BuzzFeed’s Will Hayward talks about online advertising and content marketing in the age of the social web

Will Hayward

No one likes receiving a gift clearly intended for the person who gave it rather than the person receiving it, right? So why do so many people seem to think this kind of approach will work when it comes to advertising and content marketing in the age of social and a web increasingly built on sharing?

This was the message from BuzzFeed’s VP, Advertising, Will Hayward when he spoke to an audience of advertising professionals (and this journalist) at digital agency SapientNitro in London earlier today. I’d previously heard Will’s colleagues Luke Lewis and Jack Shepherd speak at journalism conferences but their talks were focused almost exclusively on editorial, so I was keen to hear from someone firmly on the advertising side of a business many in our industry are watching closely.

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We’re off to Wembley for the Sky Bet Football League Play-Off Finals

Wembley StadiumTomorrow evening I will be heading to Wembley for what is surely the biggest weekend in the Football League calendar – the Sky Bet Play-Off Finals.

On Saturday, Sunday and Monday the national stadium will be the scene of intense drama as two clubs from each of the League’s three divisions do battle for promotion. The biggest game of the weekend takes place on Saturday when Queens Park Rangers and Derby County meet in the Sky Bet Championship Play-Off Final, a fixture dubbed the ‘richest game in football’ thanks to the huge sums guaranteed by promotion to the Premier League.

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Be honest, how transformative is your organisation’s digital transformation?

This piece by Adam Tinworth for on digital transformation deserves to be read – and re-read again and again – by anyone with even passing involvement in navigating the treacherous waters of the shift from print to digital publishing.

Although many businesses like to talk about how they are transforming their products to meet the needs of digital consumers, how many can genuinely say their strategy moves beyond the addition to, or at worst simply the replication of, what went before?

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The faces of the Sky Bet Play-Offs 2014

At the start of the year I joined the Football League and took on a job all about content and social media – working with colleagues in the digital team to improve and evolve the League’s online content.

In the last week or so I’ve been busy using ScribbleLive to tell the story of the play-offs, where teams in the Championship, League 1 and League 2 fight for a place at Wembley and the chance to win promotion.

One of the best bits of this live storytelling effort has been engaging with fans on social media – primarily on Twitter and Instagram – in real time to ensure that our coverage of the play-offs puts the fans front and centre throughout. This has led to me discovering lots of fantastic fan pictures shared on social and has proved to be one of the best parts of the whole experience.

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Visiting the First World War battlefields of Ypres and Flanders

Tyne Cot Cemetery, Flanders, Belgium

Last weekend I was part of a MyFerryLink press trip visiting the Flemish town of Ypres and some of the important First World War sites in the surrounding communities and countryside.

It was the first time I had travelled to the continent to visit the battlefields of either of the world wars of the 20th century. Although obviously aware this would be an emotional journey, I was still shocked at the extent to which the experience – especially wandering among the gravestones of the huge Tyne Cot Cemetery – moved me. However much you are taught in school, or you learn in documentaries, very little can quite prepare you to take in the sheer scale of the sacrifice made in Belgium and France almost a century ago.

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In praise of… the Carmarthen Journal’s community news pages

Journal Local Front

Last weekend was spent in West Wales, staying in the wonderful Carmarthenshire village of Laugharne and visiting family in Carmarthen and Llandysul.

Naturally I picked up a copy of the local newspaper, partly to see what was on the agenda locally and partly to satisfy my geeky urge to pore over the design and content of a product I hadn’t encountered before.

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Print or social media? When it comes to trust it’s all about the messenger, not the medium

Who do you trust more, your local paper or Facebook? According to this story published by The Drum earlier today a YouGov poll has found people are far more likely to trust their local rag to inform them about what’s happening in their community than they do Mark Zuckerberg’s social networking behemoth.

Regardless of the figures YouGov turned up, this headline is the sort of thing that can usually be guaranteed to rally the digital evangelists and print die-hards for yet another clash in the cultural civil war that seems to have gripped many newsrooms in recent years.

But to see this as another excuse to rehash the tired old arguments about print versus digital would be to miss the point entirely. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that trying to quantify people’s trust in Facebook compared to their local paper is akin to asking which they trust more, the BBC or their telephone.

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