It all started with a question (and a tweet) at the annual AHAA Hispanic marketing conference in Miami. Adam Ostrow, chief strategy officer at Mashable, had just finished his presentation. It was Q&A time and Lynn Ponder, social media expert and founder of Web City Girls, asked Ostrow if he would consider launching Mashable Latino. Put against the ropes, in front of a large audience of multicultural marketers, the executive couldn’t say anything but yes. When I tweeted about the idea of Mashable Latino, the reactions were so positive that I decided to share some long-form thoughts on why it might be a good idea for Mashable to extend its reach with Latinos in both the U.S. and Latin America.
Leveraging Culture vs. Dividing Consumers
Before my friend Julio Ricardo Varela from Latino Rebels reacts, I want to make clear why I’m supporting this idea. While I absolutely agree that there is some sort of opportunistic craze for creating a Latino version of almost everything, it doesn’t mean it’s not a valid option, especially in the media space.
The idea is not to segregate the Latino audience by creating a replica of Mashable’s mainstream platforms, but rather develop a space that leverages Latino culture to attract both Hispanic and mainstream audiences. It’s about complementing the mainstream experience, similar to the brands that provide a comprehensive approach to Latino entertainment (Xfinity Latino) or Latino news (NBC Latino).
Having said all of this, there are a few solid reasons for creating Mashable Latino:
- It can create a bridge between U.S. and Latin American technology and innovation industries.
- It can incorporate a more global perspective: Latin America has specific behaviors that are not necessarily similar to the U.S. (think of the Orkut phenomenon in Brazil).
- Considering that seven of the 25 most engaged countries are in Latin America, there are plenty of lessons that brands can learn.
- Mashable may increase its overall audience by attracting those interested in Latino content, both in North and South America.
- U.S. Latino social influencers continue to grow, but their presence is still too fragmented. Whoever can reach them first would definitely win.
- It can provide a space to promote Latino innovations in areas like mobile and social media, allowing brands to test new ideas with this innovative audience.
- It offers the opportunity to increase native advertising revenue: there are tons of electronics and/or entertainment brands looking to connect with Latino social influencers.
Mashable Latino: Ideas Worth Exploring
Ostrow added that it could take around three years to become a reality based on the challenge to find the right talent and content. Here are some ideas that can accelerate this process:
- Start publishing some of its existing content in Spanish to attract executives (both in the U.S. and Latin America) who might not be as fluent in English.
- Partner with influential Latinos in the technology space like Ariel Coro from Tu Tecnología.
- Aggregate content from leading Latino bloggers and social media organizations (e.g., Latism).
- Build a strategic alliance with Hispanicize on areas such as Latino technology and entertainment.
- Create a Latino innovation category within the Mashable award recognizing the best Latino ideas (not segregating them but actually giving them more space).
- Increase the presence of Latino social media experts at events like Mashable Media Summit.
- Create a partnership with a leading Latino media outlet to leverage existing social media networks and content (e.g., Telemundo).
These are just some initial thoughts to start the conversation. Share yours via Twitter by using #mashablelatino.