Browsing articles tagged with " digital journal"

Future of Media Preview: Q&A with /newsroom’s Sabaa Quao

Mar 7, 2013   //   by admin   //   Media blog  //  1 Comment

by David Silverberg

In our final Future of Media preview Q&A, we spoke to Sabaa Quao, Chief Marketing Officer of Digital Journal Inc. and co-founder of /newsrooms. Quao has managed teams dedicated to the future of marketing and advertising, and he’ll join the decorated panel at the upcoming Future of Media discussion on March 14 in Toronto.

Quao boasts extensive marketing experiences, having helped launch of the Toronto Raptors and Playdium Entertainment, rebranded the CN Tower and the Directors Guild of Canada, and led special projects for Toronto International Film Festival Group, Nortel Networks, Roots, RBC Royal Bank, Levi’s, Bell Mobility, Rogers Communications, The Beer Store, GlaxoSmithKline, McCain Foods, Corona, Coca-Cola, and Jack Daniel’s.

In this interview, he discussed why brands should embrace “continuous marketing,” why analyzing marketing performance is now more important than ever and the major mistakes companies make in their content marketing initiatives:

You’ve worked in marketing and advertising for years, so explain how that world has changed over the past several years and what trends are emerging in this space, specifically in digital.

Quao: Marketing and advertising has always managed to keep at pace with or slightly ahead of “culture”. That was until the pace of technology outpaced the capacity for people and agencies to keep up. So the agencies, I think, have to pick their battles and stop claiming to be able to do it all. Not only does the claim ring hollow, some won’t recover from the failure when they try. Rather than go it alone, I think the best creative and marketing teams will learn to collaborate like mad. From those collaborations, the unique combinations that arise will pleasantly surprise the clients, their audiences, and event the agencies themselves.

The other emerging reality of agencyland and marketing outputs is the hell that arises from everything digital being measurable. There’s no escaping it. The verification of marketing performance is never, ever, ever going away. Deal with it. By no means am I implying that one should give in to everything being measured — the best creative directors and marketers are going to know when to ignore the numbers at the front end and still deliver the right results at the back end.

What brands are at the forefront of branded content or content marketing? What lessons can they teach other companies?

Quao: Coke and Red Bull are the two brands that come to mind. At the Coke end, their extremely well-articulated vision of content marketing is the most coherent I’ve seen and heard. Everyone can learn from that.

At the Red Bull end, the consistency of their adrenaline content is remarkable and the word that comes to mind is actually “patience.” There’s no trendy fast decision to “Hey, let’s have a guy jump from space”. There’s patience in nurturing relationships to eventually end up dominating the Dakar rally. This all points to the long view Red Bull has around their chosen content.

When it comes to analytics and ROI, how can brands best take advantage of branded content and social media campaigns and get the best bang for their buck? What should they be looking for after specific campaigns?

Quao: Every campaign offers the opportunity to learn something new. It’s always worth diving into the quirks and patterns that emerge from a completed campaign. The best bang for the buck then comes from doubling down on new directions. This is a remarkably consistent way for our /newsrooms team to find new audiences. The next campaign invariably adds communities and audiences to the mix whom we’d never known were relevant before until we looked at the sparks that emerged from a prior campaign.

Should brands become publishers? What type of brand is best suited in becoming a CNN for their product?

Quao: No, brands should not become publishers, it’s not their core business. At the same time, brands must realize that they have no choice but to publish. A paradox.

Rather than try to become CNN or BBC World News, brand should collaborate with entities that can operationally run that race. A generation ago, did brands build their own television or film studios? No, they did not. But the collaboration with television and film producers got brands credibly into many forms of branded content.

What’s the future of content marketing? It’s a buzz word today but where do you see it five years from now, say?

Quao: Content marketing won’t go away. I don’t think it’s a buzz word. However, it’s a subset of the more important wave called “continuous marketing”. The audience is always on, the social media channels are always always open.

As a result, there needs to be considerable thought put to finding ways for the marketing machine to never turn off. Content becomes one of the steady inputs, but the data crunching and testing, the perpetual co-creation, the software-driven responses and productions, and more are all going to be around too.

Explain the most common mistake by brands diving into social media and how they can avoid making this mistake again.

