As the digital content strategist and founder of SW Projects, Sara Wilson has an essential piece of advice for media professionals: Carve out time to stay current with your business news. This practice has led the journalist-turned-strategist to excel at the likes of Facebook, MTV, People, The Economist, and The Huffington Post.
“I try to spend at least 1-2 hours each weekday combing through industry newsletters, and at least one full afternoon on a weekend to catch up on my Pocket list—where I save articles throughout the week,” she says. When she’s in the car she catches up on biz news by tuning into podcasts. In true strategist form, Wilson has a podcast listening system that not only keeps her engaged, but gives her a platform to organize the content she’s consuming into something useful.
“To prevent myself from zoning out while listening, I started a series called Podcast Pullquotes on my @sw.projects Instagram where I post quotes from the podcasts that resonated with me most,” she says.
No surprise, she has a killer recommendation list. So, we tapped the media all-star to share her top picks for newsletters, podcasts, and books to keep you on top of your business game, whether you’re curious about all things content or a rising media player.
Newsletters I’m hooked on:
Digiday I love their coverage of the digital media business for its strong voice and POV—and I try not to miss their podcasts.
Stratechery Brilliant in-depth analysis of tech world and digital trends from technology and media analyst Ben Thompson.
baekdal Incisive analysis of the changing digital media business—specifically the intersection of media and tech—from Thomas Baekdal, a Danish media analyst. Worth the annual subscription and the time it takes to read it (I set his long-form reads aside for the weekend).
Axios Media Trends One of my faves, Sara Fischer, sums up the big things you need to know about the media business in a format that is entertaining and easy to digest.
Inside The daily Inside newsletters are hilariously specific, and that’s the beauty of them. I get Inside Venture Capital, Inside Social, Inside Retail, Inside Facebook, and Inside Media, but you can sign up for newsletters that focus on everything from Wine to Podcasting to Amazon to Cloud Computing, and more.
Recode Daily Recode’s Kara Swisher is a badass who lives and breathes digital media. I listen to anything she has to say, and make sure never to miss her podcast.
Ben Evans Silicon’s Valley’s secret weapon. Brilliant long-form analysis of long-tail industry trends.
Quartz Daily Brief While Quartz isn’t specifically tech or media-focused, a lot of the stories they cover cross over into the world of digital, and their POV and voice are very smart.
Medium posts from Jasmine Bina I absolutely love the analysis from this LA-based brand strategist. In her Medium posts and writing for Luxury Daily and Business of Fashion, she teases out big-picture elements driving consumer and brand behavior like no one else.
The Hustle Their quick hits on the tech industry written with a jolt of personality make me smile.
Marketing Week I like getting outside the US bubble with this roundup of the British marketing and ad landscape.
TechNodeI get a lot of my China insight from Business of Fashion, but this is also a great source of intel about what’s happening in the fastest-growing tech industry in the world.
Jing Daily Everything you need to know about the Chinese luxury market. Love this because I often get a first look at trends before they land in the US.
The Information (subscription) Definitely one of the top tech industry reads out there. Jessica Lessin has a strong POV, and I always learn something interesting from her reports.
Business of Fashion (subscription)BOF is my go-to source for all things fashion. Definitely one of my faves for its Daily Digest, a roundup of fashion news from across the Web, as well as its excellent long-form reads on fashion.
CMO Today (WSJ) Lara O’Reilly always plucks out interesting tidbits and trends that are relevant to marketers.
Loose Threads This newsletter about all the next-gen retailers keeps me up-to-date on all things DTC.
Mashable Mashable has been around forever, but they’re still the king of random tech news and trends. I always do a quick scan to make sure I’m not missing anything major.
A16Z Podcast from the iconic Silicon Valley venture firm Andreessen Horowitz. Lots of great insight from VCs and founders.
Digiday’s Making Marketing Great marketing podcast with that singular Digiday voice.
The Digiday Podcast This one is very “inside baseball” in its POV, and that’s why I love it. I always listen for the high-calibre guests.
Variety’s Strictly Business Covers the changing business of entertainment in a way that is informative and enlightening.
Business of Fashion Podcast The founder of BOF hosts this podcast, with a great slate of guests who go deep on various fashion-related subjects.
Glossy Podcast I’ve been listening to this one for ages. The interviews with some of the top fashion and beauty founders as well influencers are always illuminating, plus the POV is very female and I crave that.
Pivot with Kara Swisher & Scott Galloway Though Scott sometimes annoys me, I hang in to listen to Kara’s insights on the tech industry. She’s the bomb.
Recode Media with Peter Kafka Another terrific media industry deep-dive that I try not to miss.
The Goop Podcast When I feel like going down a rabbit hole on some aspect of personal development Goop is my go-to.
Waking Up with Sam Harris A classic podcast that always makes me think deeply. Sam’s perspective on everything from politics to meditation to #metoo is super interesting. I just wish he’d host more female guests on this podcast!
The Daily The New York Times‘ daily podcast dives into the stories behind the headlines. I try to listen every day and am rarely disappointed.
Almost 30 This podcast is basically me hanging out with my girlfriends, but more educational. I absolutely love hosts Krista Williams and Lindsey Simcik for their incessant curiosity and great guests who focus on all aspects of the wellness industry.
Girlboss Radio Duh! I always learn something about life and business from Sophia and her guests.
Masters of Scale LinkedIn founder and Silicon Valley legend Reid Hoffman’s podcast always contains some juicy nuggets from founders, which he typically teases out during his excellent interviews.
Books I’m reading right now:
The Business of Expertiseby David Baker I’m loving this book from a Nashville-based consultant. It helped me understand that my number one job is to grow my personal category expertise, and how to do that.
Videocracy: How YouTube is Changing the Worldby Kevin Allocca Books about the digital industry can often feel dated, but I like that this one still feels fresh.
The Experience Economyby Joseph Pine and James Gilmore A classic read on the “experiences over things” philosophy. A little academic but I find myself referencing this one all the time when with clients.
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