November 21, 2014

Since May, New York magazine has launched an irregular series of “pop-up blogs” to expand its coverage on a variety of topics including relationships, the arts and travel.

The blogs focus on a specific theme — exploring Paris, untangling love lives or navigating New York’s art scene, said Ben Williams, digital editor of New York Media (which owns New York and its associated properties). They run for a month, and they have bolstered the magazine’s traffic and its bottom line, he said.

Each “pop-up” is basically a Web version of a traditional magazine insert, Williams said. The editorial team comes up with a series of topics they think would be a good fit for New York, and the advertising staff tries to sell those concepts to advertisers. If the sales team finds a sponsor, the editorial side creates the blog and fleshes out plans for coverage.

“Advertisers like them because they’re kind of a TV miniseries, so you have a beginning, middle and end,” Williams said.

So far, New York has rolled out four blogs with the following sponsors:

Although the blogs are targeted to specific advertisers, they do not contain native advertising, Williams said. Beyond approving the initial concept, the sponsors don’t have any control over the editorial content.

Williams said readers have responded positively to the blogs. Two blogs finished their run with a combined 1.4 million unique views, and had individual stories (including this Rachel Corbett post about art selfies) that have gotten more than 100,000 views.

He declined to say exactly how much revenue the blogs bring in but said they’re a “bonus” rather than a fundamental part of New York’s business model.

The biggest challenge to creating the blogs, Williams said, is “staffing up” once an advertiser has agreed to bankroll the content. He said the magazine takes a portion of the revenue from each blog and invests in finding writers who fit each topic. So far, contributors have included Jen Doll, Tim Murphy and Thessaly La Force.

“That’s a good challenge because these are things we actually want to do,” Williams said.

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Benjamin Mullin is the managing editor of He previously reported for Poynter as a staff writer, Google Journalism Fellow and Naughton Fellow, covering journalism…
Benjamin Mullin

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