Quao: The most common mistake brands can make is to fall into the same tired and meaningless social media industry clichés. If I hear another social media flak advise brands to be authentic, I’m going to gag. Instead brands should have some courage to step into the darkness. Alone. They need to feel their way around, and come out of the darkness with something new to say and do. And some of it won’t work. These aren’t “mistakes”, it’s sometimes just stuff that didn’t work. Get over it. Move on. And the brand teams don’t always need to step out with something radical that the organization can’t sustain or absorb. There’s room for gentle and reasonable innovation.

The other mistake I sometimes hear is the notion that one must hand the brand over to the consumer because that’s what the consumer wants. Really? I don’t think a brand should ever entertain that thought. Instead, think like a platform. Hand over a framework or a sandbox that the consumer can step into and collaborate with. There’s a big difference, that’s not handing over the keys to the shop.

The upcoming Future of Media event will take place Thursday, March 14, 2013 at Toronto’s Drake Hotel Underground (1150 Queen Street West) at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7 p.m. and admission is free and open to the public. Note: Seating is limited so it will be first-come, first-served. Previous events have hit capacity very quickly so early arrival is highly recommended.

For other Future of Media Q&As, go to our interviews with:
Digiday’s Josh Sternberg
Buzzfeed’s Jonathan Perelman
Globe & Mail Steve Ladurantaye

Digital Journal announces Photo Essay Contest for December

Nov 29, 2012   //   by admin   //   Blog  //  389 Comments

by Digital Journal Staff

Contributors to Digital Journal have a chance to win cash prizes in a new photo contest available in December.

The Photo Essay Contest invites any Digital Journal member to submit blogs and articles featuring at least three original photos on any topic.

Running from Dec. 1 to Dec. 31 inclusive, this contest is open to any member of challenge? Compile a photo essay with at least 3 photos showcasing an interesting moment in your community or during your travels. You can photograph Christmas preparations in a busy neighbourhood; a visit from a celebrity; a breaking news event; sports games or parades; arts festivals or concerts; and much much more!

Your photography can relate to any subject, from sports to business to entertainment and everything in between.

HOW TO ENTER: Your photos must be included in an article (if you’re a paid Digital Journalist) or within a blog post (if you’re just a blogger contributor), and you must include in the headline “Photo Essay.” That’s it. You don’t need to email the entries to editors.There is no limit to how many times you can enter the contest. You can contribute as many photo essays as you like. All photos must be shot by the author of the article or blog post. Verification of authenticity may be required. You are required to include at least three original photos but note there is no limit to the maximum amount of photos to include in each entry.

ELIGIBILITY: Any member of may enter this contest. Your account cannot be inactive or closed to be eligible for the contest. Digital Journal staff and relatives of staff are ineligible to enter the contest.All photo essays must be original work and never published before, including previously posted on DigitalJournal.comDEADLINE: The entries must be published on between 12:01 a.m. (Eastern) Dec. 1, 2012 and 11:59 p.m. (Eastern) on Dec. 31, 2012.

PRIZES: The first place winner will receive $100, and a second and third place winners will take home $50. All prizes will be awarded within 30 days of Contest judging via PayPal to those addresses provided by Contest winners on their Member Registration Form. Prizes are subject to substitution by products of equal or greater value without notice.The winning entries will also be promoted on and via our social media channels, such as our Facebook and Twitter feeds.

JUDGING: Entries will be judged by the sole discretion of staff members of, and a winner will be announced in January 2013. Entries will be judged on journalistic value, composition, clarity, realism, photographic skill, timeliness, and a flair for the unexpected. You may use your camera of choice, or a cellphone, for your photo essay.It should be noted Digital Journal encourages “liking” the blogs and articles you believe should win the contest, as Judges will take the popularity of a photo essay into consideration, although the criteria mentioned above will take priority over an entry’s amount of Likes.Winners will be notified of their win by email within 30 days of the contest deadline

PUBLICATION: Owner of copyright retains all copyright on any photo submitted to the Contest. Digital Journal, Inc. reserves publication rights of winning photo essays and photographs in electronic medias, as well as for possible use in future promotional material of the Contest. All photos, wherever promoted or displayed, will be credited to the photographer.

