Shira Lazar


[ 00:00:19 ] So the genesis of what’s trending it started in 2011. But the idea came before that we launched in 2011. That is all things. Nothing happens overnight. Right. I was always doing interviews and covering entertainment in pop culture. As the tech scene in L.A. started to grow. I kind of started to merge both worlds. And then I became this person that was blogging and interviewing people with my phone. And I wasn’t covering tech. I wasn’t a tech reporter but I started covering digital culture as I like to put it. And that led me to getting a job at CBS News where I was their first blogger blogger and I was a one woman band. I did everything. I got my interviews I shot I posted I blogged about it and after kind of figuring out my beat and interviewing a lot of Internet stars it was the beginning of that. It was for a lot of the talk shows and morning shows had viral stars on it on them then I would get the exclusive because we would do a Skype interview or something. And at the time they wouldn’t make them be exclusive for digital be like well that’s TV where he doesn’t compete with digital. Now they’re like exclusive for everything. So it was an interesting time and I interviewed the double rainbow man and Antwan Tyson. He’s like old school viral stars. And I found it really exciting to be able to bring a spotlight see this new creator movement as well as I would say traditional talent that we’re playing in this space. And so I became that person at the intersection of both worlds and covering both worlds and bringing that to the bigger publishers and to a more mainstream audience. And that’s kind of where such training came into play where I was doing all this one off stuff and short form content. And I said wow there really has to be a show around this culture and I I wanted to cover everything from pop culture to politics through the lens of the social WaterCooler. And so that’s kind of how we’re training him to be. And it was one of the first broadcast quality live shows for the Internet by the internet people. You brought the people that you were following on social media to life within this show. Now it’s something I feel like a lot of people do. Every company every traditional media brand has their version of what’s trending or their division that covers this culture viral trends.

[ 00:02:41 ] The creators and influencers. But we were doing it. From the beginning and it’s something we’re really passionate about. And so now we’ve kind of evolved not just being a show but more a digital media brand and publisher for millennials with a very strong focus on live programming emerging platforms and the emerging creator community.

[ 00:03:11 ] The word influencer came about because we wanted to put a term on the people who are using this new medium that we couldn’t really describe or understand and we didn’t want to see they were celebrities we didn’t want to see they were talents or actors or artists. So we’re like they have influence so we’re going to see an influencer. But I do believe like any other medium you have different types of talent that have different place each one doing his thing as a different expression and passion and so in the end talent is talent.

[ 00:03:41 ] And I don’t think it’s right to say one talent more valuable more worthwhile than another. Because they all have their place and not everyone is going to be you know a good actress or not.

[ 00:03:53 ] Everyone’s going to be a filmmaker and artistic and look for deeper value and meaning in their art. Just like anything. But I think there’s room for that as well. Just like I think back in the day when reality TV came up we’re like What do we do with these people. So I think everyone has influence. Everyone can be an influencer. I think it is. What is your. Talent. Represents and what is your expression and that’s what we should be talking about.

[ 00:04:30 ] It’s so important to what we do and how we create and how we look at what successful and what’s not successful. And it’s sometimes sucks and it’s scary because like I could see like the data says it all. You can’t.

[ 00:04:46 ] You can’t lie. The data does not lie. So it kind of sucks sometimes when you’re like this was good your life. See the shows that people don’t care. Which kind of sucks. But art is are those nuns argue it without seeing it. But the value viz a viz a viz the content is and also the community around and who engages with it. And I think that if you’re a creator you want people to see your content Earlston like what’s the point if it doesn’t create impact.

[ 00:05:17 ] And so with what’s trending we’re definitely looking at all the social platforms the velocity forwards trending we’re looking at all the social platforms how stories and videos are trending the the last of the which they’re trending how they’re being shared and what communities are being shared. And we’re looking at sites like you know Reddit were a lot of the conversations begin. We’re also using data when we will get once again the success of of the content and how we can be better at curating what we’re doing and producing what we’re doing. And I look at all the creators like it’s funny when I talk to creators this day and age and I tell them your job doesn’t. And when you just write the piece or doesn’t and when you just add it and publish. I would say half of the job is figuring out how you get out there. And that has to do with putting out great stuff storytelling and the value behind that. But it also has to do with the thumbnail these days. The title The CEO all of that like you’d be surprised how much that is a huge part of it and people go back and forth on emails. The editorial teams just on a title just like anything like a headline in a newspaper back in the day or within a blog. The same for video. But I don’t think we like talking about those things or having these conversations because it’s like that. Is that something that as storytellers or producers like we used to tell great story and it’s all about the content but the more we are empowered by that and embrace that. I think the more we can do with you know something is working when they’re there are views there’s engagement around it. People care their comments and shares usually even even if there’s not a ton of use but there’s a lot of shares that’s meaningful even and that people want to come back for more when you don’t post when you’re on when you’re not on your schedule and people are asking what’s wrong what’s going on. That’s a meaningful. They’re asking for the follow up. They’re asking for more. They care where the brand is going. They’re part of the conversation.

