It’s Nice That is a recognised ‘go to’ for so many in the creative industry in terms of updates and insights. It started out as a college blog and obviously became a life-changing experience in the process leading to your agency, conference, print publication and other offshoots. Is timing clearly of the essence in this instance? Would you encourage or dissuade a student who wanted to create an equivalent these days?
Always go for it, make it happen, put it out there! We had no idea what It’s Nice That would turn into and if anyone has a similar idea the only way to really test it is to get it out in the world.
How significant is quality engagement with the site over clicks? What are the growth challenges you foresee?
We look at a number of things to monitor how we’re doing. We’re very lucky to have a very loyal readership and we’re in it for the long term so we would always choose engagement over clicks. One of the ongoing challenges is converting clicks to engagement, when someone visits the site for the first time how do we best explain who we are and what we do so they hopefully stick around and visit again. I think you have to ask yourself why we keep aiming for bigger and bigger audiences, we can still run a successful business with the size of audience we have and enjoy doing it in the process. For our growth targets we’ve just hit a big one and it’s about showing consistency before resetting and aiming for something bigger.
I think you have to ask yourself why we keep aiming for bigger and bigger audiences, we can still run a successful business with the size of audience we have and enjoy doing it in the process. Sometimes it’s felt like setting bigger and bigger audience targets puts unnecessary pressure on what we’re doing. If there’s clearly an opportunity to grow the audience we should go for it but we should also make sure we’re providing great content for our current readership and not lose sight of that.
Has the monetisation of It’s Nice That mostly come from brands seeking out your agency and reach?
I think it’s come from us looking at everything we do and constantly questioning why we do it and what the other opportunities are. We look at the efficiency of those things and the role they play within the group. We’ve had the confidence to stop some things that weren’t working and focus on things that were. There has been a natural knock on effect that Anyways gets from being in the same group as It’s Nice That but it’s been winning work on it’s own merits for a few years now. The audience and reach we have on It’s Nice That naturally makes us an attractive proposition for brands to want to work with us.
You made a failed effort to raise funds for your Lecture in Progress project last year but pressed ahead with its creation. Where is it at now and what lessons did you learn from the experience?
The Kickstarter was great. It taught us very quickly we had got a few things wrong but the overwhelming response was positive and we realised we had to tweak a few things in order to make it happen. Six months after we made those changes, hired a small team and we have a very clear focus of inspiring and informing the next generation of creatives by proving practical advice and insight into day to day industry and the breadth of jobs that exist.
Is there a conference talk which stands out in your memory for its message and delivery?
The photographer Giles Duley gave a talk at our first Here conference in 2012 that bought many people to tears and was one of the most inspiring things I’ve ever witnessed. In the space of 30 minutes he proves there’s no excuse to do something you believe in, no matter the obstacles you face.
What does The Future hold for you guys?
Continuing to enable creativity to thrive!
More details about The Future here. Will’s talk takes place Friday November 3rd at 7:30 p.m. on the Studio Stage.