CLAIM OF OWNERSHIP AND MODEL RELEASES: Contestants must own all rights to the works submitted and are solely responsible for obtaining mode releases, when applicable. As such, Contestants hold the publisher and Contest sponsors harmless from any breech of copyright in Canada, The United States and elsewhere and from consequential litigation.

RESPONSIBILITY: Digital Journal, Inc. cannot be held liable for any failure of the Web site during the Contest. Digital Journal, Inc. is not responsible for loss, damage, technical problems or delays that may occur during digital transfer of images.

ACCEPTANCE OF RULES: Participation in the Contest indicates complete acceptance of the Contest rules set forth herein.

Additional Info:
• All entries are subject to Digital Journal’s Terms of Use.
• Rules subject to change without notice. Digital Journal reserves the right to update this page at any time.
• The contest is open to citizens of any country in which PayPal operates (see list).
• Decisions of the contest judges are final.
• By entering this contest or claiming the prize, entrants authorize the use, without additional compensation of his or her name and/or likeness and/or voice/photograph and/or news article and/or blog and/or photographs and municipality of residence for promotion and/or advertising purposes, related to this contest, in any manner and in any medium (including without limitation, radio broadcasts, newspapers and other publications and in television or film releases, slides, videotape, distribution over the Internet and picture data storage) which Digital Journal, Inc. may deem appropriate.
• By entering this contest, or accepting the prize, the winner acknowledges that Digital Journal, Inc. will not be held liable for any loss, damages or injury associated with entering this contest, accepting or using this prize(s).
• This contest is subject to all federal, provincial and municipal laws.
• By entering this contest, you agree Digital Journal, Inc. is not responsible or liable in the event of lost, removed, or missing entries.
• Digital Journal reserves the rights to delete any entry without explanation.
• Each entrant is responsible for maintaining a copy of their entry/submission.

Photo via Flickr user Johannes_wl

Digital Journal Inc. launches /newsrooms division for brands

Oct 1, 2012   //   by admin   //   Media blog  //  No Comments

by Digital Journal Staff

The /newsrooms division is co-founded and led by marketing and social media veteran, Sabaa Quao who is joining Digital Journal Inc. as Chief Marketing Officer.

“Digital Journal has seen meteoric growth in 2012 and the launch of our /newsrooms division diversifies us as a modern digital media company and positions us to own a significant piece of the social enterprise technology and publishing spaces,” said Chris Hogg, CEO of Digital Journal Inc. “Digital Journal’s deep expertise in social, publishing and marketing combined with our technology and global network of content creators means we can deliver a scalable digital media solution that is unmatched. We will now leverage these proven tools and processes to serve marketers and brands.”

Digital Journal has earned worldwide attention and praise for its role as a digital media pioneer and leader. In June 2012 Digital Journal was proclaimed one of the Top 20 most promising companies in Canada by The C100, a non-profit, member-driven organization made up of top executives of companies such as Apple, Cisco, EA, eBay, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Oracle, and venture investors representing more than $8 billion in capital. The C100 supports Canadian technology entrepreneurship through mentorship, partnership and investment.

How /newsrooms work

Digital Journal’s /newsrooms division opens new opportunities for the tens of thousands of content creators from 200 countries who participate in the company’s global network. Digital Journal’s /newsrooms division can support social media campaigns and marketing services to enable brands to grow audiences at scale, engage brand influencers and meet the pressures of 24/7 interaction that marketers are feeling. If you were to create CNN or The New York Times but dedicated to social media coverage, content creation, and publishing for and around brands, that would be Digital Journal’s /newsrooms division.

/newsrooms are an extension of a brand’s existing marketing and advertising efforts and Digital Journal takes everything a brand is already doing and adapts it to a strategy that puts content, live events and social media engagement at the forefront. This strategy harnesses the audience-growing skill of journalists, with the brand expertise and commercial inclination of a skilled marketing team.

Digital Journal’s /newsrooms begin by making brands relevant on a personal level; a content strategy becomes central to that goal by identifying the themes and content categories related to the brand. Digital Journal then combines journalistic professionalism with strong lead-generating content marketing initiatives to grow the audience and customer base.

In addition to content, /newsrooms also apply a customized social media approach to help develop a brand’s audience and engage top influencers. Applications may include covering live events, curating assigned content on specific topics valuable to a brand, using social media to disseminate news, analyzing social media influence, managing the engaged audience, and running Command Centres to ensure the brand is always on — just like a media organization.

