My Media Week: Zach Leonard

This week Zach Leonard, digital MD at the Independent and Evening Standard, gives an interesting insight into the world of digital for both of his brands, and reveals how he likes to unwind by watching the latest developments in the Six Nations Rugby.

Zach Leonard: digital MD at the Independent and Evening Standard
Zach Leonard: digital MD at the Independent and Evening Standard

Monday

An historic day for London Evening Standard as we relaunch Standard.co.uk, which is the first material redesign of the site in more than five years.

All eyes are on London in 2012 with mayoral elections, the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics, and Standard.co.uk aims to be the go-to resource for all of the news, comment and events in the capital.

Some technical teething pains kept us busy this morning, but we're up and running with a new Going Out listings and reviews section and high-impact ad campaigns for West End shows, retailers, and Shelter.

Tuesday

Day two of the new site and traffic is climbing nicely. I speak to Brand Republic about our ambitions to grow traffic and revenue.

Jo Holdaway, our digital commercial director, takes me through the forecast for the Independent.co.uk, and the good news that we’ve landed some excellent cross-media solutions for March and April.

Inspiring meeting with Neeta Patel, the newly appointed chief executive of the New Entrepreneurs Foundation and our marketing director, Matt Harrison to discuss opportunities to support British business innovation – a critical platform for the London Evening Standard.

Wednesday

I catch up with Paul Hobson, director of the Contemporary Art Society (CAS), where I'm a trustee. CAS places work by emerging artists into public museums, universities and galleries, and our annual gala auction last week raised a record £270,000.

Gavin Turk, Grayson Perry, CAS chairman Mark Stephens, and Bianca Jagger all turned up for the "circus chic" event sponsored by Boucheron.

Meet with Peter Baron of Google to discus some cool ideas for Independent Voices, a future opinion and community platform, and our Evening Standard Business Connections platform for SMEs – using the Google+ hang-outs concept.

Finish the day by heading to the gym to meet my trainer Henry and refocus my energies for the rest of the week.

Thursday

Catch up with Hugo Drayton at InSkin – a fellow "old guard" digerati, friend and colleague, about InSkin campaigns running on Independent.co.uk and Standard.co.uk.

Run a workshop for Homes & Property to plan more integrated digital and print solutions to drive searches and leverage our property and home design journalism.

Friday

Each Friday we get together as an exec management team, skippered by Andy Mullins, group MD, to review the business.

Today is an extended monthly session, including our top deputies, to discuss ad sales, circulation, print and digital subscriptions, product development and shared objectives and goals for the coming weeks.

It's a brilliant communication forum, and a real privilege that bigger organisations can't effectively achieve.

Looking back over the week, I'm struck by how much of our time as digital publishers is spent debating the best ways to fuse technology, journalism, audience and advertising.

The challenge was no different conceptually for our print-only forbears, but the present blitz of competitive digital players and suppliers, distribution platforms and devices, makes the game a lot more complex and fun.

It's been a busy, productive week and now I'm really looking forward to a weekend of Six Nations rugby.

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