[ 00:07:37 ] No longer is it that I’m a company I’m an exec I’m a talent and I do what I do. I threw it out there. If I don’t talk to me there’s a wall between me and audience.

[ 00:07:45 ] If anything my audience is what allows for my success. I want them there I want to hear from them. They’re my They’re my focus group. They’re what keeps pushing forward in the brand forward. If they’re not there then what’s the point. Like I’m not going to just continue my content just because an exec says it’s cool or because someone pays me yes like sort of pays me to do it. Great but it’s meaningless if there is no community an audience there that cares.

[ 00:08:10 ] It’s not just one. It’s like it’s not sustainable.

[ 00:08:15 ] You know if if there is not an audience there engaging with the content readers are figuring out new ways to monetize all the time when you’re watching this maybe right now this is months later from when I’m talking or years later who knows. Is going to be changes literally all the time. People have been making money for years and you see with their partner program that even recently change with the restricted mode and advertiser boycott people are monetizing through licensing and distribution on other platforms and partnering with big media companies that are now coming into the game and then have great deals great CPM and are doing splits with partners like me and what’s trending. Also native advertising.

[ 00:09:05 ] That’s a big play integrations and packages. I would say a mixed media package is what I like to call it where you’re packaging your aggregate audience you’re saying OK we reach 2 million people daily So we’re going to figure out integration into all those platforms that hit all those people every day. And it might be different on a platform but you’re getting that bulk audience instead of just saying oh you just want you to do just what you just want. Twitter integration or do you want a media package. I think you need to look at that and traditional media companies will be doing that. They will say to advertisers OK I’m not going to just say how much we get on the TV network but. On our OTTF on our site like this is the mass audience that we reach and that’s going to be more valuable and they’re going to use one against the other.

[ 00:09:56 ] They’re going to say like OK you want to you want to buy on digital it will give you a commercial on TV will like leverage you want to get to the other. And so as an independent Creator that is awesome the possibilities are there and opportunities are there. But it’s also scary because we’re.

[ 00:10:11 ] Any time that you can’t really you can compete with big media companies were having those like relationships with advertisers like the one their legacy relationships.

[ 00:10:23 ] And even if they’re not these relationships they’re going to give them something extra to get that deal done.

[ 00:10:27 ] You just can’t bring them and you can bring them often to see an audience. But they soul soul have big media spins and they want the big idea and a lot of times some of these social platforms don’t provide the data that perhaps an advertiser needs so we all need to work together on this so that we can make this ecosystem sustainable because we didn’t have any careers like it’s and it’s about us all collaborating together. Innovation happens when there’s independence disruption. And so how do you maintain that wall working with their companies that can scale what you do.

[ 00:11:14 ] You get her the more that’s out there. It’s hard to get her to prioritize as a publisher. Also if you don’t have a ton of resources but yet perception wise you need to be on everything. It’s like how are you still to compete when big companies can even know they’re not making revenue and yet they can invest in those.

[ 00:11:30 ] I mean that’s the reason why discover on snap chat has a ton of big media companies and need one present and pitch something great first step to discover and they need to show that they’ll have seven employees. They’re going to put in and invest the money into that before even making money when they’re doing the whole licensing things. But.

[ 00:11:50 ] Yet how how are we all to keep up.

[ 00:11:54 ] And then that’s where there’s also the distraction from the storytelling. It’s like half the time you can’t even focus on the art and the craft and that’s what’s the scary part. It’s like I love this multitasking place we’re in where there’s so much it’s possible with building up friends and communities. And like I’ve said it’s a want to be empowered by this instead of fighting it. But it’s also sometimes you wish for some times you wish that you like it be great to just be able to focus on what you’re doing and not think about marketing and off thinking about this and say you know if this is good it will speak for itself. And I think that that tension is still there. And I do think the next generation I’m wondering if they’re just getting used to it. A part of their brain functioning in that way it’s not even about those things being separate It’s like yeah that’s just old makes sense together. So you think that’s the future but then you have like a whole group of people that go against the grain or rebel against it. It’s got to be like the people who in the end want to chip in their head and want to be half robot and the people that just want to keep it raw and real like that and the way we used to create they think you’re going to see those types of communities that emerge in the Creator space as well.

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