“Brands and companies have become publishers, with little choice but to address what it means to engage 24/7 with their audiences,” says Sabaa Quao, Digital Journal’s Chief Marketing Officer and head of /newsrooms. “At the same time, companies are guardedly watching to see if their core business will be dramatically altered, damaged, or destroyed. Now with /newsrooms, brands can scale up their interaction and collaboration with influencers who are engaging with their products, in real-time.”

Digital Journal can already attest to the power of /newsrooms, as the company is a product of its own success; starting out as a Toronto-based magazine, Digital Journal used the /newsrooms approach and technology to grow from a local magazine into a global digital media organization with tens of thousands of contributors in 200 countries, reaching millions of people every month.

For more information visit

About Digital Journal Inc.

Digital Journal Inc. is a global digital media company that delivers technology, content and social media solutions to brands and media companies. Headquartered in Toronto, Digital Journal is widely recognized as a pioneer and leader in digital media and in 2012 Digital Journal was proclaimed one of the Top 20 most promising companies in Canada. Boasting a proprietary digital platform and a network of tens of thousands of professional content creators in 200 countries, Digital Journal provides an out-of-the-box solution that touches every corner of the digital media industry.

Digital Journalists landing more opportunities thanks to digital publishing and community experience

Aug 7, 2012   //   by admin   //   Media blog  //  14 Comments

by Digital Journal Staff

With the rise of social media and communities such as Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram, news organizations and brands are facing increased pressure to find editorial talent who can work seamlessly in the fast-paced world of digital media.

As content continues to go more digital, writers with experience in online publishing are finding job opportunities in an industry facing enormous change. Publishing communities are seeing a surge in growth because of their focused approach on breeding top talent and high-quality content.

“Over the last few years, publishers and brands have focused intensely on building out their social media presence,” says Chris Hogg, CEO of Digital Journal, an online media network with 40,000 members in 200 countries. “But at the end of the day content is still king and the challenge today has become finding talent who has the technical, creative and literary chops that only exist in a digital publishing environment.”

Digital Journal is a freelance publishing network where professional and first-time writers are given the opportunity to learn how to publish content online, as well as create a name for themselves by building a portfolio of news and general interest content. It’s that mixture that leads to extremely talented contributors who are now finding more job opportunities online because of their experience working with Digital Journal.

Digital Journal was recently proclaimed one of the Top 20 most promising startups in Canadaand its reach extends to virtually every major city in the world.

Stephanie Medeiros, a 22-year-old Michigan resident, landed a job as a Content Manager for a local startup because of her experience creating compelling and engaging content on Digital Journal. Medeiros says she also found freelance gigs with Gannett. She’s helped other companies apply a journalism touch to content production and she was also headhunted by AOL to work in a managing editorial position within the company’s network because of her experience with Digital Journal.

“I suggest other writers join Digital Journal because they provide viable connections and a strong portfolio for new writers, and my experience working with Digital Journal has only been pleasant and immensely helpful,” she says. “Being a 22-year-old, still in school, and being offered all of these great opportunities — it’s still hard to believe this all happened by simply covering news. Digital Journal accounts for a big chunk of that success.”

Medeiros says Digital Journal editors and the company’s in-depth database of help and support articles are a big reason she was able to learn the ins and outs of digital publishing so quickly. “There’s advice covered in there that not many other blogs or articles cover as well,” she says.

Another Digital Journal contributor, Jay David Murphy, was recently hired as the full-time sports director for the Eastern Arizona Courier because of his experience with Digital Journal. “I wanted to thank you for the opportunity you provided me to write for you,” Murphy wrote in a recent Letter to the Editor. “It was your site that gave me the validity I needed to take a step forward in journalism. My new employers were able to view what I can do and that went a long way to getting the job. Who says you can’t start fresh at the age of 50.”

And Digital Journal success stories extend beyond the United States, too.

Anne Sewell, a Digital Journalist based in Southern Spain, says she enjoys contributing because of the variety of content and viewpoints. “Digital Journal is an invaluable tool to get the real news out,” she says. “This makes the news more balanced, and far more interesting to read.” While she does not have journalism experience, Sewell learned the trade and is among Digital Journal’s top-ranked contributors.

