By Chelsey Keith P. Ignacio, Special Features Writer

Online and social media channels continuously develop more ways for businesses and brands to connect with more consumers. As they keep on expanding, BusinessWorld also keeps its pace by leveraging on the digital space and social networking platforms to create various means to tell stories and engage its audience.

For 35 years now, BusinessWorld has been reporting about the economy and different industries in print. Articles on the newspaper’s print edition are also published on its website BusinessWorld Online ( Social media users are  directed to some of these stories shared on its Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. But BusinessWorld also goes beyond the article itself to deliver information to its readers through other multimedia platforms.

“With technology consistently changing, BusinessWorld had to keep moving forward and use whatever benefits those changes offer. From the layout to content offerings, livestreaming events, producing videos and podcasts, the news organization saw the availability of different software and platforms as an opportunity to expand and create more content,” BusinessWorld Digital Services Head Jose Niño D. Nicolas III said.

“Since social media platforms keep on evolving, it’s important that we stay updated and keep an eye on these changes so we can adapt accordingly; adjust our strategies to our audience’s current needs and constantly educate ourselves on marketing trends and trends in general,” added Aren Mae M. Cayetano, social media specialist at BusinessWorld.

Among the different ways used by BusinessWorld to tell a story to its readers is through its B-Side podcast.

“The dedication to the journalistic craft is the same regardless of form. We want to get the story right for our audience, whether that story appears online or in print,” said Sam L. Marcelo, BusinessWorld’s multimedia editor and one of the podcast’s producers.

B-Side podcast episodes further discuss the stories already published by the newspaper. But what makes telling a story different in B-Side?

“The B-Side podcast is more free-flowing and raw,” said Ms. Marcelo. “It’s like you’re listening in on a conversation between BusinessWorld reporters and their sources. Audio is a more intimate medium: the voices of the people who make the news are in your ear.”

Since it kicked off in 2020, B-Side’s progress could be seen with reporters being able to cast a wider net and gather local and international perspectives to have a better understanding of current issues, shared Ms. Marcelo. An example of this is its two-part podcast episode on “Russia, Ukraine, and the Philippines,” which invited Chester B. Cabalza, a security anthropologist at the University of the Philippines; and Collin Koh, a research fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. “You have two esteemed political and defense analysts providing insights on the same issue from different angles,” she said.

By the fourth quarter of last year, BusinessWorld expanded B-Side by delivering 30-minute buyout podcast sessions, where industry experts are interviewed and share their insights on relevant topics.

So far, five sponsored podcasts have been premiered on B-Side, where it has worked with brands including Tata Consultancy Services and Metrobank, and soon with Globe Business.

BusinessWorld’s presence in the podcast scene has also been growing, as B-Side averages around 100-200 downloads per episode.

Aside from B-Side, BusinessWorld also holds more discussions with industry leaders and experts through its online fora BusinessWorld Insights, BusinessWorld One-on-One, and BusinessWorld Virtual Economic Forum.

By introducing various mediums for content, BusinessWorld has also provided more ways for brands to reach their target audiences.

“We’ve also revamped our website to accommodate more display ad inventories and introduced opportunities for collaboration with brands by way of sponsored articles, infographics, videos, and other executions,” BusinessWorld Digital Sales Lead Jao A. Malapo said.

BusinessWorld Online dedicates a space focused on brands through Spotlight, a section where they can showcase and talk about their products, services, and other initiatives.

“More brands have been consistently partnering with us through our Spotlight (branded content) and Portfolio (branded video) services, as they are effective in allowing them to reach their target market in a more creative way,” shared Mr. Malapo.

In addition, BusinessWorld has been partnering with brands in producing online fora and podcasts.

“BusinessWorld Online has become the authority in creating webinars and online forums,” said Mark Julian B. Cunanan, digital sales manager of PhilSTAR Media Group and former digital sales lead of BusinessWorld. “In fact, BW Insights has become a part of the sales team’s advertising program every month. BusinessWorld is quietly owning the podcast space also through B-Side.”

“Thanks to our large following on social media, we’re able to push our partners’ content and messages further to a market/an audience that’s discerning, engaged, and particularly interested in what these brands can offer to the community,” added Mr. Malapo.

From producing podcasts and virtual fora, more avenues to tell a story will soon be opened by BusinessWorld to further keep its online audience informed and engaged.

“In expanding BusinessWorld’s social media presence, content is king, and engagement is key. Though the online fora have provided avenues for discussions among the readers, more frequent engagement is planned,” Mr. Nicolas said.

One of the developments to look forward to this year is the launch of its parallax special reports, which will be a multimedia project that will seamlessly meld literature, photography, and videography into a single, special report.

“This project aims to make use of the various expertise of the BusinessWorld digital team, with the hopes of delivering sometimes complicated content made into a compelling visual story that is made easier to understand,” Mr. Nicolas added.

He also shared more new offerings, such as BW Vox Pop, as well as explainer videos that are made compatible to be viewed on Facebook and TikTok.

“The revival of BusinessWorld explainers and animated infographics, which will be focused on reaching more audiences on social media, is also in the works,” he shared.

Beyond providing timely reports and discussions to readers, BusinessWorld also seeks to use social media to build a community where business people can connect with each other.

Last year, BusinessWorld launched the BW Lounge Viber community, where it shares its upcoming  events, front pages, links to stories for readers to catch up to, art cards, and infographics, among others.

“BW Lounge was created in order to establish a new channel to promote BusinessWorld events, projects, and content. But other than that, the team is positioning BW Lounge as an open platform where business people, investors, brands, and startups can interact and meet each other,” Mr. Cunanan said.

He added, “The goal is to establish a new community of digital users for BusinessWorld outside of the usual social media and website.”

As of writing, BW Lounge has gathered nearly a thousand members.

BusinessWorld also came out of 2021 with its momentum gotten back and online traffic having gained a little bit over its pre-pandemic figures, according to Mr. Nicolas.

Its growing community across social media comprises 178,000 followers on Facebook, 62,700 on Twitter, and over 7,000 on Instagram, as of July 2022.

“Using social media helped us grow and nurture relationships with our audience and expose our latest products, offerings, and upcoming events in a wider range. Reaching out to our different audiences was feasible by promoting our content through our diverse channels,” Ms. Cayetano said.

She also conveyed BusinessWorld’s goal to further deliver informative and meaningful content to its audience in the coming years.

“BusinessWorld has always been fair and straight to the point when producing content. Headlines aren’t sensationalized, readers aren’t baited for clicks,” Mr. Nicolas said.

“At the end of the day, it’s not just about the technology, but also the digital mindset paired with keeping the identity of BusinessWorld as the most trusted business paper in the country.”