The Insider Empire: How a Focus on Audience Turned Business Insider Into a Massive Success

Monday, March 9, 2020

Host Fritz Nelson and I have worked in media and publishing the entirety of our careers—me, for eight years and Fritz, three-times that (and that’s not a jab at his age, I swear!). The point is: whether it’s several years or a couple decades, we’ve watched as newsrooms filled up and then emptied out over time, ebbing and flowing with the ever-changing state of the industry. And as we both know all too well, media companies and publishers these days are typically as barebones as it gets to do the job.

That’s why, when we walked into the Business Insider offices in New York City a few months ago, bustling with hundreds (hundreds!) of writers, journalists and producers packed into rows upon rows of desks, green rooms and studios, our jaws dropped.

The company is doing well, we (clearly) came to find out. But it’s so much more than that. Business Insider is forging the path for the entire industry, and the key to its success is just about as simple as it gets: Always, always put the audience first. 

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That’s what Business Insider’s Chief Revenue Officer and Publisher, Pete Spande, joins us on this episode of “The Grow Wire Podcast” to discuss. He reveals how, despite new trends, advancing technologies or changing algorithms, everything the company does is built on the foundation of growing its newsroom and ultimately bringing more stories and more information to its audience. 

In fact, Spande explains the Insider audience was the inspiration behind all 22 areas of its current empire, which flow into three core buckets: Business, News and Lifestyle. Even the way in which the company diversifies—across areas like advertising, subscriptions, licensing, affiliate and e-commerce partnerships, and more—is done with the sole purpose of growing its newsroom. 

“That’s our North Star,” Spande says.

He also hits on the importance of technology...and the importance of preventing it from interfering with that North Star. He also recalls some of the biggest moments that have stuck out to him throughout his years in digital publishing, and concludes by explaining why the future of media is as vibrant and important as ever.  

Tune in for the full episode on Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud and YouTube.