Another international contributor is Darren Weir. Weir worked as a broadcast journalist for 30 years in radio and TV newsrooms across Canada. He took a break from journalism in 2010 and moved to Israel, leaving the media industry entirely. That is, until he found Digital Journal.

“I wanted to get back into researching and writing and believed that by building an online presence would help me land my next job when it was time,” said Weir. “I love the freedom to choose my own subjects to write about, my journalism background has prepared me for the research and my blogging experience has helped me to transfer the stories to an online format. I also like the immediate feedback that I get online, that I didn’t receive in my previous jobs.”

Weir published 85 articles and 3 blogs in his first month alone and was ranked highly among Digital Journal’s contributors.“Digital Journal has renewed my interest in a career that I thought I had had exhausted,” says Weir. “I no longer say ‘been there, done that’ and I thank the Digital Journal team every day for the opportunity the website has given me.”

Digital Journal attracts thousands of individuals into its network because the company excels in both training and supporting people building out their digital portfolios. People who wish to contribute to the network must apply and submit samples of writing — a benchmark that keeps the quality of content high — and once approved, Digital Journalists get the chance to work as part of a team in a network read by millions of people globally.

“Because Digital Journal takes a unique and high-quality approach to producing content at scale, we’ve seen solid year-over-year growth. The individuals who contribute regularly to Digital Journal are finding themselves with more opportunities because they have skills you can’t find elsewhere,” says Hogg. “Our contributors are digital natives who understand how to balance quality writing with the need to use data, SEO and social media to grow audience.”

In the competitive world of online publishing, one of Digital Journal’s biggest advantages comes from how the company blends technology, social and content tools to produce both professional and user-generated content at scale.The company also attracted worldwide attention in media circles in 2011 when it launched its gamification platform that creates in-depth social profiles of contributors as well as highlights the most talented contributors across its global network.

About Digital Journal
Digital Journal is a global digital media network with 40,000+ professional and citizen journalists, bloggers, photographers and freelancers in 200 countries around the world. Regarded as a pioneer and leader in crowd-sourcing and user-generated content, Digital Journal is headquartered in Toronto, Canada. For more information, visit

This article originally appeared on Digital Journal [Link]

Digital Journal among Top 20 most promising startups in Canada, invited to C100 event in Silicon Valley

May 22, 2012   //   by admin   //   Media blog  //  2 Comments

Digital Journal announced today it has been hand-picked from hundreds of companies across Canada as one of the 20 most promising startups by the C100, an organization representing accomplished Canadian entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley.

Twice a year, the C100 holds an event called 48 Hours in the Valley designed to offer 20 of Canada’s most promising startup companies a chance to visit Silicon Valley for two days of mentorship, workshops, investor meetings, strategic partner visits and networking.

Digital Journal is happy to say it has been recognized along with 19 other Canadian startups as “best-of-the-best of Canadian entrepreneurship” and the company has been invited to Silicon Valley for the exclusive 48 Hours in the Valley event in June that caters to Canada’s best-in-class companies.

“Being named in the Top 20 is a badge of honour for Digital Journal,” says Chris Hogg, CEO of Digital Journal, “especially given the fact that media companies never show up on a Top 20 list of technology companies. It really speaks to our unique business advantage in the media space, the power of our platform and our ability to execute.”

The C100 is a non-profit, member-driven organization whose focus is to support Canadian technology entrepreneurship and investment. The organization is made up of a select group of people based primarily in Silicon Valley, including startups CEOs, top executives of companies such as Apple, Cisco, EA, eBay, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Oracle, and venture investors representing more than $8 billion in capital.”

Digital Journal has an exceptional management team who has built a company and product from the ground up, and we are looking forward to playing a big role in the future of media,” said Hogg. “We are also very fortunate to be backed by some of the most talented Digital Journalists in the space and we look forward to moving ahead to the next stage with them and bringing more opportunities to content creators everywhere.”

More information on Digital Journal, the team, its product and the company’s technology, can be found here. Digital Journal also hosts an annual speaker series called Future of Media dedicated to following the evolution of journalism, news and media. Past speakers include executives from Facebook, BBC, Globe and Mail, Global News, CBC, CTV, Rogers, blogTO, Polar Mobile, National Post and more.