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Rodale’s Digital Strategist Discusses Plans for Video

Beth Buehler also talks about building a mobile task force


Specs
Who Beth Buehler
New gig Svp of digital operations and strategy, Rodale
Old gig Head of digital ventures, Getty Images
Age 36

Your title, svp, digital operations and strategy, is a new position. Why was it created?
Historically, Rodale had done a lot of digital initiatives in different areas. People were building products within each of the brands in a very siloed manner, but that wasn’t going to bring Rodale to the next level. So this was put together to create a unified approach.

What’s your goal for this job?
I think it’s to take Rodale to the next level in digital, which means looking at distribution, new products, new spaces to monetize and other verticals we can grow into, potentially outside of the existing brands. I think the most exciting part of this job is being able to focus on health and wellness content in the digital space, not just as pure publishing.

Speaking of monetization, is e-commerce going to be a focus?
E-commerce is certainly an area we haven’t stepped into as much as we could. I also want to look more at strategic partnerships that are like sponsorships. We have a lot of data on how people use our products, so how can we work with some of the big brands to build better marketing packages for them? We’re doing a lot of events, so can we do more digital events? Do we look at social gaming?

When you were hired, you said that your main areas of focus would be mobile and digital video. It seems like every publisher is saying that, though. How can Rodale do it differently?
It depends on the brand, to be honest. What we’re doing right now is building a mobile task force that’s working with each of the brands to come up with their own independent strategy and helping to build a strong platform that helps us be very nimble. One of the biggest problems is the monetization strategy around mobile. It hasn’t really been figured out. So I think we need to learn how to effectively use that real estate.

What’s your strategy for video?
We did a whole YouTube play back in 2012, so we’ll be taking a look at that. There’s not a video product person at Rodale right now who looks at programming and distribution, so that’s one of the key hires I’ll be making. Building a digital video studio is also a project I’ll be working on.

Tech is obviously a very male-dominated space. What are your thoughts on being a female digital executive?
There are a few powerful women who are helping transform the digital space, which is great. But there is definitely room for more. In my free time, I try to encourage the younger generation of girls to pursue technology and computer science because there is an abundance of opportunity for them down the road. It’s really become a passion of mine.

You’ve been based in New York until now. How do you feel about splitting your time between New York and Rodale’s HQ in Emmaus, Pa.?
A lot of our editorial is down there, so you’re really at the creative hub when you’re there. You feel the lifestyle. During lunch, everyone goes cycling or running. To be immersed in that, I think, will be a good thing.

Were you already a fitness buff before joining the company?
I cycle, I snowboard, I recently got into CrossFit. But now I feel like it’s amplified. You feel it when you’re about to get a Diet Coke—everybody looks at you. Or I’ll use protein powders, and people here will help you think about how to do that in a healthier way. Like, “There are organic versions of that.” It’s actually nice.

Photo: Alfred Maskeroni

 

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