How Dazed is building its Snapchat audience outside of Discover

Publishers that don’t have that prestigious Snapchat Discover partnership need to work a little harder to be visible. But some, like U.K. magazine group Dazed, are making good headway.

Under the guidance of former BuzzFeed exec Will Hayward — now chief commercial officer of Dazed — the publisher has been widening its social distribution strategy, with particular focus on both Snapchat and Instagram. Dazed Media, which owns Dazed magazine and AnOtherMan, now has four full-time staffers dedicated to creating content specifically for social channels.

Dazed has been on Snapchat for the last two years, but it’s really in the last six months that it has been aggressively pushing its content onto the platform. It has been promoting heavily on other social platforms to drive people to the channel, which has led its audience to “explode” there, said Hayward. Although he wouldn’t give the exact Snapchat audience figure, he said it had grown fivefold in the last two months, and now its total audience is “well over five figures.”

Dazed positions itself as a media outlet for younger audiences who feel marginalized by mainstream media. “We’re a creatively driven business, so this channel inspires us,” he said. “There are new ways to define what Dazed stands for on Snapchat.”

The amount of content Dazed publishes straight to Snapchat every day varies, but it posts an average 100 pieces of content, or “snaps,” a week. These can take a variety of forms, but video is most common.

“There’s no obligation with Snapchat to continually pump stuff through the platform, so there aren’t the same pressures to post, which is great. So we actually put stuff up there which really excites us rather than for the sake of it,” said Hayward. Typical Snapchat fare can be anything from backstage films at Dazed’s own events or other tentpole events like London Fashion Week to short interviews with designers and posts from the cat walks.

Last week, Dazed ran a big event in New York in collaboration with Calvin Klein to celebrate Dazed’s Top 100, which featured U.S. musician Kelela. Dazed gave the singer a phone to post for Dazed’s Snapchat channel.

Hayward said the charm of Snapchat’s message-disappearing format is that the publisher can be a lot more experimental with formats. That means artists like Kelela can be more laid back and spontaneous about what they post as it won’t last forever, he said. “We just gave her the phone, and she did what she wanted. That means the content is honest, in the now and authentic,” he added.

Dazed also uses Snapchat to post breaking news, or news summaries, and teaser content to stir up interest ahead of its print magazine’s release.

On Snapchat, anyone can reply to a posted story, and Dazed gets thousands of snap replies and messages a day. “The weight of that volume of replies is intimidating sometimes. We do what we can to read and respond to as many as we can.”

In time, the plan is to break down any remaining walls between print, Web and social media teams to unify one group of “great storytellers” who can pick whichever platform will best suit their work, said Hayward. He described Facebook as the “motorway of the Internet” and, therefore, still important, as is Twitter. But Snapchat and Instagram are where the creative opportunities lie.