What the demise of Mic can teach us about content and metrics

The promising digital media company that vowed to be a voice for millennials didn’t live up to its potential—despite scoring an interview with President Barack Obama. Here’s why.

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The digital landscape no longer resembles the exciting, rocket-fueled playground defined by startup media groups desperate for clicks.

One company that showed promise, an outfit called Mic that was targeted to millennial readers, is defunct, largely due to the algorithm changes from Facebook that limited the reach of so many online publishers. The company, once thought to be worth more than $90 million, was eventually sold to Bustle Media Group for $5 million.

The company’s fall had many hallmarks of the media bubbles faced by online content producers of the last decade. They were hamstrung by their dependence on Facebook. They were bamboozled by the “pivot to video.” They prioritized clicks and short-term gains over long-term investment.

However, the biggest lesson the company might teach content creators involves the nature of the content itself.

As many organizations have turned to brand journalism and self-publishing in response to the hollowing out of U.S. newsrooms and media companies, they have struggled to define success.

Misguided measurement

How should we measure the success of online storytelling?

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