skim through the content. Secondly, as a writer and an editor where I read more slowly and focus on the language. For example, I follow a sportswriter who writes for The Straits Times, but I have no interest in most sports he writes about. But I read him because he is a brilliant writer.

Favourite app on your phone?

BBC and Whatsapp.

Favourite podcast?

The Economist.

What are you watching now?

The Social Dilemma and The Sinner.

TV shows: binge or watch slowly?

Does anyone watch anything slowly anymore? Binge.

Kindle or book?

Book.

Cinema or movie at home?

Cinema. I’ll switch to home viewing when I can afford Dolby Atmos.

Favourite platforms/ways to keep up with industry news?

Content Marketing Institute, Google Insights and McKinsey newsletters.

What content marketing lessons do you learn from your media diet and your own experience as a consumer in your everyday life?

One, almost all the content I consume is on my mobile, so content needs to be mobile-friendly. This is no longer a “nice thing to have” but rather a basic requirement now. Two, many people skim content and speed read: leading to information overload. It’s important to break up the content with visuals and snackable bits so the key insights and messages are retained by the audience.

Richard Jones, COO and Partner

Describe your daily/weekly media diet. What do you read/watch/listen to regularly?

My media consumption diet is split into four segments:

  1. Economics and World News: newsletters and soft copy subscriptions for The Economist, The Spectator, Straits Times and Business Times.
  2. Marketing and MarTech news: MarTech Today, MarTech Series, Information Age, Tech In Asia, Content Marketing Institute, Marketing Magazine SG, Campaign Asia.
  3. Other interests: cars, sports (football, rugby), music (and drumming) and comedy; consuming content across: YouTube, Facebook, Spotify, specialist titles (evo magazine, car reviewers on YouTube, Everton FC app and so on)
  4. Family: finding content for my sons to watch that isn’t just cartoons or films: science, tech, dinosaurs and more! Main sources are YouTube Kids and trusted sites such as NatGeo, BBC. Plus apps such as Osmo

What’s the last great book you read?

Depends on definition of great! Having two sons has rekindled my passion for a writer that I believe is the best storyteller ever: Roald Dahl. I simply love how he connects with children and adults. Last book of his that I read to my eldest son was Boy, which enlightened us both to how different people’s childhoods can be (and how quickly things change over time)

What are you reading now?

Going Solo by Roald Dahl (see above!)

What’s your reading strategy when you pick up a print publication?

Always go to my preferred sections first, whether I’m reading The Economist (The World This Week), evo magazine (News and Reviews), Viz (Letterbocks and Top Tips). My consumption of this type of content has changed dramatically over the last few years: I used to love reading magazines in their entirety, be it in hard or soft copy. Now I often flit from YouTube video to YouTube video, to website article to an article in a subscribed app

Favourite app on your phone?

Facebook, as it really helps me keep in touch with family and friends across the world (and also has very relevant news about my interests such as cars and Everton, drumming!)

Favourite podcast?

Collecting Cars

What are you watching now?

Waiting for the latest series of Billions to come onto Netflix! At home, we try to vary what we watch, so we don’t get stuck on a single series or genre. So one night we will watch some episodes of a series like Goliath, then another night we’ll watch reruns of our favourite shows such as Curb Your Enthusiasm and UK shows like Antiques Roadshow. Variety is the spice of life!

TV shows: binge or watch slowly?

We will often watch a series over a few nights, but then need to flick onto something completely different to keep sane

Kindle or book?

Book

Cinema or movie at home?

Movie at home

What content marketing lessons do you learn from your media diet and your own experience as a consumer in your everyday life?

I prefer content that gives an opinion, from which I can draw my own. I love video, but not too long. If I want detail, I want to read. That said, I’m visual, so I love pictures and diagrams, rather than reams of text. I have a very short attention span, so short and sharp works for me. If it’s of interest, I’ll go on to read more, often at a later time

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