Quality of writing
Fundamental to Quartz is the quality of its journalism. That’s what defines the publisher to its users, and that’s what matters most. It’s the basis of readership and ultimately, in time, advertising revenue.
WordPress and open source tech, HTML5, agile ways of working, being mobile first – all of this is essential to Quartz but it doesn’t preclude or even diminish the necessity of first class journalistic instincts and articles.
Quartz’s writers have heritage at The Economist, the Wall Street Journal and beyond. Proper chops.
Quartz has torn up the beats that journalists have traditionally walked.
Rather than having to produce words each day on a particular subject, which leads to journalists covering things that might not necessarily be news-worthy (and is therefore not the best thing for their readers), these obsessions change.
Fresh thinking is encouraged, with new topics an editorial decision. The most successful obsessions are often seen at the cross-section of numerous subjects, for example the future of finance – this allows reporters specialising in tech, finance and regulation to get involved and encourages a diverse and bigger readership.
There’s not too much advertising on Quartz. It doesn’t feel excessive to the user, I mean. It’s in line with the topics discussed and it fits the readership. Quartz works with advertisers to make the ads better. Ads aren’t shown in areas and on articles that would be inappropriate.
Native advertising is not shied from. It’s clearly labelled ‘sponsor content’ and there’s a clear company logo from the advertiser.
The important thing is ensuring this content is part of the experience for the reader and she isn’t under any illusions.
There’s display advertising, too, but this is also thought of as relevant, contextual, not overly intrusive (no pop-ups, roll-overs etc), and part of the experience – native, if you like.
Articles are under 500 words in length. Some longer form pieces preside where appropriate but the mid-sized article is done away with.
No pre-amble, just content that’s either snackable and informative or in-depth and analytical.
This is enhanced further by the ability to annotate articles, sourcing insight from the crowd and adding another dimension to reading and sharing.
This is pretty well documented now. Quartz, though publishing serious content, works in similar ways to HuffPo and BuzzFeed with shareable article titles and embeddable media.
A high proportion of referral traffic comes from social media. It’s simply vital for publishers that content is produced with sharing in mind.
— Ben Davis (@herrhuld) June 10, 2014
This is part and parcel of reading and sharing.
See all the hero images in Quartz articles. The user simply will not engage in the same way without a big picture. Charts and maps are also clear and can be enlarged on mobile.
WordPress, HTML5, mobile-first, responsive, open web, chart makers and other tools – of course, this makes the experience good for the user, able to enjoy an uncluttered experience on any device. It’s also good for continuing development – a democratic system that encourages collaboration and agile development.
What’s so great about Quartz?
Quartz isn’t yet turning a profit, but it’s doing everything right and predicts profit in 2015, three years after launch. Most importantly, readers love it.
Advertisers accustomed to targeting pin-striped pink-page-readers are catching on and if the site remains as committed to the journo, the reader and the audience-seeker, it will continue to smash it.