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We've come full circle: Candid.news will continue in English

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Candid.news is set to switch to English from today. This move forms part of our evolution as editors of Frank.news to Candid.news. Read on to find out about our outfit of media and marketing journalists and, in particular, the back story behind the plans.

At the end of 2015, journalist André Oerlemans and Candid owner Gérard Ghazarian started a website featuring media and marketing news called frank.news, with a small-scale group of journalists. At the time it was still a relatively small agency with around fifteen to twenty people. The idea behind it was along the lines of: if you work within a certain sector, it might be a bright idea to ask a few journalists to take a more in-depth look at that specific sector. The knowledge the editors generate as a result will always be of use somewhere within the organization. Moreover, collaborations between marketing thinkers and people who think in stories are a sure-fire way to generate something of added value.
Knowing Gérard and André, their primary thought would be: let's focus on writing some good stories, and this initiative will prove its worth somewhere along the way, so let's just get started. A WordPress page was launched, then an Excel sheet where we kept track of our budget (which we still use), the number of journalists increased, and we scheduled a monthly editorial meeting, where we helped each other turn a story into a real Frank.news article (and a regular drinks session where the journalists got to know everyone involved in Candid and hear the latest news). The first story that came out on October 12, 2015 was written by André and was titled: 'Speed is the winner in growing online advertising market'. I myself joined the editors in January 2016, and immediately felt right at home, as there was so much space to come up with your own stories, plus they're a really nice bunch of people. The Candid motto was and is: if everyone just does whatever they do best, then everything will work out fine. So the journalists create the articles, and the people over at Candid provide marketing and media advice. Oh, and from May 2017, I became editor-in-chief, while André remained on the editorial board, and started focusing slightly more on his other journalistic work.

Getting better all the time
That 'just start strategy' helped us to steadily improve as time went on. There are not that many media and marketing journalists in the Netherlands, and so our learning was mainly helped along by doing a lot of writing. Who are the best experts in the Netherlands who actually are actually saying something worthwhile, and who is out there to primarily advertise themselves? That's often the problem in the marketing world for us journalists; a lot of people you call think: let's promote ourselves, because they're so used to doing that. Guidelines were put in place to improve the quality of the stories (major brands, good headlines, at least three sources, separating opinions from facts), an editorial statute, stating that we would write a maximum of 15 percent about Candid, and more and better journalists joined us. We paid very close attention to the competition; always operating in areas where fellow professional media didn't venture, which is why we have never been a news medium, as Adformatie is much more proficient at that. Meanwhile, the company was increasing in size, and today, agencies such as M2Media, Stroom, Coopr, XXS, daily dialogues, BBK Media, Cogonez, Millford, Online Company and Havana Harbor are part of the platform.

Independent medium
As Candid continued its growth, the question emerged: should frank.news become an independent medium (such as The Drum and MarketingWeek), with its own revenue model, paying readers and advertisers, or become part of the Candid platform? Initially, you need to have the ambition to become immersed in the publishing profession, but the Candid plan was to build up a group encompassing strong agencies - in other words a completely different field to publishing. It would make much more sense if the editors with media and marketing journalists were to fall under Candid.news. In this way, after all, the content marketing-meets-journalism-mechanism became possible. What exactly is that mechanism though? It's simple: the readers of our stories are supposed to consider that the journalists are writing sensible material so the people at Candid must be experts on these topics too. That's it in a nutshell. Moreover, we can implement the same mechanism if we let experts from the agencies converse with other experts in their field. We know that an article about a certain mechanism in your profession with multiple sources is going to generate a lot more readers than a self-promoting advertorial. In order to achieve that principle in an even better manner, we not only had to use the name Candid, but also get a little more in sync with the ambitions of, and thoughts behind Candid. Which reader audience was Candid ultimately going to serve, with all those agencies with their own available expertise? And how were the editors able to grow in line with that?
That movement was completed in two parts: in August 2020, our name changed from Frank.news to Candid.news, and in mid-October of this year, we will switch to the English language version, looking to reach everyone in the world who is involved in media and marketing.


We're switching over to English
It's no secret that Candid has the ambition to spread its wings in Europe and the rest of the world. We as editors have also committed to this new format, which means using English as a working language is the logical step forward. We already have three English-native journalists within the editing team and are busy talking to even more experienced journalists. As Dutch-speaking journalists, we will also write international articles that we will have translated. For example, there are a lot of excellent articles to be writen about the English media and marketing sector. Are there many strong English brands? Have they had a local challenger to Facebook, and what is equivalent of the Action retail chain in the UK? Wouldn't it be great to read a story about the transformation of the retail world from offline to hybrid in the UK and the Netherlands? It will be an exciting challenge to seek out the overlap between the English and Dutch media and marketing world. I envisage how - during an editorial meeting - English journalist Trevor and Dutch colleague Suzanna collectively come up with creating an article about the brand strategy of the number one supermarkets in the Netherlands, England and the US, and how the home delivery markets of the UK and the Netherlands are doing. Does TV advertising help them grow for instance?

Our focus is on major global companies and brands
Of course, marketing and media enthusiasts from around the world would love to gain inspiration from stories about other large-scale companies. We're going to write a lot about brands that people all around the world can buy, so we're talking Nike, Adidas, Alibaba, Coca-Cola and Amazon. How have they grown, what choices do they make in the field of sustainability, and how do they work on their platforms? How did they actually go about organizing their marketing departments? Do silos such as 'social', 'advertising' and 'PR' work alongside each other, or have they become really big 'brand tables' where they work towards growing their brand, in conjunction with the agencies? And what are their plans in a cookie-free world? How can they reach the right audiences?

Conclusion
Well, so that will be the next step: creating English-language stories about the major brands across the globe with an English/Dutch journalistic editorial team. Within that area, we're going to read a lot, write articles, and talk to people. We would love it if marketing and media experts from all over the world could help us a little in that regard, by reading us and also becoming part of our club. The stories can be read on the site, via LinkedIn, and via our newsletter (monday). So we've actually arrived at where we were exactly six years ago, only with a little extra experience on the matter this time. So let's get this show on the road, and we'll have more for you soon.

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