Appealing to a Wider Audience: The Digital Reinvention of Forbes

Last week I sat in on a panel featuring the editors of Forbes magazine, which included Deborah Jacobs (Personal Finance), Maggie McGrath (Personal Finance for Millennials/Breaking Market News) and Frederick Allen (Leadership). During the course of the discussion, they touched on the evolution of Forbes and how the editorial expansion is meeting the needs and varied interests of its readership.

Frederick E. Allen, Leadership Editor of Forbes.com

Moving from a venerable 97-year-old magazine, Forbes has transformed itself into a state-of-the-art digital publisher with the ability to be nimble and as timely as the news cycle dictates. In 2010, under the watch of Lewis D’Vorkin, Chief Product Officer for Forbes, the magazine was redesigned and Forbes.com was re-launched, making the site more interactive for its users and shaping how news is gathered and published at the outlet.

Instead of creating a site that mirrors the print version, D’Vorkin’s goal was to create a new publishing model that would harness the power of digital media and original content creation. There are 50 full-time reporters who pen stories for the magazine and Forbes.com. Working alongside this staff is a sizable contributor network, over 1,200 strong. With a broad editorial workforce, the site is able to post up to 400 to 500 original pieces of content for the site per day.

This model has paid off. According to Forbes, they’ve seen a 104 percent increase in unique monthly visitors to Forbes.com since the site’s re-launch in June 2010. Currently, the site has around 24.6 million unique visitors.

Allen remarked that all of these elements combined – rich newsworthy content, the Forbes global brand, SEO techniques and a focus on social media interaction – has resulted in a dramatic rise in traffic, surpassed many competitors.

Forbes’ success is a great point of differentiation when compared to other longer-standing business publications. By embracing the digital space, similar to Fast Company and Inc. have made Forbes more attractive to potential suitors looking to purchase the reinvigorated business publisher.

  • Rachel Westmore

    Great post! You bring up a great point how embracing digital media and the internet can interest and grab some consumers that otherwise would not be interested in your organisation at all. The magazine definitely appeals to a certain type of person but by having a new digital space with so many different contributing writers, it definitely makes sense that they have caught the attention of so many more people. I personally have never been a fan or had much of an interest in the magazine and I have never seen their website, but perhaps I will check it out out of curiosity due to this blog.

  • Kayla L

    Wonderfully put! I, personally, am a part of the generation who practically lives online. Others should take notice of what Forbes has done. Their revamp of the website has proven that with the right motives and with the right people, companies can grow incredibly. I agree with Rachel. I wouldn’t usually look to Forbes but with such a successful growth, it peaks my interest.