The New Potato Flips the Script on Digital Media Model

Lily Collins on The New Potato's new homepage | Source: Courtesy

Lily Collins on The New Potato’s new homepage | Source: Courtesy

NEW YORK, United States — Four-year-old lifestyle website The New Potato has relaunched with a site redesign and a new business model that is something of a reversal on the traditional digital media strategy.

From Monday, just one long-read “feature presentation” will be published each day, with the emphasis on quality content, as opposed to numerous click-focused, fast-turnaround pieces. The goal, according to sisters and co-founders Danielle and Laura Kosann, is not to increase their current 2 million page views per month, but drive deeper engagement with existing readers.

“We started getting pressure [from advertisers] about two years in to post more times a day, and we were being asked a lot about unique [visitors],” says Laura. “We thought it was an interesting thing that advertisers were putting a premium on unique rather than impressions.” As a result, the sisters began posting more short-format content, using search engine optimisation forecasting to help set their editorial agenda.

“As we tried to really play that traffic-SEO game, we felt that we sort of lost our way a little bit in terms of what our true brand ethos was,” says Danielle, who likens the new approach to that of an old-fashioned Hollywood studio. “When starting a business, to create something with longevity it has to fill a unique niche that no one else is doing. What we feel with this relaunch is that we’re really going back to doing just that.”

The sisters are also expanding their business to include The New Potato Studios, a creative agency that will produce photography and video, events, editorial, and experiences for brands. The site currently attracts luxury fashion and beauty advertisers including Chanel, Estée Lauder and Tiffany & Co.

“Content is so fragmented now, people are consuming content in such a different way,” says Laura. “It’s not just about your audience anymore; it’s about also seeing ourselves as a publisher, an agency and a distributor.”

The sisters say confidence in the new strategy stems from knowing their readership very well, 85 percent of which are women aged 25 to 55. “What brands find so much value in that she’s a very sophisticated reader,” says Laura. “She’s more of a premium magazine reader, and that’s one of the things that really sets us apart.”

The Kosanns declined to share revenue, but say they are projecting a doubling of revenue in 2017 based on year-over-year results, with similar growth expected for 2018. “Our newsletter list has grown 150 percent over the past 12 months, well into the six figures,” says Laura. “It has become a direct-to-consumer tool that’s proven extremely effective for content marketing and engaging adverting campaigns.”

The duo has further expansion in the pipeline. Next spring will see them launch a cookbook, “Great Tastes”, with Random House.